At this point we should have an assembled box, with corner splines, a recess cut into the body for the lid to set down into 3/8”, and a recess for the medallion cut into the lid that is also 3/8” deep, and the medallion cut to fit.
DO NOT glue in the medallion yet!
Next thing is to make the handle.
I like to attach the handle by cutting a mortise in both the handle and the edge of the lid and slipping in a thin strip of wood, aka a spline. The spline is a scrap left over from your corner splines.
Insert a 1/8’’ bit in your table mounted router and cut a slot in the lid and a matching one in the handle blank, about 3/16’’ deep. On the handle, stop your mortise about 3/8’’ from the ends. Now cut a spline to slip into the slot and make it about 3/8’’ shorter than the length of the slot. This will allow you to slide the handle back and forth to position it. If you do much shaping to the handle it may get shorter, maybe on one side more than the other. The wider slot will let you move it back into center of the lid. Ease the edges of your spline with sandpaper to make it easier to slip in and out. Make sure it is narrow enough to let the handle butt up tight to the body.
Here is one ready to mount.
Now you can do some shaping prior to mounting it. Just be careful to watch the ends where you can cut into the mortise, and allow for sanding later on after its mounted.
If you feel like you are close to exposing the mortise or just want a visual reminder, place a piece of tape on the ends of the handle.
DO NOT GLUE YOUR HANDLE IN!
We want our handle loose until we are done shaping the seat in the box.
If the handle and its seat dont match up nicely we can always make another if its not glued in.
This picture shows the seat roughed out.
Cut a kerf with a handsaw at each end of the box lip where we marked the seat for our handle. This will prevent the router from tearing out a chunk of wood. You can use a sharp chisel to remove the waste, but I prefer a spiral bit in my table mounted router. Make several shallow passes and clean up the last bit with a chisel and a sanding block. Just get it to where the lid will close all the way. Dont cut all the rim off, leave about 1/8 of the front edge where the handle sits so it will hide the edge of the lid or you will be able to see past and into the box.
Fine sanding can be done later.
You can also do this step with a Dremel or other power tool if you like.
Ready for sanding to fit the handle.
Handle in place after a little more sanding.
Now we will cut the pockets for the box to pivot.
-- If I can do it, so can you.