How is this cutting board handle possible? The only way I can think of is that it was done by hand with a gouge, but it looks too clean for that. Can an inset handle, such as the one pictured below, be done with power tools?

Handle from cutting board

  • I can imagine a skilled carver making this slot, even a very smooth slot, although it's most likely done with a router or a shaper.
    – Ast Pace
    May 1, 2015 at 4:15

3 Answers 3


Two ways spring to mind immediately.

One way would be with a router, a core box bit, and a jig.

The jig would clamp onto the end of the cutting board and provide a surface for the router to ride on. This would give you a true reproduction of the effect in the photo above. (In my drawing, the curve is exaggerated for effect.) Mount two blocks on your router base to make sure it can't move side to side, and have at it.


A second way would be to just have a plunge router and a core box bit.

Set up a jig to make a platform large enough for the router to ride on, then start at one end, plunge, move to the other end, and lift.

straight plunge

  • Love the idea of the curve boards as a guide. The from the ops picture I would make the curve more parabolic (yes I know your picture was just an example).
    – Matt
    Apr 30, 2015 at 14:01
  • Yup, it's a small touch, but a nice one. You end up with a true oval rather than a rounded slot.
    – TX Turner
    Apr 30, 2015 at 14:17
  • I think that first picture must be how it was done, thanks! Apr 30, 2015 at 18:33

You could use a router with a cove (ball nose) bit. This will create the sloped effect around the edges. Your cutting board would be clamped vertically and you would start in the center and move out to each side.

diagram of various router bit shapes and their corresponding cuts

  • 3
    Is this specific picture necessary? Cant say I would make a handle with most of these bits.
    – Matt
    Apr 30, 2015 at 16:03
  • 2
    I agree; it would be clearer if the answer just pictured the suggested bit and illustrated how to use it. Many of the bits pictured here are completely inappropriate--e.g., flush trim, stile & rail, glue joint.
    – rob
    Apr 30, 2015 at 16:13
  • All the cove bits I've ever seen (including the one pictured) have a bearing that makes plunging impossible. Perhaps you're thinking of a core box bit, which isn't pictured.
    – Caleb
    Apr 30, 2015 at 17:56
  • Based on the shape of the handle I don't think it is possible with a router bit, the tapering near the sides is too long Apr 30, 2015 at 18:32

Although you could find a way to form that handle with a router, I'd guess that whoever made that board used a shaper with a cutter like this:

enter image description here

  • Based on the shape of the handle I don't think it is possible with a router bit, the tapering near the sides is too long Apr 30, 2015 at 18:31
  • @JordanBentley Notice that the cutter above is for a shaper, not a router.
    – Caleb
    Apr 30, 2015 at 19:13

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