This is yet another item that I had no experience for and no idea how to execute. I did a lot of research, lots of Googling and YouTube-ing hoping to find a nice two-point router jig to cut the curves. Sure there was an incredible amount of videos and articles showing how to cut trim inlay grooves on straight edges, but I could find nothing for the stupid curve. So this is how I did it.
To create the two point guide for my trim router I threaded two small, but relatively long bolts into the holes that I found in the edge guide. A more optimal guide would have adjustable wheels, but like I said I couldn’t find a good one and didn’t have or want to take the time to design one. Well that’s woodworking for ya. There was some friction and chatter when I cut the curve, but overall I was slow and careful and had a decent result for a first time effort.
So now all I had to do was cut and bend the holly inlay. Cutting to size is no problem, but bending? Well it took a bit of practice meaning lots of broken pieces, but I finally figured it out. I used a luthier’s bending iron and wet the piece I was working. I also ended up using a metal bending or compression strap on the back side and that worked great. Basically I worked slowly and tried to over bend the piece before fitting it into the curve. Once I had a good part I fitted and clamped it into the curve to dry. At glue up I reheated the piece before adding glue and tapping in to place and clamping.
I used scarf joints, something I picked up from a David Marks video, to join the inlay strips so, hopefully, the joint line disappears.
The inlay went in fairly easy. Finishing the top, however, would prove to be a real challenge.
-- tim hill www.newcalshop.com