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Cross Grain Veneer/Inlay

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Forum topic by Walnut_Weasel posted 03-08-2010 05:36 PM 2650 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Walnut_Weasel

360 posts in 2682 days


03-08-2010 05:36 PM

I have a few general questions for the Jocks about veneering and inlaying.

I have begun making an end table and I was thinking about putting some inlay about an inch or so in from the outside edges of the top around all 4 sides. I am concerned that when running the strips across the grain that the inlays may crack/split. Is this something I should think about in the design of the top or will the glue allow for enough movement? What about with thicker “home-made” veneer that is 1/16”? If so could this be prevented using hide glue? The top of this table is only going to be about 20” square but what about larger tops for something like a kitchen table?

-- James - www.walnutweasel.wordpress.com


4 replies so far

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Tony_S

605 posts in 2543 days


#1 posted 03-09-2010 02:40 AM

The only safe way to do it would be to cross grain the inlay it’s self in those sections as well. That way, the inlay will move with the top.
If you run it against the grain of the top a few things could happen. It could crack….it could work loose….the miters (if you use miters in the corners) could open up….or, all the above….or, nothing at all. Ive done it on a few different occasions and unless it’s a short run, maybe 8 to 10 inches max, you’ll run into problems IME.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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JuniorJoiner

463 posts in 2900 days


#2 posted 03-09-2010 03:07 AM

inlay in a solid wood top is usually a bad idea. even if the top was ripped, jointed and glued back together in the same orientation, it would be better, as some of the stress is relieved.
I don’t think I have ever seen an antique with inlay in a solid wood top, always veneer.

If you can make “home-made” veneer, why not do a veneered top. it is actually quite satisfying to have made the lumbercore material and crossbanded it yourself. you know it is flat and never going to move. which gives you many more options for veneer decoration.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

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Tony_S

605 posts in 2543 days


#3 posted 03-09-2010 05:01 AM

Ok…

In my original post I kind of opted for the ‘better safe than sorry’ answer.
There is a way it can be done RELATIVELY safely with a solid top….lots of work though. I do a fair amount of inlay work in stair treads, landing etc. We try to stay away from ‘cross grain’ inlays, but inevitably…you get customers who won’t take no for an answer….and have more money than they know what to do with.

Check out my blog….
http://lumberjocks.com/Tony_S/blog/14293

There are a couple of inlays that travel across the grain in the landing, and in the first tread of the stair. The tread and landing are both 1 1/2” thick Santos Mahogany. BUT….the 1 1/2” is composed of two 3/4” layers EPOXIED with the grain of each layer running perpendicular to the other. The inlay itself is a full 3/8” thick (Curly Maple), and it’s EPOXIED in as well. Ive done it this way for quite a few years and never had issues yet.

Here’s another example….

This inlay…there was actually two of them in the house…was done to hide another company’s shoddy work. They were glued up in the shop in one massive piece 3/4” thick…but again, in two layers 3/8” thick, all grain running perpendicular….and again, with Epoxy only.

http://i720.photobucket.com/albums/ww202/Tony_S_photos/Franks009.jpg

http://i720.photobucket.com/albums/ww202/Tony_S_photos/Franks010.jpg

http://i720.photobucket.com/albums/ww202/Tony_S_photos/Franks011.jpg

So…never say never, but understand it’s a WHOLE lot of work just for a simple inlay.

I also agree with Junior….Veneer IS better (easier) but unfortunately Veneer doesn’t work very well on surfaces you walk on…

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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Walnut_Weasel

360 posts in 2682 days


#4 posted 03-09-2010 04:11 PM

Wow! Nice work Tony!

Thanks for the suggestions. I ran across an article last night that suggested breaking up the inlay into smaller segments to minimize the movement of each piece of the inlay. I was thinking I could divide the strip in half and put a small design of some sort in between to reduce the strips to less than 10” each.

-- James - www.walnutweasel.wordpress.com

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