How to Use a Keyhole Bit in a Router

The often-neglected keyhole bit seldom makes the front pages of woodworking magazines, but this humble router bit is essential for making customized switch plates and keyhole covers. More important, if you want that picture frame to sit flush against the wall, nothing will do the trick like a perfect keyhole-cut mount. The best and most-used technique involves placing the keyhole bit in a table router and cutting a keyhole to your desired specifics.

Wood Router

Step 1

Measure and mark where you want the keyhole cut on your frame, switch plate or keyhole cover.

Step 2

Determine how deeply you want to penetrate with the router and make a note.

Step 3

Set the height of your router to the desired height by adjusting the height band on the router.

Step 4

Loosen the router collet with a wrench and insert the keyhole bit until there is approximately 1/8 inch between the collet and bit.

Step 5

Tighten the collet with a wrench.

Step 6

Turn on the router and gently lower it to your marked keyhole. The keyhole bit will cut at your designated height.


  • Be careful when using a router or any machine-activated blade.
  • Always wear eye protection.