Line & Berry radius cutter/ Thickness Gauge

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Project by Les Hastings posted 06-27-2010 11:08 PM 6905 views 54 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve always been fasinated with line & berry inlay work, but never have taken the time to pursue giving it a try. I recently went to a SPFM meeting in Kansas City and that got my interests going once again. I was going to buy the tools from Lee Neilson, but instead I decided to just buy all the blades and make all of them myself.

All of the tools are made out of Macasser Ebony and brass. I made the first radius cutter (the larger one). It cuts radius from 1 7/8” to 8”. After I got it finished I decided that I might need to cut smaller radius than 1 7/8”. And I had so much fun making it I figured I might as well make another one only smaller this time. The smaller size cuts a radius from 1/2” to around 2 1/2”. I’m not sure if it was any cheaper making them over buying, but the fun factor was way up there! Figuring things out, making the wood and brass parts. Seeing things all come together just right and having them work really well, its all part of the fun!

The last piece is the Thicknessing Gauge. Its a pretty simple tool compared to the others. But just as fun to make. A piece of Ebony, 4 brass inserts and screws, some sanding and that’s it.

I still have two more tools to make before I can get started practicing my Line & Berry inlay work. I have them started but I’m waiting on some 5/8” hexagon shaped brass that I ordered for the arms for those two tools to show up. I’ve always enjoyed making tools when I’ve got the time.

I can’t wait to get all of them done and give’m a try! Might have to use them to make a spiecial case to carry all of them in!

Thanks for looking and have fun Woodworking!

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

20 comments so far

View ajosephg's profile


1874 posts in 2649 days

#1 posted 06-27-2010 11:15 PM

These are beautiful. I hate to admit my ignorance, but how do you use/what is the purpose of the thicknessing gauge?

-- Joe

View WhiskeyWaters's profile


213 posts in 2893 days

#2 posted 06-27-2010 11:27 PM

Always cool to use different materials once and while; great lookin’ wood. Let’s see what you can do with ‘em!

-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

View SPalm's profile


5185 posts in 2970 days

#3 posted 06-27-2010 11:34 PM

WOW. Those are beautiful. Man you do nice work. So you bought the blades and did all the brass work yourself?

I saw some of this inlay in Fine Woodworking a little while ago. It is really elegant. I am sure you will do it justice.

That thicknesser gives me some ideas… Thanks.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View mafe's profile


10541 posts in 2177 days

#4 posted 06-27-2010 11:45 PM

Beautiful work, I’m really looking forward to see what will come out of this.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1292 posts in 2861 days

#5 posted 06-28-2010 12:01 AM

Joe, The thickness gauge is used to plane down the Holly so it will fit in the groove cut by the the other tools. I bought the .031 and .062 knives so I will set the thickness gauge will be set to those widths. You pull the holly through slot and plane it down so that it fits in the groove cut by the radius cutter.

Thanks Guy’s!

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View a1Jim's profile


113822 posts in 2665 days

#6 posted 06-28-2010 12:18 AM

These are great tools a wonderful job

-- Custom furniture

View gblock66's profile


58 posts in 1994 days

#7 posted 06-28-2010 12:21 AM

I have to buy those tools myself. . . .for the inside and outside of the door. . .on the spice box im making . . .

View mmh's profile


3649 posts in 2810 days

#8 posted 06-28-2010 06:52 AM

I’m sure these beautiful tools will give you many hours of pleasure to create more beautiful pieces.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View lightweightladylefty's profile


2977 posts in 2800 days

#9 posted 06-28-2010 07:02 AM


These are beautiful tools. Could you possibly do a blog on your first project with them? You’re an excellent teacher and we always learn a great deal from your blogs.

Thanks for posting.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Ruben's profile


20 posts in 2218 days

#10 posted 06-28-2010 10:46 AM

There is really something great from making your own tools and then using them. Excellently made! They are beautiful!!


View ajosephg's profile


1874 posts in 2649 days

#11 posted 06-28-2010 01:54 PM

I’ve always wondered how the old timers did this. Here is a good article by Steven Latta.

It’s definately above my pay grade right now!

-- Joe

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2028 days

#12 posted 06-28-2010 09:37 PM

Exquisite work! Some people know I Love tools made by the craftsman! Must tell my friend Toolchap about this…

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View tdv's profile


1139 posts in 2158 days

#13 posted 06-29-2010 01:08 AM

Truly beautifully crafted & far better than buying them. Don’t forget to post the resultant inlay work Les.

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View KayBee's profile


1052 posts in 2334 days

#14 posted 06-29-2010 08:08 AM

Beautiful tools, the kind that just makes you want to do something!

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View michelletwo's profile


2463 posts in 2103 days

#15 posted 06-29-2010 02:09 PM

superb craftmanship..elegant design..they are superb..hopefully they will be a joy to use

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