CNC Elm Wood Boxes with V-Carving and Inlays

One thing to create with a desktop CNC are boxes: wooden boxes with inlays:

Sun Box

Of course there are many other useful things you can o with a CNC and wood. But creating some nice boxes, suitable as a gift or as a general container to store away things, is always a good reason.

The boxes shown here are actually the first ones I did. I preparation I did experiment with all the different settings and ways to create the necessary files. I used the F-Engrave to create the V-Carve Inlays:

Below is one of the early test pieces I have created:

Inlay (oak, top) and pocket (pine, bottom)

The concept is to create a pocked in the wood with a ‘V-Bit’, usually with 60 degree.

Then create the ‘mirror’ or it with a different wood, Glue the two pieces together, then cut and sand down the top part to get a nice surface:

Finished Test Piece

It looks best if there is a contrast between the different kind of wood.

The principle is rather simple: to get good results is not that easy and requires experimentation and tweaking the settings, as the two parts are *not* mirrored, to get them nicely fit.

After the first successful trials, I went ahead to create two small wooden boxes, as a gift for two colleagues leafing the university: one with a ‘sun’ motive, the other with a ‘MCU’ on it.

The design has been created with the help of Inkscape for the inlays, and Carbide Create for the boxes itself:

Design with Carbide Create

I was first planning to use oak wood, but at the end I used Elm wood.

CNCed boxes out of Elm wood

Each piece has pockets for magnets (total 8). The magnets are ‘press-fit’ and keep the bottom and lid part nicely together.


In a next step the pockets get carved out of the box lid:

Next, the inlay gets glued into the pockets and then sanded down (sorry, I missed to take pictures of that step).

Finally, they get a final sanding, followed applying a wood oil finish:

The boxes turned out very well in my view. I did take much pictures, so hopefully I can do better next time.

So if you want to create some nice wood boxes (one can never have enough boxes!), I hope this was inspirational for you.

Happy boxing 🙂

6 thoughts on “CNC Elm Wood Boxes with V-Carving and Inlays

    • I started trying to do this by hand, with miserable results :-(. Now with the CNC it gets better 🙂 About the MCU-Link Pro: this is exactly what I’m doing currently over the last days. Not finished yet, but I plan to write about it as soon as I can. I see if I can post some pictures on Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

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