wood chisels .. but requires a steady hand and a variety of blades .. https://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/woodworking-tools/how-to-use-a-wood-chisel/view-all/
My husband did this with our table saw - very dangerous (I couldn't watch) but it worked like a charm. He basically took off the guard and ran the wood across.
Dalene,. You could use a piece that is a part of a drill bit set. It's used to make a hole for a deadbolt lock. I can't think of the name. Call the tool department at Home Depot, and ask them what this piece is. If you have a drill you can use it for your recess project. You probably can buy the bit if you don't have one. Aloha!
Depends on the type of recess you need. A trough style, a large hole? The following YouTube is a brief first place to look: