How to Make a Recessed Edge With a Drill Bit

Picture frames, some coffee tables, shelves and cabinets all have recessed edges cut into the wood to allow glass panes to sit comfortably inside the wood frame. You make a recessed edge with a drill bit made specifically for this purpose, called a rabbet bit. In conjunction with the rabbet bit, you use a pilot bearing on the router that glides along the edge of the wood as you cut. The pilot bearings and rabbet bits come in various sizes to suit any project.

Things You'll Need

  • Handheld router
  • Pilot bearing
  • Rabbet bit
  • Worktable
  • Wood clamps

Instructions

    • 1

      Choose the proper pilot bearing for your router that will cut at the same thickness as the wood. A ball bearing pilot bit is suitable for cutting recessed edges, as it ensures accuracy with it location below the rabbet bit and it rides along the wood as you cut to ensure you don't cut too deep.

    • 2

      Insert a rabbet width in the same width into the router. Set the rabbet to cut 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch into the wood depending upon the overall thickness of the piece. A rabbet bit is designed specifically for cutting edges without the need for a guiding piece of wood or template.

    • 3

      Clamp the board to your workbench to hold it steady. Hold the router with both hands and run it along the edge of the board. You can rabbet the outer edge of the board or inside a frame with a handheld router with confidence, as the ball bearing pilot bit guides you with an accurate cut along the edges. You can also turn a handheld router to compensate for the inside of a frame.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear protective eyewear and a facemask for protection against sawdust as you make the recessed edge.
  • Use a chisel to make straight edges on the inside corners of the recessed edges if necessary for a picture frame or glass-top coffee table.
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Resources

  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

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