Line and berry inlay tools and chest

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Project by DHS posted 195 days ago 1357 views 4 times favorited 5 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

5 comments so far

View Mike Titus's profile

Mike Titus

3 posts in 741 days

#1 posted 195 days ago

Wow! You’ve been busy—nice work!

View SafferinOz's profile


142 posts in 1460 days

#2 posted 194 days ago

Awesome work!

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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14553 posts in 2261 days

#3 posted 194 days ago

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


1720 posts in 776 days

#4 posted 194 days ago

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

1274 posts in 2358 days

#5 posted 192 days ago

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!)

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