Lazy Susan with Inlay

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Project by Douglas posted 12-30-2013 12:46 AM 2041 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

7 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5819 posts in 3053 days

#1 posted 12-30-2013 01:38 AM

Great looking inlay. I like the varied colors of the ginko leaves, stems and branch.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8542 posts in 2222 days

#2 posted 12-30-2013 02:01 AM

Well, well, well….trying to leave me in the dust are ya? I thought we were buds…lol.

Good job man. That must have taken some patience.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View shipwright's profile


8187 posts in 3038 days

#3 posted 12-30-2013 02:12 AM

Looks pretty good to me. If you want to build a chevalet, it’s not hard and they are an amazing tool.
I have a couple of construction blogs and a sketchup if you are interested. Start here.

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

View Steve Kreins's profile

Steve Kreins

358 posts in 1870 days

#4 posted 12-30-2013 02:35 AM


-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3265 days

#5 posted 12-30-2013 07:42 AM

Looks great!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2800 days

#6 posted 12-31-2013 03:37 AM

Thanks for the comments.

Red – hardly, mr blanket chest!

Paul – I’m trying to reconcile “it’s not that hard” with your chevalet build … Come on! That looks very cool, but I’d have nowhere to put it.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View majuvla's profile


13620 posts in 3107 days

#7 posted 01-01-2014 07:00 PM

Looks very ellegant!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

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