How to carve out a slot?

Hi,
Suppose I want to embed 12x12 square tiles in an existing solid top table by carving out shallow niches for them. What's a good way of doing that? I'm terrible with a chisel, by the way.
I figure something like a CNC machine would do the job (except for the corners), but I don't have access to one. Can you make other suggestions?
Thanks a lot in advance!
Aaron Fude
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A router with a straight bit (no bearing, unless it's at the top so it won't affect your cut) is the right tool for this job. You'd simply fence off your outsides (so you don't cut too far) and then carve out the inside. When you're done, chisel your corners square. (This should not be beyond your chisel skills.)
An alternative would be a hand plane, but unless you've got a good one I'd just go with the router.
Puckdropper
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An easy 5 step process:
1. Make a frame template with a 12X12 hole in it to place over the location where you want to cut the hole for the tile. The tile should fit in the hole in this template. 2. Make a large router base for your router that will span the 12X12 template and mount it on your router. 3. Use a top bearing style pattern or mortising bit to make the cut. Carefully remove all of the wood to the depth of the tile thickness. 4. Use a chisel to square the corners. 5. The niche is complete. Install the tile with appropriate adhesive.
No need for CNC
Charley

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Don't forget, the wood top will move, but the tile will not. Unless you leave plenty of clearance around the tile, you run the risk of either it (or the wood top) breaking with expansion/contraction

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