Rabbeting the inside of a small jewelry box


Senior User

Hopefully, I can phrase the question correctly. I made a small jewelry box with the intention of placing the lid and the bottom on top of the box. Then I thought it would look much better with the lids recessed inside of the box. But I have already glued the box together. So I cut a rabbet inside of the box with my router table. Then I said to myself, how are you going to cut the lids to fit inside of that? So I traced the inside with a pencil and "freehanded" the lid. It did not work out very well. So then I said, I will ask the woodworking guys on the web. The first one I tried "freehanding" left small gaps around the edges, didn't like that. There has to be a simple way that I am completely overlooking which will allow a nice fit. I have several already glued together before anyone says to do it before the glue up. Thoughts?


Board of Directors, Events Director
Staff member
Corporate Member
Don't route exactly to the line, get close then sand or use chisels, planes to close it in for the fit you desire.


Senior User
The issue is cutting the bottom/lid to fit inside of the rabbet. I didn't cut the bottom/lid with a router. If you can advise me on the best way to cut the bottom/lid. I set the box on the bottom/lid and used a pencil to mark it, then used a band saw and table saw to fit it. I was thinking how could I use the box as some sort of template for the router to cut the bottom and lid? To get a much tighter fit. I feel like there is a simple solution but it evades me.


Recovering tool addict
Corporate Member
I think I know what you're getting at. You're creating an inlay, and since the box is already glued up, you need to reverse engineer the template for the inlay.

Make a new template:
  1. Take a 1/2" piece of plywood and cut out most of the waste using a jigsaw (after making a starting hole with a drill)
  2. Remove the lid you created
  3. Tape the piece of plywood to the box
  4. Use a flush trim bit (bearing on the bottom) to complete the template
Next, enlarge the template by 1/2"
  1. Rabbet the template using a 1/"2 rabbeting bit. Route 1/4" deep
  2. Flush trim the template, removing the remaining 1/4"
Now, create the lid. Using the enlarged template, a 1/4" router bit, and a 1/2" guide bushing, cut out a new lid (you will want to make multiple passes). Assuming I did the math correctly with bit and bushing size, the resulting piece should fit perfectly. Look up some videos on Youtube that use router inlay bits, that might help.

Or maybe I'm totally misunderstanding the problem, in which case this post will magically be deleted :)

Matt Furjanic

Senior User
Next time, you might try this:

Construct the box as closed unit, then bandsaw cut the top off of the box, thereby maintaining the perfect alignment of the top to the bottom, and also keeping the grain pattern match.
Then cut some thin wood which is mitered and lines the inside, bottom of the box, and protrudes about a quarter inch above the top of the box-bottom.
The top will then fit tightly onto this “cheater” rabbet.
Take a look at the pics and it should be obvious on how to do this.


Corporate Member
You could always square up the routed corners (radius) with a chisel, and use a squared lid.

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