Line and berry inlay tools and chest

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Project by DHS posted 12-29-2013 08:58 PM 2234 views 4 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This sapele chest that I built as a Christmas present needed some panache. So, inspired by the cool line-and-berry tools built by fellow lumberjocks (Jon3, Les Hastings, and others), I too shamelessly copied the Lie-Nielsen line-and-berry inlay tool set and used it to create a compass pattern on the chest lid. I purchased the blades for the tools from Lie-Nielsen because I could not tell exactly what they looked like from the photos on their web page.

I used a compass and straigiht edge to lay out the design and then carved the narrow grooves using the radius cutter and straight-line cutter. I purchased some holly from a local dealer (Wow, that stuff is pricey!) and, after slicing off some thin ribbons using the table saw, I cut them into strings using the slicing gauge. The thicknessing gauge worked reasonably well for bringing the strings to their final thickness, but I found it easier to just use a block plane. To bend the holly strings so they would fit into the curved grooves I used a soldering iron with a copper pipe slipped over the iron. The soldering iron by itself was too hot and burned the holly, but it worked great with the pipe over the top. I used birch dowel for the “berries”. After all the glue dried, I hand planed the lid with my new (vintage) Stanley bedrock 604 (purchased recently on ebay). What a great smoothing plane.

The chest itself is dovetailed and sparingly finished with a couple thin coats of blonde shellac and paste wax.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

6 comments so far

View Mike Titus's profile

Mike Titus

3 posts in 973 days

#1 posted 12-29-2013 09:08 PM

Wow! You’ve been busy—nice work!

View SafferinOz's profile


152 posts in 1692 days

#2 posted 12-30-2013 12:41 AM

Awesome work!

-- Stephen, Perth Western Australia, My inspiration – the Carpenter from Nazareth!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


15420 posts in 2493 days

#3 posted 12-30-2013 01:05 AM

Very nice work!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Oldtool's profile


1984 posts in 1008 days

#4 posted 12-30-2013 02:03 AM

Fantastic work on the inlay, great looking lid.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1284 posts in 2590 days

#5 posted 01-01-2014 01:13 AM

Awesome Dave! Great looking tools and box! Kinda fun making your tools isn’t it?

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

View michelletwo's profile


2325 posts in 1833 days

#6 posted 08-12-2014 09:31 AM

tools and the stringing? WOW! the box looks great & the tools too!

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