Art Deco TV Table #16: About That Inlay

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Blog entry by newTim posted 12-22-2015 02:04 PM 590 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Hidden Handles (Pulls) Part 16 of Art Deco TV Table series Part 17: Straighten Out Those Ribbies »

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

2 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3127 posts in 3133 days

#1 posted 12-23-2015 06:21 AM


You’re very resourceful! I don’t happen to have a luthier’s bending iron in my stash of tools and no longer in close contact with any luthiers so I’d need to come up with another solution. . . I’ve got it: I just won’t attempt such a difficult project! LOL

How thick was your inlay?


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View newTim's profile


596 posts in 3027 days

#2 posted 12-23-2015 04:35 PM

Thanks again. The inlay strip was 1/4” wide and about 1/4” deep. Good thing too because I ended up refinishing the top five times and had to sand it bare.

-- tim hill

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