Routing a big irregular inlay - Router Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Question Routing a big irregular inlay

Hello, everyone; I'm completely new here, but it looks like y'all are the sort of folks I'd like to run this project by.

Is there a clever way to copy the exact contours of a shallow opening, to create an inlay of plywood to fill the gap? All the inlay advice I see is for small-scale kits where you're cutting both the opening and the inlay from scratch; but I'm looking to fill an irregular opening in a tile floor. See attached photos for scale and examples of the edge. I'm looking to create a piece of plywood to precisely cover the grey concrete, the surface of which is about 3/4" lower than the orange tile.

Background:

My husband and I just had a plumbing nightmare descend on our house that required trenches to be dug in winding pathways throughout our ground floor. The excavators replace the dirt and the concrete, but not the flooring; that's our job to have done once we see whether or not we're getting any insurance money.

For various reasons, we're not ready to do the complete reflooring quite yet, and want to lay some temporary filler in to replace the tile's thickness, which is between 3/4 and 1 inch and constitutes a significant tripping hazard. I'm mainly a theatrical carpenter, so my first instinct is to fill the gaps with 1/2" or 3/4" plywood topped with 1/4" hardboard (Masonite).

And back to the question:

The only thing I can think of would be to lay the sheet of wood over the edge to be matched, and use a flush-trim bit to cut blindly through the sheet along the path of the tile's "cliff". But of course that would give me the exact opposite of what I want. I could keep the "offcut" instead of what would normally be the main piece, but the contour would be wrong on the deeper irregularities. And then the even trickier part would be doing the same thing on the other side of the piece and allowing for the right amount of kerf.

Does anyone have a better idea? I am by no means a router expert; I'm a fairly experienced user of power tools in general, but mostly for large chunky theatrical projects rather than cabinetry. Fortunately, I have more router than I deserve -- a 1 1/2 HP, 1/2" collet Porter-Cable plunge-capable router that was my dad's.

Thanks for any thoughts you would like to share!
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 08:59 PM
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Have you considered cutting out and temp replacing the busted tiles with tiles?
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 09:25 PM
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Welcome nameless person to what could become your second home...

lay a sheet of craft paper over the depression and tape it securely to the surrounding tile...
make sure the paper is drawn tight...

take a carpenter's pencil and rub trace the irregular perimeter by holding the pencil at about 30° to the floor and rubbing the side od the pencil lead along the rim formed by the tile...
if you go outside the line erase the error...

you can rub the tile with your thumb and crease the paper to get your outline...
carefully highlight the crease w/ a hyper-fine felt tip...

once satisfied w/ your tracing either take up the paper and cut out your pattern w/ scissors or leave it in place and cut it out w/ an exacto knife...
you now have an exact pattern of the depression...

now adhere the pattern to you your piece of plywood and cut it out w/ a jigsaw or coping saw.....

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 09:33 PM
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plan ''B'' oh nameless person..

have you considered filling and then skreeding the depression to the existing tile elevation w/ floor leveler such a Ardex...
ARDEX Americas | Products

place pieces of the old tile in the depression to take up volume and then using the Ardex for a level finish...
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This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 11:04 PM
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If it were mine I would use a skilsaw with a diamond blade and cut the edges of the tile in a straight line. Then fill in the center,like stick says with a floor fill grout like Stick suggested, screeding the floor fill 1/2" below the top of the floor ,thencut and lay some 1/2" plywood down flush with the floor and a little adhesive under to hold it temporarily til you want to remove it and fix it permanently. You can get the bags of floor fill at HD/LOwes.

Herb
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 06:05 AM
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I agree with Herb. I think you should first cut the edges of the tiles straight. Too bad the plumbers didn't do that originally.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 08:04 AM
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+1 on Sticks suggestions. You can buy rolls of Builders paper @ Lowes which would work or white drafting paper @ Staples. If you cut the sides of the tile be sure to wear long sleeves and use eye protection, those chips can be sharp & dangerous.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 08:32 AM
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Would like to see the end results of your repair. Good luck, O Mysterious One.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 08:32 AM
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I would lay some tar paper to protect the floor below and then fill in the space with concrete when you are ready to repair the floor you would break the concrete up with a hammer and pull the tar paper off the finished floor below
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 09:06 AM
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if she cuts that tile the magnitude of dust will be a bit much...

mixing up the Ardex to the dry side and putting it in like a mud base will make it very easy to take back out come time to to do finial repairs...

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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