Speeds and Feeds PDF - Softwood vs Hardwood

I just downloaded the latest PDF for both the Imperial and Metric versions of the Speeds and Feeds.

Since I am a newbie and have only been cutting MDF it hasn’t been an issue. But not as I adventure into cutting hardwood I did more research.

I would have expected the speeds and feeds for MDF vs Hardwood be substantially different.

However, in the PDF they are not.

For example: 1/4" EM 2F UC Regular Speed


  • Feed: 86
  • Plunge: 43
  • Stepover: 0.11
  • Stepdown Slot: 0.16
  • Stepdown Pocket: 0.36
  • Speed: 12000


  • Feed: 86
  • Plunge: 43
  • Stepover: 0.07
  • Stepdown Slot: 0.17
  • Stepdown Pocket: 0.36
  • Speed: 12000

Am I off base here, or should there be more of a difference?

Thank you,


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I believe that Sienci just put out a video about this topic yesterday. If you went and bought a router and bit so that you could put a decorative edge on a project would you be overly concerned about how fast you are going to pull your new router and bit across your piece of wood? I would submit that the answer would be probably not. Of concern would be that the finish be smooth and not have burnt spots. The issue of feeds and speeds has been around since the invention of machines, drills, lathes, milling machines, and more recently CNC. This was due to needing to find the highest production output for any given process that would meet the QA for the part being machined along with achieving acceptable tool life. With our hobby machines we are interested in achieving essentially the same goals. We want an acceptable finish, QA, and we do not want to be purchasing new bits every time we do a project. All feeds and speed tables for hobby machinists are in my view, and many may dissagree, a baseline starting point that are subject to change by the operator based on knowledge and experience, and possibly the desire to get a job done more quickly. In a productioon environment knowledge gained from thousands of hours runtime will dictate the feeds and speeds used.
In conclusion I would say start by following the feeds and speed tables and as you gain experience you will find what works for you. Heat is your enemy, make chips not sawdust, and your machine will let you know when you are pushing too hard.

I just have a quick question regarding the above linked Feeds and Speeds. Also, thank you for those, I had been struggling to find good feeds and speeds for Vcarving. Everything was burning wood and had incredibly long cut times, which made no sense to me.

Anyways, my question is just clarification from the the very top Vbit on the imperial softwood. It says 88ipm for feed, 30 plunge, 0.07 stepover, which is all straight forward. (my burning problem probably came from carbide create suggesting 45ipm, and 8 plunge) What is the difference between slotting stepdown, and pocketing stepdown? Especially since very few times would anyone use a Vbit for a pocket operation aside from maybe the tiny clearing area’s on say an Advanced vcarve.

The big reason I ask, is the vbit says 0.42 inch for slotting, which to me would be the most common, if I’m understanding it correctly, as basically a straight path around to form letters etc. But the Pocketing section says it’s able to go all the way to 0.92, almost an inch!? Again not sure why someone would use a Vbit for pocketing. I’ve been very cautious with my aggressiveness so far, especially with Vbits, only going 0.1 of an inch at a time. Am I being way too scared, and should go deeper in one pass?