The Nightstands Build #6: Fixing some mistakes with Inlay - Part 1 of 2

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Blog entry by Eric_S posted 02-16-2011 04:37 PM 5926 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: The Nightstand Tops and how I messed them up Part 6 of The Nightstands Build series Part 7: Update on the stands, redoing the tops(again) and final sanding »

I’ve finally decided to get back to finishing the nightstands that have been going on for over a year now. They are very close to being finished. Once I finish this inlay hopefully by next week, all thats left is final sanding and then waiting for it to warm up a bit to apply my finish which in itself could take a while. Speaking of the finish, I’d like to take a second to thank Charles Neil for taking time to e-mail me a few times and help me out with finishing questions and suggestions on how to apply them through the different coats. To Charles, thank you, sorry it’s taken this long to get to the actual finish.

On to the inlay. The inlay wasn’t originally in the nightstand build but due to me screwing up the veneers I created for the top as you can see in Part 5 of the build( I had to figure out a way to hide it without having to redo the tops completely. Thank you to everyone for the inlay suggestions, and newplane for the cherry blossom idea.

To start off, this is my first time doing inlay. I watched a few videos from the Wood Whisperer and fine woodworking and decided I could do it too. I decided to keep with the asian theme for the stands and use cherry blossoms for the inlay.

First was finding some blossoms to use. I found a few good quality pics, printed them out, traced over the outline and xeroxed them onto a few sheets since I didn’t know how many i was going to use.

As you can see, i will need a way to inlay the flower’s anthers and Stamens. I originally wanted to do inlay of these using cherry, but since I dont have a scroll saw or feel comfortable with how tiny that inlay is, I thought about filling it with CA and cherry sawdust. So I sliced up some scrap pieces and bagged the dust. I also did this at an earlier time with my maple just in case I needed saw dust at some point I had it on hand. You can see the blossoms already cut out in this pic, sorry its out of order.

I did a test with the sawdust and CA on a scrap piece of the maple veneer by drilling a few holes and filling them. I didn’t like how it turned out so I’d decided I’d go the Epoxy/dye route I’ve seen the Wood Whisperer do to plug a knot. I haven’t gotten to this point yet but I did pick up the epoxy and dye. Thats for Part 2 of 2 coming next week hopefully.

Next I needed some veneers to use, so I sliced a block of hard maple I had laying around.

I cut them on the bandsaw but I didn’t feel like taking out my 1/2” woodslicer for my 1/8” blade so I just took it slowly and made lots of relief cuts

I thought it would be easier to drill the holes for the anthers now and then fill them later. This was a bad idea. A few of the pedals split along the grain lines when I did this, even when using a tiny drill bit. So I stopped but had to fix those as you can see with the blue tape in the 2nd picture below. Plus, after gluing them down, all the holes i had drilled were just filled back up with glue and will require redrilling anyways. So I’ll just wait.

Next I layed them out how I thought I’d like them, and using a normal glue stick, attached them to the veneer.

The blue tape in this pic is to fix the splits caused by the drilling of the anthers

Next up was the uber tedious process of tracing and scoring them with an exacto knife. I’ve only managed to glue in one so far as it took much longer than I expected last week to carefully trace them all(not surprised).

Then I pulled the pieces out…

I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect and thought I’d have to sand the inlay to get it to fit. I was surprised that this wasn’t the case, it was close to perfect and only required a little bit of sawdust while gluing to fill a few tiny gaps.
Here is what it looks like with one piece glued in place using titebond 2 to blend with the maple. Although you couldn’t tell it’s inlayed because of how thick I sliced these pieces :(

So I realize i made these inlays way too thick. They will require a LOT of sanding to bring them down. Glad I purchased a ROB a few months back. Stay tuned for part 2 where I will finish them all, fill in the flower anthers and stamen with epoxy/dye, and sand them down. In regards to this, I’ve heard that it helps to spray a coat of laquer to seal the grain followed by wax on the surrounding wood to prevent bleeding of the dye/epoxy. Does anyone know if this will work for me or have other suggestions to prevent bleading of a cherry dye into the maple surrounding? I plan on applying the epoxy directly into the holes using a tiny syringe if that makes any difference.

Thanks for looking.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

2 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3701 days

#1 posted 02-17-2011 02:37 AM

Eric that looks good!

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3223 days

#2 posted 02-18-2011 04:13 PM

Thanks Charles.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

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