Inlaying irregular pieces of wood offcuts - Router Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Question Inlaying irregular pieces of wood offcuts

Afternoon everyone - I'm trying to embed some really irregular (kidney shaped) pieces of wood into a box. I seem to keep make a right mess of the work. What's the best way to inlay odd shapes? I have the whiteside inlay kit which works really great on some of the templates I've bought. But so far I have been unable to get the same results with these pieces of wood. I tried to make a template by tracing around one of the pieces of wood with the external brass washer. However it seems as though when I cut out the 'indent' the shape doesn't quite match and there are voids. Any help anyone could give me would be great.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 09:55 PM
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Welcome to Router Forums. There is a lot of talent here and at least one of us should be able to help you even more than I can. They will likely respond soon.

If I understand your problem correctly, you can't use these inlay kits if the pattern has any sharp corners. The bit and guide diameters limit how tight a corner that your inlay can have. A rounded pattern like a teddy bear will inlay well because there are no sharp corners. Inlays with sharp corners can be done, but manually using a razor knife and chisels with a lot of practice.

If you can post some pictures of your problem it may help us better understand what you are talking about. (You can only post photos from within your computer until you have posted here a number of times - no URLs, for newbies. It's an anti SPAM thing).

Also, please take the time to fill out your profile (click on "edit Profile" at the top right of your screen. Knowing your name and roughly where you live, what tools you have, and how much woodworking experience you have can make a big difference in how we respond to your questions.

Again, welcome to Router Forums and our sawdust pile.

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Last edited by CharleyL; 11-14-2017 at 10:01 PM.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 10:15 PM
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Jeff I have done a few inlays and it seems you have to. What Charley said is true and like him we really do need a picture or two.

By the way welcome to the forum. I have learned a lot here and I hope you stick around.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-14-2017, 10:59 PM
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Welcome. I think delicate or detailed inlays require hand cutting and fitting using a pattern lightly attached to the inlay material, with a duplicate outline on the workpiece so you can hollow out the total area to be inlayed first, then fitting the carefully hand cut pieces into that opening slightly oversized so you can trim both edges of the overlap for a perfect fit. I won't pretend to have done it, but I've been studying the process for awhile. I have a router plane with a narrow blade that is used to hollow out the shallow recess in the workpiece. It also has a cutter for working the inlay material. I think it is very difficult to use a large router to clear out the recieving recess, I think it's more of a hand process, particularly if the design is delicate or small. Here's a picture of my router plane and the inlay attachment. It's pretty clear how it works. I also included a picture of the Veritas mini router plane (which I don't own). These are all Veritas (Canadian) brand--good stuff. I've mostly used it to clean out dados and grooves, and they give an exact depth, very flat surface. These are really beautiful tools and a joy to use.

The double cutter on the small picture is for cutting things like vines. The cutters (irons) include one only 1/8th wide.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 03:28 AM
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I wonder if you have considered using a Dremel for routing small inlays. This video will show you one method.
THis links on to a few more videos that may also help.

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Last edited by Badger2; 11-15-2017 at 03:33 AM.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 06:39 AM
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Welcome to the forum, Jeff! I do inlays on guitars, boxes, plaques, desk clutter, etc. and use whatever tool fits at the time. Sometimes it's an X-Acto, chisel, Dremel, CNC, and occasionally a trim router. As has been said, post some photos so we can better help you get to your end result.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 08:29 AM
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You can post pictures after 10 posts, so comment on a few other threads and then you can share

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone - hopefully this translates OK. I am building my children memory boxes and want to embed/inlay a piece of tree branch from their grandparents house along with inlaying some stones in the lid. Unfortunately I can't add pictures at the moment.

Looking to do something along these lines with the stones

And then using something like these split lengthwise and inlaid into the box lid.

For the stones I decided to try and create a template for each one and then route the hollow for the stone. So far though I keep running into issues with the template. For some reason (mostly my lack of knowledge) the hollow ends up being too large and I have large gaps between the wood and the stone.

Thanks again for all the advice and the warm welcome.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 09:22 AM
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As long as the photos are in your computer?s hard drive you don?t need 10 posts. If they are on a sharing site or any other reference that requires a link you?ll need those 10 posts first. That also applies to using our private messaging system.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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I'll apologize in advance if this is a duplicate. I seem to be having posting issues. I'm looking at doing something similar to this

And also inlaying something similar to there (only cut down length wise)

Unfortunately I seem to be making the templates too large and I haven't been able to figure out what to use to create a 'gap free' inlay.

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