I am trying to create a topper for my subwoofers to turn them into an end-table/subwoofer. My plan is to get a piece of 1⅜" butcher block and take about ½" out of the middle so it will fit over the top off the woofer so it doesn't slide around.

How can I remove just the middle part of the wood? I'm not sure if this is called an inset or not.


  • 3
    I think this would be a job for a router and a template Nov 14, 2016 at 17:34
  • This is a classic job for the power router. But, you might want to consider carefully whether it would be good to go ahead with this depending on the material your subwoofer case is made from. The 'butcherblock' glue-up will be subject to seasonal movement, if your subwoofer case is not subject to similar movement (and in the same direction) you'll have problems, which could at worst see the top split in one or more places.
    – Graphus
    Nov 15, 2016 at 2:11

3 Answers 3


One option would be to mount a long baseplate on your router (like a long piece of plywood or mdf with a hole in it for your bit), so that it spans across the width of the butcher block at all times. Then if you use a flush trim bearing bit, you can create a template the size of the cutout, and work your way out from the middle until your are flush trimming to the template.

  • 1
    The traditional approach would be to build a thinner tabletop with a thick edge, rather than hog away perfectly good wood.
    – keshlam
    Nov 14, 2016 at 21:30
  • Yes, I agree, however that wasn't the question that he asked. Nov 14, 2016 at 21:39
  • It could be. Cut to size and glue on edging. Or a bit oversize and fit molding around the bottom edge. I think the goal here is the tabletop, not the recess.
    – keshlam
    Nov 14, 2016 at 21:42
  • @keshlam First thing I thought of was framing the underside instead, but you can't do it stably with moulding. To do it right the cross-grain sides would need to be pieced together from pieces of short grain wood to avoid a conflict in seasonal movement. As for the waste from hogging out a large recess, I agree in principle but with this material specifically I don't think it should be thought of as a big deal — 'butcherblock' of the type the OP is likely intending to use is built up from smaller offcuts that would otherwise go to waste.
    – Graphus
    Nov 15, 2016 at 2:21
  • Depends on how picky you are. If you glue the crossgrain pieces only in one spot and use trim nails elsewhere, flex in the nails may be enough to absorb wood motion.
    – keshlam
    Nov 15, 2016 at 5:02

It would be way easier to add edging to a board, rather than to rout out a pocket in a single, monolithic piece of wood.

To connect edging to a board you would first cut 45-degree angles on each of the 4 pieces of edging (if you have a mitre saw). To attach the edging to the main board there are multiple options: (1) glue, (2) biscuits, (3) dowel pins, (4) nails, or (5) dovetail (fancy). You can also make a rabbet in the main board and a matching rabbet on the edge pieces with a table saw. This will make for a firmer joint, if desired. One advantage of making a rabbetted joint is that you can screw the edging in from bottom, so the screws will be hidden. The basic idea of rabbetted joint is shown below:

enter image description here

Note that you can either cut the rabbet from a single board, or just screw boards together and get the same effect, which is even easier.

To mill a pocket, normally a woodworker will use a router and then chisel out the corners. This is necessary because a router has a round bit, so the corners will be rounded. To make them square, they need to be cut out by hand with a chisel.

  • how could I match the edging board with the block itself. What is a good way to attach it?
    – tjcinnamon
    Nov 16, 2016 at 18:58
  • @tjcinnamon I have updated my answer with further details. Nov 16, 2016 at 20:33
  • @tjcinnamon Yeah, uh, don't do this. As I touch on in my previous Comment above, you need to take into account seasonal movement in the panel, which this does not. There's a reason solid-wood tabletops aren't picture framed. Even with something fairly small you may need to allow for it which is why the central panel in cupboard doors are left to float.
    – Graphus
    Nov 17, 2016 at 1:16

If you are able to make the butcher block yourself, you could create it with the outside blocks longer than the inner ones. Similar to the answer from @Treow Wyrhta but instead of long boards, match the butcher block. My in-laws had a an old butcher's table that was made this way. You also would not need to miter the corners as it would all be vertical blocks. Basically replace the brown in his image with vertical blocks matching those in the rest of the top.

(Sorry, I cannot comment here at this time)

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