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Best method for routing a large recess

BigFrank's picture

I am making a very small cabinet that will have a recess on top for a kitchen appliance --its basically a low box with a drawer that my espresso grinder will sit atop.

Anyhow figure that the top is basically 10" wide x 16" deep.

the top also need to have a large oddly shaped (its like two circles one partially overlapping the other) recess in the top (about 1/4" deep) for the grinder to sit into so it wont move around.

Whats the best way to route out this area? I was planning on making a pattern template out of hardboard as a router guide for the outside edge and then routing the interior by eye -- but I'm worried that as I remove material the router baseplate will have less and less wood to reference against.

Is there a "best pracice" for doing this?

mike4244's picture

(post #88755, reply #1 of 9)

Make the template, but saw out the largest part with a sabersaw.Then clean up the cut with a pattern bit.


BigFrank's picture

(post #88755, reply #2 of 9)

I'm not worried about making the *template* I figured I would use a sabre saw and then clean it up with a sander.

What I am worried about is routing the actual recess interior.

knuts's picture

(post #88755, reply #3 of 9)

For those applications I mount a simple 12" X 12" acrylic base.

Shoemaker1's picture

(post #88755, reply #4 of 9)

Make it on the router table. clamp some stop blocks, cut recess with flat bottom bit, move blocks out and rout edge with a core box sand to finish.
How big is the recess?

BigFrank's picture

(post #88755, reply #6 of 9)

7.5" wide by 13.5" long.

as I said though, the recess is essentially 2 connected circles - so I dont really think I could do it upside down on a table with stop blocks.

Shoemaker1's picture

(post #88755, reply #7 of 9)

Opps forgot about the off sets. Have you thought about making a sled for your router?
Is there a local sign maker about with a sign carving machine?
A local luthier gave me a demo on his Marlin Carving Machine, Made by Terrco inc. Waterstown SD.
They are real neat and not that much cash. (Well given perspective)

I am thinking of buying one and make signs. Post a pic once you get it done.

KiddervilleAcres's picture

(post #88755, reply #5 of 9)


I was faced with much the same problem recently, making the recess for a router plate.  

I first drilled a hole in the center to establish the depth and then outlined/routed the area to be excavated using straight edges - in your case it would be a template.   Regarding the template, I would make that so it outlines the excavation area and rout that first - mebbe 1/4" straight bit. 

I started in the middle from the drilled hole and worked my way out to the previously outlined/routed edges so I'm mostly routing toward the waste.  I did this in sections as I routed, again working towards the waste.  This allowed me to keep most of the base on ground that hadn't been routed yet and watch that I didin't rout myself into a corner.  :-)

Not sure if this is best practice but worked for me,

Bob @ Kidderville Acres

A Woodworkers mind should be the sharpest tool in the shop!

Bob @ Kidderville Acres

A Woodworkers mind should be the sharpest tool in the shop!

Cincinnati's picture

(post #88755, reply #8 of 9)

Without knowing your exact pattern, I can think of 2 options:

Route the recess in such a way as to use as much of the wood that will be removed as a support for the router before it is actually removed. This likely means starting at the center of your pattern and routing to the outside boundaries.

Make a sled that will reference the router off the tabletop and not off the board being routed.



Exo 35:30-35



Exo 35:30-35

davidbrum's picture

(post #88755, reply #9 of 9)


There is an article in last month's FWW about the procedure you're asking about. If I recall correctly, you remove as much material as possible with a forstner bit, then clean up with a router with a sled. The sled has to be long enough to reference off of the good wood.

David B
David B