I'm currently working on a cutting board. With a core box bit, I made rounded grooves close to the edges of the board. I would like to have bigger grooves on the corners. I'm thinking of using a bigger core box bit on my drill press to make the four corners. I'm trying to avoid my plunge router due to possible side movements while plunging. I would hate to scrap my work at this point. On my drill press I have no need of moving the board to make a groove, just a "plunge".

In short, can I use my plungable router bit on my drill press for a simple "drill" application.


5 Answers 5


I'm thinking of using a bigger core box bit on my drill press to make the four corners. I'm trying to avoid my plunge router due to possible side movements while plunging.

I've heard of people using a router bit in a drill press, but I've never heard a reputable source recommend doing it. Personally, I wouldn't try it myself. A drill press runs 10-100x slower than a router, so I wouldn't expect a smooth cut on the drill press.

A better solution to the problem would be to use the router but clamp it in place to prevent lateral motion.

  • 1
    Thanks, I should have thought of clamping the router itself. It was a bit hard to find a decent spot on the router, but it worked well. Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 23:40
  • I've actually tried that once (you never know if you haven't tried...), but the result was not convincing. Not a good idea. Routers definitively rely on high speed.
    – Damon
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 7:41
  • get a pin router. It will hold your workpiece securely. And allow you to rout, against a template to your hearts content. At a price: ebay.com/bhp/pin-router. Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 3:53
  • I think most router bits are ground to cut in the opposite direction of a drill press's rotation anyway (unless you have a drill press where you can change the rotation direction, which I don't).
    – grfrazee
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 13:14
  • 1
    @Caleb, you're right. Got turned around when I flipped it in my head.
    – grfrazee
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 14:00

You are trying to make a hole with a hemispherical bottom. I would remove most of the material with a regular drill, them switch to the box core bit. First, of course, try it out on a piece of scrap wood of the same type as the cutting board.

If you are just making a large diameter dimple, no need to pre-drill.

Run the drill press at its maximum speed and lower the drill slowly to minimize tear out.

In either case make sure your board is clamped in position.


If there is side load its not good for the quill. It sounds like your just plunging. If you are, a half round end mill in the size you are looking for will do a better job than a router bit.

  • I incorrectly referred to the end mill as "half round" it would be "ball end".
    – Mike Fleck
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 14:37

"Can you?" I am sure you can. "Should you?" debatable.

As Caleb pointed out, routers spin at considerably faster rates than a drill press. First thing would be to set your drill press to the fastest setting it can achieve. If you have a good horse-powered drill press it will probably work, but no promises to how nice and clean it cuts.

I would recommend using your plunge router to do it. Assuming you have a decent one and not a mediocre cheap one. I would start by trying to do what you want on some scrap wood just to make sure you can do it to the level of accuracy that you are looking for. In theory you could clamp the base of the router onto your work piece to prevent any sideways movement. The set up will take a little longer but it should make the cuts to your satisfaction.


You could, but as others have mentioned the speed of the bit (RPM) is going to be a bit of an issue. You're going to have to plunge slowly, and I would recommend "pecking" the bit into the timber. That is, plunge the bit by a small amount, then lift it all of the way up out the timber, plunge it in again, and repeat until you've reached the desired depth. Even better if you can have a compressed air line constantly blowing where you're cutting.

This is all because router bits rely on high RPMs to clear chips and dust out of the hole being routed, whereas when you're drilling at a few hundred to a few thousand RPM, the debris won't clear.

You're also going to have to make sure that your bit doesn't heat up too much.

All in all, I'd say try it on some scrap timber first and see how you go.

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