I used the router bit in the following setup and moved the work piece.

Note this picture is faked but it gives a good idea.

enter image description here

The problem is that the resistance was enormous and if I forced it, it just chewed the wood up. It kind of destroyed my idea of how a router should be and I don't have an opportunity to try a real router before buying.


I'd still like to buy a router but I'm no longer confident that it would cut a lengthwise slot in a piece of timber such as shown in the picture.

How come the router bit didn't work in the power drill?

What is so special about a router that would make it work better?

Should it do the job smoothly, cleanly and quickly with little pressure?

Is there a lot of difference in the effectiveness of a router by price? Why?

  • FWIW I don't know why this got a downvote it is a good question.
    – Matt
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 0:24
  • I don't see this as a duplicate. The linked question is "Can I use a router bit in a drill press", while this question is "What makes a router so much better than a drill for the same task". The picture duplicates the linked question, but that's about it.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 13:00
  • 1
    If a potentially dangerous one. Your jig looks like you took plenty of precautions, but you should use tools the way they were intended to be used.
    – Daniel B.
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 14:43
  • @JPhi1618 Yes the tools are slightly different but the issue and premise are the same.
    – Matt
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 15:40
  • Just for a bit of historical perspective, milling cutters similar to router bits used to be made for use with power drills (also circular saws and a few other add-ons!). I think they were offered from the 50s or possibly a little earlier and their availability dwindled by around the end of the 80s when lower-cost routers became widely available. They were typically all-steel, with multiple cutting edges or flutes, versus the two opposing cutters common on modern router bits. This helped them cut effectively at the much lower RPM possible on a drill.
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


A router spins at around 20,000 RPM. Your drill, at top speed, is closer to 300 RPM. Very different animal.

  • Simple as that then--I had no idea. 30,000 is a heck of a lot. Is it generally the case that, 'the faster the better' for a router? Are different speeds best for different types of wood? Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 1:09
  • 2
    Some routers do have adjustable speeds, but that's more often used to compensate for varying radius of bit than type of wood. As the bit gets wider, the outed edge travels at a faster linear xpeed with the same RPM, and thst can become a kickback problem if it exceeds how willing ghe wood is to be cut. Feeding the wood more slowly can compensate to some degfee, but with wide panel-raising bits it's not uncommon tk reduce the speed by up to 50%. For the same reason wide bits are used only in a router table, not handheld -- much safer that way.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 2:46
  • 3
    Minor pedantry: 30k seems a bit high to me. Most of the routers I've seen go up to more like 20,000. I have a Makita 1/2" router in the workshop which goes up to 22k, though this is variable. Still, you are right that it's totally different.
    – WhatEvil
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 8:07
  • 1
    Correction accepted. Right orders of magnitude, anyway.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 14:24
  • 1
    In addition to 10-fold higher RPM, a router will typically also have 2-3 times the power rating (and not rarely higher efficiency, which translates to even higher net power output) compared to the toy drill shown in the photo. That, plus much better bearings and thus running smoothness.
    – Damon
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 14:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.