That New Router - Before You Start
That brand new router is still in its box, but you can hardly wait to use it right? The smartest thing you can do is to take your time, and make sure the machine is ready before you switch it on.
Check The Box Contents
First, once you have opened the box, make sure you have everything you should have. Check the contents. We get dozens of letters from customers who have thrown out small items such as screws because they did not follow this first rule. Take particular care to ensure you have the 3/8 inch and 1/4 inch sleeves if your router has a 1/2 inch collet.
It is good to remember that few, if any routers are ready to run the instant you take them out of the box. Check to make sure the router and sleeves are free from grease, cleaning the latter with WD40 or kerosene if needed. If you have to do this, don't spray the cleaner into the router. Cover the vents with a cloth.
Collet & Sleeves
Next, check the collet and sleeves to ensure that the bits will slide smoothly. If there is a burr inside remove it with emery paper. If you don't do this, the bits will stick in the sleeve because the burr will cut into the shank of the bit.
Always use the wrench provided (not a longer one) to tighten the bits. If you use a sleeve ALWAYS line up the full cut on the sleeve with the full cut on the collet. If you have a collet that does not have a full cut DON'T use a sleeve, get extra collets of the proper size for the bit shanks. Check with your owners manual to see if your router uses sleeves or not. If a 1/4 inch shank bit works loose try another bit. It is not uncommon to find undersized or egg-shaped shanks on cheaper bits. Never start a router without the base plate on or a bit chucked up. The motor will snap the collet so tight that damage is likely.
Grease & Spring Removal
Sometimes a new router will arrive with the plunge columns packed with grease. They have to be taken apart and cleaned for the router to work properly. It is a good idea to do this even if the columns are not packed, to get used to taking the springs out (advisable when the router is mounted in a table) and putting them back in again.
Finally make sure everything is tight, especially the adjusting screws on the plunge turret. When using the router in a table mount it is a good idea to remove these screws so that they don't drop into the router itself. We get a lot of calls from people whose routers won't plunge. We tell them to check the lock nuts on the draw bolt. With use these sometimes tend to creep down.