I am building a wood desk clock using 6/4 walnut and a clock insert. I want to install a 4" X 4" X 1/4" decorative ceramic tile below the clock. I think I would need to remove 3/8" of wood to allow for the installation of the tile and grout.

What tools and methods would you recommend I employ?

  • Hi, welcome to StackExchange. Are you looking for recommendations that will require you to buy a specific tool or tools or that will utilise tooling you already have? If the latter you need to tell us what you already have ;-)
    – Graphus
    Feb 20 at 6:47
  • FYI there are three main ways this would be done, most common of which these days would be to use a power router (with some help provided by a sub-base or simple jig). A primarily hand-tool approach would usually require a hand router to finish off neatly and accurately (which again might need an attached sub-base). Third way would typically rely on a bandsaw or tablesaw, but could in theory be done sawing by hand, if you have the requisite saw and experience.
    – Graphus
    Feb 20 at 6:53
  • Grout might not be the best adhesive for installing a tile in a piece of wood. Consider silicone caulk, construction adhesive, or epoxy instead.
    – Caleb
    Feb 22 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


A router (powered or hand) is normally the tool used to make an inset in a piece of wood.

I suppose you could use a Forstner bit in a drill press with a depth stop to hog out most of the material, but then you'd need to clean up the bottom because the Forstner bit will leave a mark from the spur at the center. If you wanted, you could buy a cheap bit and file off the spur for this project.

  • I'm waiting for the OP to clarify whether they want to use existing tools; let's see how long that wait is #_# Regardless, it occurred to me that all methods require a chisel (and a sharp one at that, because by necessity some of the cuts are across the grain).
    – Graphus
    Feb 22 at 7:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.