Masking off inlay

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Forum topic by Samwise posted 07-12-2011 06:51 AM 2979 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Samwise's profile


45 posts in 2616 days

07-12-2011 06:51 AM

Alright guys, here’s the deal. This is my first commissioned piece, and also my first venture into router based inlay. The customer wanted the Cherry of the table to be stained dark to match the rest of his office. I stained the table first, and then placed the inlay. I then proceeded to sand the Curly Maple inlay down flush with the table, which was very tedious.

I then very delicately stained the inlay and sanded again, in order to pop the grain. During the last sanding process, I got into the stain on the main table. I tried (knowing it wouldn’t work) to ‘patch’ the dark stain, but am now thinking I need to sand down the top and re-stain the table top. I am happy with the way the inlay turned out, I just now need to salvage the stain on the top. It was very complicated and I don’t want to have to start over.

If I go that route, the question comes up on how to mask off the inlay so the dark stain doesn’t bleed through. If I can find a good way to mask it off, it will help save this piece and be a lesson learned for the future. Any help will be appreciated. I am including a picture for reference.

-- Sam

3 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10401 posts in 3648 days

#1 posted 07-12-2011 06:58 AM

well, tape obviously. Sometimes I’ve used cyanoacrylate glue to
block colors. In working with guitars with ebony binding the black
ebony dust can embed in the soft white spruce. Mostly I try to
scrape with razor blades rather than sand in such situations, but
in the end a bit of sanding is often needed. Just go carefully and
use auto masking tape, it’s sold for pin-striping in stores that sell
car paint.

You can seal or even lacquer the inlaid area, scrape the sealer off
the area you want to stain, sand carefully, then stain. It can
be harrowing to get this sort of thing right.

View Samwise's profile


45 posts in 2616 days

#2 posted 07-12-2011 07:06 AM

My issue with using tape is that the stain is thinned down, so I am worried that tape will not hold up to the thinner in the stain.

Using CA is interesting, or laquer. Thanks for the feedback.

-- Sam

View joey's profile


396 posts in 3904 days

#3 posted 07-12-2011 07:30 AM

I paint with water colors and I was kicking around the idea of using the mask that you use in watercolor painting to mask off a area on wood then staining with different colors and then removing the mask and seeing how that would work? the mask is like a rubber cement that temp seals an area but comes off easily with a little rubbing. I don’t know if that would work for your problem, but it might be something to think about

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

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