Box Making #3: Inlay veneer dilema

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Blog entry by robscastle posted 11-24-2014 09:28 PM 1763 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: SMIB Lid work/s Part 3 of Box Making series Part 4: EGBs Jewellery box opps, or how not to make a bandsaw box »

Does any LJ understand the method of construction or demonstrate how this Inlay strip is manufactured ?

Joe Lyddon and I have been discussing it and I must admit I was curious about it on the purchase day.

Here is one of the replies Joe and I have been conversing about

I had another look at the inlay veneer strip in an attempt to determine how it was made.
I have a small hand held microscope I used to use for stamps, so using that I found the following Observations:
Obs 1: It is definately all composite material and not photo dye image.

Obs 2: The four outer edges on each side which are black and natural the grain runs length wise.
Obs 3: The alternating same Black and natural boxes next in are individual pieces with the grain now at 90 deg to the strip.

Obs 4: There is then two natural timber very thin strings ls running along the length and the grain as is in Obs 2.

Obs 5: The larger natural colour square blocks are individual and the grain runs along the length of the strip, bounded by the black at a grain orientation of 90 deg difference.

Obs 6: the Aztek or alternating up and across and down again is a composite of black, natural, brown, natural again and edged in black again all layered in six sections cut at 45 deg and the grain follows the pattern in relation to its aspect, Up Across Down.

My conclusions:
1. The section in Obs 2 are two veneer sheets one is 100% dyed black, )this is evident by examining the end grain for penetration), and the other is natural timber both glued together face to face.
The sections in Obs 3 are the same composition only positioned at 90 deg to the first section.
The sectons in Obs 6 are composed of the black section, the strip of very thin section an new introduced brown section, the thin section again borderd by the black again.
This is cut at 45 deg and then alternating in position along the length of the veneer strip.

2. From this I can determine how the strip is composed but as to how it is cut handled and assembled is beyond me, I searched on the net and found similar bigger examples, ( and having made some myself) understand the method but not the physicsal mechanics of the assembly of something this size particuarly the handling of parts so small.

All very interesting !!

-- Regards Rob

4 comments so far

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3273 days

#1 posted 11-24-2014 09:56 PM

Google “making inlay patterns”...98,000 hits for video.
Here's a good one.
Of course this is private manufacturing.
I’m sure the big companies are much more automated.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

608 posts in 3073 days

#2 posted 11-24-2014 11:37 PM

nice work on the inlays.

View Boxguy's profile


2748 posts in 2442 days

#3 posted 11-25-2014 12:00 AM

Rob, the veneer mills in our area do lots of custom work for private jets. It is done by hand and with computer-programed lasers. They can actually spread glue on the sides of veneer and “weld’ long strips together with heat. This one was made with a laser. My guess is that this started as long strips and got assembled or welded together one strip at a time and was laser cut to start with.

-- Big Al in IN

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3128 days

#4 posted 11-25-2014 08:24 PM

Inlay banding is typically laid up of small pieces, glued into a “plank” perhaps three to six inches wide and one to three feet long. The individual inlay bands are then sawn off the plank to produce individual usable strips. Some of these are incredibly intricate.

However, the basic process is not particularly complicated. Steve Latta has produced a couple DVD’s available at I have them and they are very clear and well produced. You may find them helpful. I make nearly all of my own bandings in this way. Hope this helps.


-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

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