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Power Drills: How to Drill Keyhole Slot Without a Router

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Written By John Gibbs




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Do you need to drill a keyhole slot but don’t have a router? No need to worry – you can do it with just a drill and some simple tools. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to drill a keyhole slot without a router. With just a few easy steps, you’ll be able to create a perfect keyhole slot without the need for a router.

Materials and Tools

Materials And Tools

Drill: A drill is the most important tool for the job. It should have the right size and power to make the keyhole slot. It should also have a depth stop to prevent the drill bit from over-drilling.

Countersink Bit: A countersink bit is used to create the countersink for the keyhole slot.

Masking Tape: Masking tape is used to protect the work surface and help prevent slipping of the drill bit.

Marker: A marker is used to mark the center of the keyhole slot.

Wood: The wood to be drilled should be thick enough to accommodate the keyhole slot.

Screws: The screws are used to attach the wood to the work surface.

Preparing Keyhole Slot Layout

Preparing Keyhole Slot Layout

Before drilling the keyhole slot, it is important to prepare the layout. This involves marking the exact locations of the slot with a pencil or marker. To do this, first measure the width and length of the material where the slot will be drilled. Then, using a ruler, draw a rectangle with the measured dimensions. The rectangle should be slightly larger than the material if the slot is to be used for mounting.

Next, use a compass to draw two circles inside the rectangle. The circles should be the same diameter as the keyhole slot bit. The distance between the centers of the circles should be equal to the distance of the slot.

Finally, mark the center of the rectangle for easy reference. This will help you align the drill bit when drilling the slot. It is also important to mark the center of each circle, as this is where the drill bit will make contact. Once the layout is complete, it is time to move on to the next step of drilling the keyhole slot.

Tip: To ensure accuracy, use a center punch to mark the center points of the circles and the rectangle.

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Drilling the Keyhole Slot

Drilling The Keyhole Slot

  • Mark the position of the keyhole slot – Make a mark at the desired position for the keyhole slot on the material’s surface.
  • Drill a holeUse a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the width of the keyhole slot to drill a hole at the marked position.
  • Create an elongated slot – With the same drill bit, increase the size of the hole by drilling at an angle to create an elongated slot.
  • Clean up the slot – Use a chisel to clean up the edges of the slot and make it look neat.

Finishing the Keyhole Slot

Finishing The Keyhole Slot

The last step of the process is to finish the keyhole slot. To do this, you will need a jigsaw or coping saw. Start by placing the saw blade into the drilled slot and cut along the edges of the keyhole slot. Make sure to cut slowly and smoothly.

Note: Do not force the saw blade into the slot as this can cause the blade to become stuck in the material.

Once the slot is cut out, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges. Use a piece of wood as a backer to sand the inside surfaces of the slot. This will ensure a smooth finish.

Tool Purpose
Jigsaw or Coping Saw To cut out the keyhole slot
Sandpaper To smooth out any rough edges

After the slot has been cut out and sanded, wipe down the area with a damp cloth to remove any dust and debris. Your keyhole slot is now finished and you can proceed with installing your hardware.

Ensuring the Keyhole Slot is Centred and Even

Ensuring The Keyhole Slot Is Centred And Even

To ensure the keyhole slot is centred and even it is recommended to use a template. For this, use a piece of scrap wood, or cardboard, to draw an outline of the keyhole slot onto the piece of wood you are drilling.

Using a ruler and square, draw a vertical line and a horizontal line to indicate the centre of the slot. Then draw two ‘V’ shapes at the end of the lines to mark the two ends of the slot.

Tool Purpose
Ruler To draw vertical and horizontal lines
Square To draw the centre of the slot
Scrap wood/cardboard To draw the outline of the keyhole slot

Once the template is drawn, stick it to the piece of wood you are drilling. Check the placement of the template is central, and that it is straight. Once you are happy with the template, you can start drilling.

Using a drill bit, carefully drill two holes at the two ends of the slot. Make sure these holes are the correct size and evenly spaced. Then, use a jigsaw or a circular saw to connect the two holes, creating the keyhole slot.

Keep in mind:

  • Check the template is correctly placed and straight before drilling
  • Drill two holes that are the correct size and evenly spaced
  • Connect the two holes using a jigsaw or circular saw

This is the easiest way to ensure the keyhole slot is centred and even.

