What is this type of carving called and how do you do it?

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Forum topic by IssibTheOracle36 posted 12-15-2015 05:55 PM 1336 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1634 days

12-15-2015 05:55 PM

Okay so I’m trying to make something similar to this board for someone for Christmas and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to make those indented lines that form squares. I don’t know what they would be called or how to make them or what tools to use. Please help me! I’m really new to woodworking so any advice would be wonderful

5 replies so far

View rick1955's profile


264 posts in 2171 days

#1 posted 12-15-2015 06:39 PM

I’d do it on the table saw. I think you need to make something simpler as a beginner.

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

View ClaudeF's profile


1130 posts in 2448 days

#2 posted 12-16-2015 12:44 AM

If you have a router, you could use a small shallow bit, a clamped straightedge to hold the counter against, and have at it. For the coloration, you could stain the darker areas after routing, or you could use different woods, glued together, before routing the lines. Neither of these techniques is for the beginner. I agree with Rick – you might consider something a bit simpler…



View camps764's profile


867 posts in 3101 days

#3 posted 12-16-2015 02:59 AM

lots of ways to skin this cat -

Table saw set to a shallow depth.

Router with a small straight bit and a straight edge or dado jig.

Circular saw set to shallow depth and a straight edge.

If it were me, I’d use a router and a dado jig so that I could see what I was doing. I’d layout all of my lines in pencil, then I’d work through the grid of layout lines one at a time.

The jig would look something like this:

-- Steve

View Robert's profile


3709 posts in 2221 days

#4 posted 12-16-2015 12:46 PM

Quite an ambitious project what with grain going every which way…...

The problem with a TS is 1) you can’t see the cut and 2) too much chance for error, 3) tear out.

I would use a router with a straight edge guide like the one above, but make it double sided.
This will keep the router from drifting. When cutting a dado remember one side of the bit is trying to climb on you and depending on the grain, you’re router can suddenly pull away from the straightedge if you’re not minding your p’s and q’s.

Tear out will be the issue on the angled cuts, however you can sand minor tearout away afterwards.

As previously mentioned, the key is shallow cuts, but also be sure you use a high quality router bit (Amana, Whiteside, etc. available at or MLCS.)

You could also score lines with a knife prior to cutting but that is a tricky process getting them exactly right.

I think the most accurate, clean way of doing it would be to scribe knife lines, and use a router plane, but that’s me.


-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1720 posts in 2471 days

#5 posted 12-16-2015 02:53 PM

The amount of tearout you might get with that shallow of a cut is so minuscule it wouldn’t be noticed. Use a table saw if yours is large enough. Make up the board with the pattern shown. It looks like it should be a square before rounding. You will need a slideboard set at 45° large enough to make the cuts. Set the blade height for the depth of cut using a flat top blade. Set the piece at dead center and make the first cut. Move the piece the distance to the next groove, cut and flip it to cut the the next line, move the distance needed, flip and continue until all lines are done. If you need stops for each line, drill a bunch of equally spaced holes and use either screws or dowels as stop blocks, or just draw equally spaced lines , and use the corner as the guide to keep the grooves cut equally. After grooves are cut, set up a trammel point in a router, and make it round.

The only problem I see is the board looks to be about 14-18” across, so the tablesaw would need to have a large top or some outboard tables if it’s too small. The slide board doesn’t need to be anything more that a wide fence board, about 6” wide, long enough to accommodate the board you’re grooving, with a good solid hardwood piece attached to the fence board to act as the guide for cutting straight lines. It would take about 5 minutes to make, about another 5 minutes to mark the cut increments, and about another 5 minutes to make the cuts if you had a real handle on what you’re doing. ............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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