Inlay - how to make and use a crow's foot

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Forum topic by pauls posted 05-16-2010 05:39 PM 2109 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 3651 days

05-16-2010 05:39 PM

I just read The Art of Wood Inlay by George Stevens and he lists a Crow’s Foot as one of the needed tools for doing inlay work and shows a photo of one but he does not go into ANY detail about how you make one or how to use it. Can anyone shed some light on the topic of making and using a crow’s foot or recommend a better book that provides more detailed instructions for inlay techniques? His book is good on showing some projects and gives some general instructions but it lacks in giving detailed insturctions for beginners.

-- PS. "Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours." R. Bach

4 replies so far

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30 posts in 3651 days

#1 posted 05-16-2010 07:01 PM

Hi Skarp, Thanks, however, a photo in the book shows a much more complex design with 3 different size holes in it, and it has several curved edges. One example shows him using one of the holes as a guide to file a slight bevel on an inlay piece. I am sure someone with more experince than me can probably figure it all out but I am new at this and need more “how-to” directions.

-- PS. "Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours." R. Bach

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4260 days

#2 posted 05-16-2010 07:04 PM

I’ve more often seen it described as a ‘birds’ mouth’ jig. It often has a small hole drilled about six inches form one end, then the two V-cuts lead to each side of the hole. You can clamp it to a table/bench top, or firmly attach it to a vertical cross-piece and set that into the bench’s face vise or end vise. That way you can elevate the height to what is comfortable, too. The idea is to fully support a rather thin work piece while hand sawing its shape. You simply (!) learn to move the work piece on top of the birds’ mouth as you saw, moving the saw blade to the center hole when you want to deftly spin the work piece around a cutting corner. Takes a little practice to do it well, but works just dandy.
If the author elaborated on his jig, he probably beveled one hole about two to three degrees to guide the angle of his saw cut, this ensuring when the inlay is set in to its base piece, it would ride proud by a little bit and could be sanded flat without any gaps.


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30 posts in 3651 days

#3 posted 05-18-2010 02:17 AM

Barbs and Skarp, Thanks to both of you for some great info and help. I really appreciate it and is a good starting point. I am also attempting to contact the author to see if he is willing to share more details.
I am looking forward to getting started and move beyond just doing simple shape inlays.

-- PS. "Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours." R. Bach

View rance's profile


4264 posts in 3335 days

#4 posted 05-18-2010 07:43 PM

I tried googling and couldn’t find anything useful to show me a decent picture or how to use one. But I’m also interested. Thanks for asking, hope to see an answer also.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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