I am finally working on this project again and ran into another problem. You can find out how I got this far from blogs I posted earlier. Last time I showed how I set up guides to cutting the inlay banding grooves. I eventually got all the inlay banding installed, but when I went to sand it flush with the veneer I found I could feel that the resulting surface was uneven. If I could feel it, imagine how bad it was going to look finished! (Keep in mind my hands are trained to feel irregularities after working many years in auto body repair.)
I made the banding myself and as careful as I was, the individual pieces (sliced off with a bandsaw) were not a uniform thickness. I trashed the pieces that were obviously bad and worked only with those that were within about 0.020. (That may sound like a lot, but try it yourself!) I purposefully cut the grooves about 0.010” shallower than the banding was thick. I guessed that I could take care of that and whatever else was proud of the veneer by sanding. THAT WAS THE MISTAKE. In retrospect, given what I had to work with I don’t know how else I might have done it? Got any thoughts?
The picture below shows an example of being careless, but it demonstrates the worst of what I had to fix.
There were mostly areas like that shown below where I just couldn’t get the inlay banding down any further or it was too thick and down as far as it would go. In the picture you can see I used a router with a straight bit set very close to the surface of the veneer to remove most of the excess banding. In a very few areas the bit did touch the veneer making it shiny and in fewer areas it actually removed a noticeable amount of veneer, but both sanded out very easily.
I gave quite a bit of thought to how I was going to modify the router base to compensate for moving the router over the banding that was sticking up. I came up with many elegant solutions but that wasn’t getting the job done. Finally one day I said I was going to just do it and get it done. I cut 4 pieces of brass from bar stock, rounded the edges, and used 2-sided carpet tape to attach them to the base – took 10 minutes. You can see the brass sticking out slightly from the perimeter of the router base.
I set the depth to zero bottoming the bit out on my table saw, backed it off about 0.005, and just did it. I soon found that it was not as dangerous as I thought and I did not even need to clench my teeth while I was doing it! I was done in no time.
Actually I tried sanding a sample piece before moving on to the 2nd panel. I covered the entire area in pencil lines and used 120 grit on an orbital sander applying moderate pressure. I replaced the paper often – no skimping here! I paid no attention to whether an area was bad or not and uniformly sanded the entire panel moving constantly first in one direction and then 90 degrees to it. I continued doing this until all the pencil was gone – never concentrating on where the pencil marks remained! I hope it isn’t too much longer before I see how it worked. Thanks for looking!