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Thread: Router collets and/or reducers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA

    Router collets and/or reducers

    I started a new thread here because this information was getting buried in an off-topic discussion.

    The discussion was about router collets and/or collet reducers and where to find them. Particularly with PC and Hitachi routers. I was asked to respond to this topic. Here it is. And I added some comments from my POV.

    First, Porter Cable router collets are readily available. Nearly all the usual suspects carry them. I have 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2". There is also a 8 mm available. Forewarned here. 8 mm is real close to 1/4". Don't mix them up!

    Hitachi, on the other hand does not have 1/4" collets for its M12V router. Now that is one honkin' brute of a router, so that doesn't come as a surprise to me.

    A 1/4" shanked router bit is a tad delicate. It is best intended for trim routers which only have 1/4" collets. For the big bruisers, buy 1/2" shanked bits.

    Some reducers are downright silly. To only have one slit for compression to hold the bit is, at best, a token response to a customer's demand. We are as safe as we think we are until we learn better.

    A honkin' router and a 1/4" shanked bit is a recipe for shrapnel. That is never a good thing. Match the cutter with the tool for best results.

    This is also good information when buying a router. Check to see what accessories are available, or not.

    Here is another thought to think about. Router bits are consumables. They get dull and wear out. Replace them with the properly sized shanks for your router.

    Likewise, router collets are subject to wear and tear as well. If yours is getting long in the tooth and isn't holding as well as it used to, replace it. They generally are under $20 and the wood we buy these days is generally way more than that.

    As an aside, when I had the CNC machine, I used 5/16" end mills with the router. No collet for that. I handed a machinist a Bosch collet and asked him to make me a reducer based on that design. He did. It worked perfectly. Why? It had 8 slits, 4 from either end. And it reduced the 3/8" collet to 5/16". Lesson here: the collet cannot be a big hunk of metal. It cannot compress sufficiently.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Good information Carol

    Just another reason why I like PC routers best
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    thanks carol, and any new bits i get are 1/2" for the hitachi,, and the reducer i use has 3 slots which is better than just one..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Great info, and if I may be so bold to correct one small point:

    8mm is not close to 1/4" 6mm is.

    25.4mm = 1"

    8mm = 0.3149606" or bigger than 5/16" and smaller than 21/64"

    6mm = 0.2362205

    1/4" or 0.25" = 6.35mm

    I know this as I live in Japan, and my Hitachi M12 router came with a 1/2" collet and a 6mm reducer I ordered a 1/4" reducer from Hitachi in Japan, and after three months, it had not come, so I ordered one online from the US and had it in less than a week.

    I no longer use any 1/4" bits on my M12 or my honking Milwaukee routers mounted in my tables, they live on a steady diet of 1/2" bits. I do have smaller hand held routers that use the 1/4" bits
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    I picked up the 1/4 inch collet/nut today.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I am in Holland Michigan.

    Smile : Router collets and/or reducers

    Thanks for the great post. One thing that I found out is, Harbor Freight sells a set of 8 Colet's with 2 nuts to hold them tight, for about 15 dollars, or less. and the fit and finish is great. I bought a set about 18 months ago, and I was very happy. For Your information. Be sure to check the size, there are two sizes. thank You.
    Saved, and so gratefull, Consider who created it ALL

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Howard do you have a link to those collets from Harbor freight. I just had a look there online and could not find any other than ones for a bridgeport milling machine.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Bloomington MN USA
    I just got a reducer for my Hitachi M12 from Woodline and it has 8 slits in it. But at this time am having a little trouble with it fitting to snug in the 1/2" collet. Am waiting for a responce from wood line on that issue. The reducer that came with it has 3 slits. It was holding OK but was looking for something better. My Dewalt also uses a reducer,but my Porter Cable has both 1/4 & 1/2
    inch collets,wich is the better way to go. I stick with most all 1/2 " shanks except where I need the 1/4" shanks to fit certain bushings.
    If you make a mistake it was part of the original plan!

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