Small boxes with inlayed images in lid.

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Project by Jim Finn posted 01-09-2012 06:44 PM 2820 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been making lots of these cedar and oak boxes with images inlayed into the hinged lids .I use a “double bevel inlay” method. Boxes measure 11”x8” x 2 1/2”. I have over 75 different designs I make. 95% are cedar with poplar inlay. I sell these at street fairs and festivals here in West Texas so I do a lot of western stuff. Most popular is the Mason logo and the Methodist logo.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

8 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3778 days

#1 posted 01-09-2012 06:50 PM

Wow these are wonderful examples of inlay.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View shipwright's profile


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#2 posted 01-09-2012 09:46 PM

Nice work. How thick is the material that you are double bevel cutting?

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3471 days

#3 posted 01-09-2012 09:50 PM

Very nice work. Did you make your own templates? What material do you use for them?

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2687 posts in 3123 days

#4 posted 01-09-2012 09:51 PM

3/8” Cedar and 3/8” poplar. Finished thickness > 3/8” What material for the templates? Masonite. I just use a red pencil to mark the outline on the light colored wood. The images with internal lines like this horse head I use carbon paper to mark the poplar.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View BerBer5985's profile


445 posts in 2621 days

#5 posted 01-10-2012 08:21 PM

That Fleur De Lis box is exactly what I want to make for my wife, seeing she’s from Louisiana and all. I’d love to learn how to do inlays. Any good websites with information on how to do this?

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2687 posts in 3123 days

#6 posted 01-10-2012 09:58 PM <<<
...........................................This is just one of the sites that talk about how to do this. You can do a search for “double bevel inlay” or “Double bevel marquetry” and find more.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View woodworkerforchrist's profile


164 posts in 2058 days

#7 posted 11-11-2014 06:24 PM

Amazing work Jim! I have started the 20 keepsake boxes for our kids and grandkids and want to put a cross inlay in lid. If i may ask how do you do yours?I was gonna just stack 2 contrasting woods and cut at bevel and then switch them for 2 lids. There must be more to it though?

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2687 posts in 3123 days

#8 posted 11-11-2014 09:00 PM

You pretty mutch discribed the way to do it. Her is my explanation of the way I do it: I use 3/8” cedar and inlay 3/8” soft maple into it. I also have used oak, walnut, and maple. I have used mahogany a few times also. I have one of my scroll saw table tilted to 2.2 degrees,( approximately), that I use only for inlays. I set that angle with a Wixie but you can also do it by trial and error and it is just as good a way to do it. This is how to get the right angle: Stack the two woods you want to use, (scraps). Tape or hot glue them together. Do some trial cuts starting at 2 degrees and adjusting up until you get the fit needed. Start at the edge and cut out the shape of a mushroom, freehand, and see how it fits. With the table tilted down on the left of the blade and keeping the image you want to inlay to the right of the blade make your mushroom cut and see how well the bottom wood, after doing the cutting, fits into the upper. If it will not go all the way up you need to lessen the angle and if the bottom wood comes up to high you need to sharpen the angle closer to 3 degrees. I move mine about two tenths of a degree at a time. Remember a little too loose a fit is better than too tight a fit. I inlay into cedar mostly and if it is too tight a fit and I try hammering it in place with a plastic hammer I split the cedar. Perfect fit can be attained with many trial and error mushrooms. I leave most of mine just a little loose and fill any slight gaps with a mixture of white glue and sanding powder of the base wood. Cedar in my case. I use Flying Dutchman Polar #5 blades but whatever you use be consistent. I hot glue the wood to be inlaid to the underside of the base wood and draw the image or lettering on the top (base) wood. I drill 1/16” starter hole or holes at six or seven degrees toward the outside of the image with the center of the image to the right of the drill bit. This angle will cause this starter hole to not appear in the final inlay. It enters inside the image on top and exits outside the image on the bottom. After drilling the starter hole just inside the image insert the saw blade and cut the image out keeping the image to the right of the blade. Cut the entire image out, remove the bottom wood scrap and do a dry fit of your image into the base wood. If it fits well enough tape the top image piece to the bottom image piece and cut any interior lines you want in the image in a scroll saw with the table set flat. Make all these interior cuts so that the wood does not fall apart. Keeping “bridges” of wood to hold the image together in one piece. I cut these two images together for two reasons. (1) The internal lines are not drawn on the lower piece and (2) cutting this ¾” thickness gives you more control of your cut. Slows your feed rate down a little. Now apply glue (I use Elmer’s white glue) to the edge of the piece to be inlaid and spread it all along the edge using a small artists’ brush. Insert the inlay from the back side of the base wood and push in place. After glue is set, sand or plane smooth, both sides. Using a mix of white glue and sanding powder (From the base wood, or the inlay wood) and a credit card as a squeegee force it into any slight gaps or cracks in your inlay. Let it dry and sand again. Repeat a few times because the glue mixture will shrink a little. I hope these instructions will help.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

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