Now I said in my previous blog, about the hinge on this box, that I probably wouldn’t make the hinge quite the same way again. But I was very happy with the way the inlay worked and that is worth repeating. So, this is how I did it.
The first thing that I needed to do was pick the size of the forstner bit that I wanted to use. I chose 35 mm (about 1 3/8”) because it just felt right in proportion to the size of the top. Then I marked the centre of the top which is the centre of the first hole drilled. Next I marked the centres of eight more holes, equally spaced 45° apart and each 35 mm (one diameter of the forstner bit) from the centre of the top. The photo below is of the top with the central hole already drilled and the other eight centres punched.
Then just drill the other eight holes and use a chisel to clean up a few pieces of waste not taken out with the forstner bit. All holes were about 3mm (1/8”) deep.
Now for the inlay pieces. I made a template out of a scrap of plywood of the petal shape to mark out for cutting, though I ended up using another piece of plywood with a 35mm hole drilled in it to re-mark the curve because it was just cleaner than my template (and easier than fixing my template). Rather than make one petal at a time, I found two pieces of wood, one light and one dark, about 35 mm square and long enough to manhandle safely. Now this is where I guiltily hang my head and admit that I got so involved in the process of making the inlay pieces that I forgot to take photos of the critical steps. So instead I had a bit of fun with sketchup and drew up the little sketch below:
If you can’t read the writing on the sketch, the steps are:
1. Cut away the waste around the petal (using the band saw), leaving about 1 mm to be taken off using the disc sander
2. Sand the curve to the correct size and smoothness on the disc sander
3. Make cuts into the wood parallel to the petal surface to make multiple pieces (about 6 of each colour to give me some spares) about 5 to 6 mm (say 1/4”) thick.
4. Cut the pieces off the block of wood. At this point each piece is a wedge shape with an extra bit on it.
5. Cut, or sand, off the extra bit to give wedge shaped pieces, and sand the wedge to size. At this point I was putting the wedge pieces into the inlay rebate in order to get the size right and I did begin to wonder whether I needed the central octagon, but I decided to continue with the design that I originally had in mind – which leads to step 6.
6. Mark and cut the line for the octagaon.
The photo below shows the templates used and some of the spare bits left over at the end.
Next was to make an octagon out of the same wood as the rest of the box, and then it’s off to glue it all together.
The glue-up was interesting because I used Titebond polyurethane liquid glue. It’s funny stuff because it states that rubber gloves should be used, and it foams up as it sets. I was sure to use some wax wrap between my top and the board that I used to apply pressure when I clamped it all up! Well it came out of the clamps looking like this.
Now if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have noticed that I glued petals and an octagon that were 6 mm (1/4”) thick into a rebate that was only 3mm (1/8”) deep. So that left a bit of material to be removed which I did with a smoothing plane. And the end result, before finishing, is as below.
And that’s it. I hope this blog is useful to someone out there.
-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking