|Project by Douglas||posted 12-30-2013 12:46 AM||1414 views||4 times favorited||7 comments|
I had wanted to try my hand at doing simple inlay, and had a few pieces of 4/4 walnut lying around that I thought would be a good candidate for the experiment. Also, we had a need for a place to put serving dishes, hot things, and salt & pepper sets, etc, on the kitchen table I finished this summer. So the idea for this simple project was born.
I started with the design, a simple cluster of ginkgo leaves…
I printed out the image, made a master on tracing paper, and then transferred the various shapes to my inlay material with carbon paper. What was not so simple was trying to cut out the ginkgo shape with bench chisels, or even a few carving gouges. And I don’t have a chevalet. I opted instead to try it out on a newly acquired tool, a scroll saw that I bought from my woodworking pal David…
... it’s an old dog, nothing fancy, but after cleaning it up, trying out a few blades and tweaking its setting, it worked pretty well.
For the inlay materials, I used curly maple (leaves), elm (stems), and poplar (branch). And for cutting out the shape in the walnut, I used a plunge router with either a 1/8” straight bit, or a tiny 1/16” straight bit. I also used caving tools to tidy things up as needed. The whole exercise was a lesson in patience, and learning how much hand-eye coordination I needed to acquire for this sort of thing.
After the first attempt, I stopped at the leaves, realizing this pass was a wipeout. So I flipped the board over, and went at it again, and got much better results…
... not perfect, but acceptable. After that, I made a simple base, and applied oil, then blonde shellac and some spray lacquer. Finally, I used an old lazy susan hardware ring that was laying around, and voila.
This was a simple throwaway project where failure was probable, and a good “skill builder” to try a new technique. I’m now much more confident that I could apply this to something bigger or more prominent in the future. Definitely a lot of fun, and I’m happy that I got to terms with the scroll saw. Luckily, it turned out well.
Just another reminder that there are a million branches and rabbit holes in the world of woodworking, and you can (and should) get lost easily following new technique and methods.