Compass Rose Inlay #1: Creating a Compass Rose Inlay

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Blog entry by Jon3 posted 1718 days ago 8549 reads 35 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Compass Rose Inlay series Part 2: Inlay the Compass Rose »

I decided to dress up one of the serving trays I’m making with a compass rose inlay. I used the excellent instructions of Mike Henderson. I used Walnut and figured (birdseye) Anigre veneer, and I’ll be inlaying the rose into a curly maple raised panel.

I have most of the tools Mike mentioned, but I created some others, like a veneer cutting board, a cheap MDF 22.5 degree triangle.

I also created a ‘veneer jointer’ out of some sandpaper and plywood.

I cut the veneer 3×2 (one of them has some extra length) 8 pieces of each (2 roses). Then used my mdf triangle and the cutting board to produce my triangles. After cutting, I laid them out on some white paper so I could check for gaps and sand as necessary.

Then I taped up the triangles.

Then the whole kit.

Then I flipped it over and began on the veneer tape.

With the veneer tape dry, (it can take a while and a rush here is a bad idea.) I moved on to cutting the first triangles.

I got them all cut, jointed as necessary, and re-taped.

Then we flip it over. Starting to look quite like a compass rose now!

And veneer tape the heck out of it…

Then its back to the drying phase. Again, no rushing. Finally, its time to cut away the spare veneer to reveal the minor compass points. I went over this once lightly with a pencil, before I did any cutting, so I made sure I wasn’t cutting on the wrong point. It can be tricky and I came very close to accidentally chopping off a major point, so I think its worth taking the time to pre-mark these.

With everything cut, I began to peel back layers and trim the veneer tape off the excess veneer.

When done, you’re left with a compass rose! (Note there’s a tiny bit of veneer tape showing on the edges of some pieces. This will need to be carefully trimmed back before I try and inlay the piece into its final home.

Mike commented on my post, and pointed out more tutorials of his here.

16 comments so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5347 posts in 2212 days

#1 posted 1718 days ago

This will need to be carefully trimmed back before I try and inlay the piece into its final home

That will be a job too I would have been lazy and left it with this design with a round background for easy installation still yours looks better by far.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2589 days

#2 posted 1718 days ago


-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 1922 days

#3 posted 1718 days ago

Wow !!
This is fantastic, I’ve been trying to figure out out to go about doing this with 1/4” stock.
This is a great tutorial, thanks so much : )


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View bigike's profile


4031 posts in 1915 days

#4 posted 1718 days ago

im totaly lost mabee if i see a vid on it but it looks good anyway.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2185 days

#5 posted 1718 days ago

Another great post. You have done a great job of explaining how to do this. I will favorite yours for future reference.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Gary's profile


1019 posts in 2951 days

#6 posted 1718 days ago

Jon, that’s superb. I just saw this on WN in the Hand tools forum. Great explanation; great workmanship.

-- Gary, Florida.

View woodworm's profile


14124 posts in 2217 days

#7 posted 1718 days ago

Very very impressive. Excellent job!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Mike_Henderson's profile


18 posts in 1734 days

#8 posted 1718 days ago

Thanks for the plug, Jon3. I have other veneer tutorials on my tutorial web page

And take a special look at the last two tutorials on that page.


View sedcokid's profile


2667 posts in 2225 days

#9 posted 1718 days ago

Man oh Man, how beautiful it this!

Great Job!!!!

‘The SedcoKid’

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2449 days

#10 posted 1717 days ago

Jon, this is a preety interesting blog. It looks like you have documented the process well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

948 posts in 2434 days

#11 posted 1717 days ago

I’m interested in best practices for compass rose inlays…so, this naturally piqued attention. One of the best posts, of the many fantastic posts in LJ, I’ve seen in a long while. Looking forward to more of your very useful ideas/posts. Thanks for sharing this. Definitely useful! Max

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Jon3's profile


494 posts in 2732 days

#12 posted 1717 days ago

Good link Mike, I’ll add that into my post.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1190 posts in 2185 days

#13 posted 1709 days ago

Thanks for accompanying each step with a photo. That really helps illustrate the steps. As a sailor, I will be doing a compass rose inlay on something, most probably the table in the saloon of whatever big boat we buy next year. I also want a compass rose tattoo when I grow up.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

#14 posted 1677 days ago

Hey thx Jon3, i use your tutorial to made mine on my deskboard (secretaire) i’ll take photos and show it to you!
I made few little too and i use them like a coaster (sous-verre)

-- Charles-Etienne Sauvé-Faucher, Ebéniste.

#15 posted 1676 days ago

It’s in my project! Come see!

-- Charles-Etienne Sauvé-Faucher, Ebéniste.

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