With proper technique, removing bearings from router bits can be a safe and straight-forward procedure. Removing shaft-mounted bearingsfrom a bit is easiest – simply loosen a set screw in the locking collar and slide off the collar followed by the bearing. This is easy because the set screw is perpendicular to the shaft.
End-mounted bearings are a different story. They are secured with a screw along the axis of the shaft and are usually tightened quite well. To remove them, you need a way to prevent the bit from rotating without damaging the shaft – that means no Vise-Grips!
The best solution I have found is also the simplest. When I figured it out, it was one of those “why didn’t I think of that sooner?” moments. Hint: it came with your router. That’s right – the router collet. Install the bit into the collet on the router, then use a wrench or spindle-lock pin (if your router has one) to immobilize the router bit. Now it’s simple and safe to use the hex key to remove the screw securing the bearing.