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Alternative Methods

Alternative Methods

Table Saw: A table saw can be used to cut keyhole slots. Use a miter gauge and a thin saw blade to make a shallow cut. Adjust the saw blade to the appropriate depth and make multiple passes to create the keyhole slot.

Saber Saw: A saber saw can be used to cut keyhole slots as well. Use a thin saw blade and make multiple passes at the desired depth.

Drill Bit: A drill bit can be used to create a keyhole slot. Use a drill bit to make a hole at the desired depth. Then use a saw blade to cut the slot.

Chisel: A chisel can be used to create a keyhole slot. Make sure to use a sharp chisel to create a clean cut. Make multiple passes at the desired depth.

Safety Considerations

  • Use Safety Goggles: Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris caused while drilling.
  • Use Hearing Protection: Wear hearing protection to protect your ears from the loud noise produced by the drill.
  • Use Respiratory Protection: When drilling, particles of wood, metal, and other debris can be released into the air. Wear a respirator to protect your lungs from these particles.
  • Use Gloves: Wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges and splinters, and to keep your hands from getting hot from direct contact with the drill.
  • Secure the Workpiece: Make sure the workpiece is firmly secured to the work surface or in a vise. This will ensure that it does not move while drilling.
  • Clamp the Drill Bit: Make sure the drill bit is firmly clamped in the drill chuck. This will prevent it from slipping and causing injury.
  • Use the Right Drill Speed: Make sure that the drill is set to the correct speed for the material being drilled. The wrong speed can cause the drill to overheat and cause injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Safety Precautions Should I Take When Drilling a Keyhole Slot?

  • Wear Protective Gear: Wear protective goggles, gloves, and a dust mask to protect your eyes, hands, and lungs from any debris created by drilling.
  • Secure the Material: Secure the material you are drilling into with clamps, so that it doesn’t move during the drilling process.
  • Use a Guide: Use a drill guide to ensure that your drill bit is perpendicular to the material and that your keyhole slot is the correct size.
  • Start with a Smaller Bit: Start with a smaller drill bit and gradually increase the size, to ensure that the keyhole slot is the correct size.
  • Use the Correct Speed: Make sure your drill is set to the correct speed for the material you are drilling into.
  • Be Aware of Sparks: Be aware of any sparks or smoke that may appear during the drilling process, as these could indicate that the bit is running too hot.

What type of drill bit should I use to drill a keyhole slot?

A spade drill bit is the best choice for drilling a keyhole slot without a router. This type of bit is specially designed with a flat cutting edge and a pointed tip that allows it to cut through wood quickly and easily. It is important to choose the right size bit for your project, as a bit that is too large will not be able to create a precise keyhole slot.

What Type of Materials Can I Use to Make a Keyhole Slot?

Keyhole slots can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, plastic, metal, and composites. A drill, a jigsaw, and a chisel are the common tools used to cut the keyhole slot. Care should be taken to ensure that the material is thick enough to hold the keyhole slot without cracking or splitting.

Is it Possible to Make a Keyhole Slot Without a Router?

Yes, it is possible to make a keyhole slot without a router. Drilling a keyhole slot without a router requires a drill bit, a chisel and a hammer. You will also need a drill press or a hand drill. Make sure that the drill bit is the same size as the keyhole slot you are trying to create. Start by drilling holes at the two ends of the keyhole slot. Then use the chisel and hammer to chisel out the slot. Finally, use sandpaper to smooth the edges.

What is the Best Way to Ensure Accuracy When Drilling a Keyhole Slot?

To achieve accuracy when drilling a keyhole slot, use a drill press with a jig. The jig will allow you to align the drill bit perfectly with the workpiece and will help you maintain a consistent depth and angle. Additionally, use a high-quality drill bit specifically designed for keyhole slots, and make sure the bit is sharp and in good condition. Take your time and be sure to make small adjustments between each drill pass to ensure accuracy.


Drilling keyhole slots without a router can be done easily with the use of a drill, a wooden block, a chisel, and a sanding board. With the correct technique, one can easily drill a keyhole slot in any material. This guide has provided the step-by-step instructions to help anyone with the task of drilling a keyhole slot.



About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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