Routing Circles #1: Routing inlays

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Blog entry by Lee A. Jesberger posted 1155 days ago 4730 reads 4 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Hi all;

Recently I needed to cut some wenge veneer to inlay into a Demilune table. The table is part of a private veneer course I’m teaching, and will be included in either an e-book, or a printed book. The fellow is writting it as I’m teaching, taking pictures as we go. One of the projects in the book has an wenge inlay.

If you’ve ever worked with wenge, you know it’s a bit of a nasty wood to work with. Cutting it with a knife is difficult, as the wood tends to split. Since I’m doing a 1/4” wide inlay on a half round, and my usual tools weren’t working out too well I had to come up with a different way.

I got to thinking a router would be a good way to go. I decided to make use of a Dremel set I got a few years back, since it was small and easily managed. It did have an edge quide, which doubled as a circle cutter but it was a bit cumbersome to use.

I decided to make an adapter to fit the base of the router, using a piece of 1” thick lexan. I threaded it to accept a Veritas compass beam.

The compass beam is very nice, and will making circles as small as 1”, and as large as 40”, with the pieces that come with it. It has small sections of rod that screw together allowing different lengths.

Using a jig and laminate trimmer, I routed a ledge to sit on the router base, giving it a bit more stability.

Then I drilled and tapped the edge for the compass beam.

I then mounted it to an existing hole on the base of the router. The lexan fits tightly against a piece in the casting, so it doesn’t pivot. I’m happy to say it was worth the effort, as it worked quite well.

The woods are Figured Black Limba, Swiss Pear, and Wenge

Thanks for looking.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

32 comments so far

View bigike's profile


4030 posts in 1872 days

#1 posted 1155 days ago

saweeeeeeeeeet looking table.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 2328 days

#2 posted 1155 days ago

Thanks for the tutorial, Lee. That’s a nice adapter for the router. I guess most of what I know about veneering, I learned from you. Beautiful table. Thanks for the post.

-- Tim

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12806 posts in 2566 days

#3 posted 1155 days ago

very nice. the colors work very well together.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View shipwright's profile


4807 posts in 1382 days

#4 posted 1155 days ago

Nice work Lee.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

348 posts in 2416 days

#5 posted 1155 days ago

Absolutely beautiful work, Lee. Thanks for sharing!

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View savannah505's profile


1688 posts in 2170 days

#6 posted 1155 days ago

You know I love your work Lee, this is no exception, how are you, I need to call and say hi. It’s been awhile.

-- Dan Wiggins

View Karson's profile


34842 posts in 2984 days

#7 posted 1155 days ago

Lee Beautiful and a great jig tip.

You da man!!

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Grumpy's profile


19279 posts in 2435 days

#8 posted 1155 days ago

Lee, there is nothing like a great jig that works well. An excellent result on the table buddy.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View grizzman's profile


6699 posts in 1887 days

#9 posted 1155 days ago

oh come on lee, couldnt ya just slap this table together…ha..great job and a great way to figure out your inlay…its a beautiful table…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View CharlieM1958's profile


15623 posts in 2802 days

#10 posted 1155 days ago

Great idea, Lee, and stunning work as always.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 1949 days

#11 posted 1154 days ago

Thanks for the information about the technique, the adapter, and the compass beam. All very useful. The table is pretty great too. Nice job!

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 2572 days

#12 posted 1154 days ago

More than one way to skin a cat, huh?

Great looking table. Swiss pear is a great wood to work with, isn’t it? I wish I could afford it to use it all the time.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View lanwater's profile


3069 posts in 1518 days

#13 posted 1154 days ago

Great looking table. Very nice work.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View patron's profile


12947 posts in 1925 days

#14 posted 1154 days ago

excellent work as always lee

and a great trammel
and adaption for it

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7416 posts in 1504 days

#15 posted 1154 days ago

As everyone said, it is certainly a beautiful table. Thanks so much for the tutorial on how you accomplished it. It is absolutely gorgeous! Your work is always top notch!


-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs "Knowledge is Power"

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