Routing Circles #1: Routing inlays

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Blog entry by Lee A. Jesberger posted 1166 days ago 4794 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


4031 posts in 1884 days

#1 posted 1166 days ago

saweeeeeeeeeet looking table.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 2340 days

#2 posted 1166 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.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12835 posts in 2578 days

#3 posted 1166 days ago

very nice. the colors work very well together.

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

View shipwright's profile


4829 posts in 1393 days

#4 posted 1166 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 2428 days

#5 posted 1166 days ago

Absolutely beautiful work, Lee. Thanks for sharing!

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View savannah505's profile


1691 posts in 2181 days

#6 posted 1166 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


34852 posts in 2996 days

#7 posted 1166 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


19307 posts in 2446 days

#8 posted 1166 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


6764 posts in 1899 days

#9 posted 1166 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


15639 posts in 2814 days

#10 posted 1166 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 1961 days

#11 posted 1166 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 2583 days

#12 posted 1166 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


3072 posts in 1529 days

#13 posted 1166 days ago

Great looking table. Very nice work.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View patron's profile


12953 posts in 1936 days

#14 posted 1166 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)

7462 posts in 1515 days

#15 posted 1166 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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