Inlay Ideas Needed - pics are posted

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Forum topic by James posted 07-10-2013 06:33 PM 1485 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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127 posts in 1783 days

07-10-2013 06:33 PM

So I am designing this box/tool chest thing. I have an epilog laser engraver/vector cutter at work which I cut a fleur de lis out of some curly maple. My original idea was to vector cut (basic scroll saw work with no human error) the same fleur de lis out of some padauk and just… “drop it in”. Of course! It’s that easy. I’m an idiot. The first was too small or skinny. The burnt wood took off 1/64-1/32 from the drop in so it had gaps which were charred. The second idea was that I’d cut it same size, but add a 5pt white outline to the piece from the curly maple keeping the proportions the same on both pieces, but the drop in would be thicker. Now it’s too thick. And falling apart. Here is what I have. The inlay area is at least 3/32 deep.

So. My options are
1) An all day sanding operation in which I break the drop in piece five more times.
2) Do an epoxy inlay which I have never done.
3) Line it with foil and do a bondo (yes I said bondo) inlay and paint it with the airbrush.
4) I considered lining the drop in area with gold leaf or some type of silver and leaving it embedded.
5) Give up.

Any ideas guys?

-- James - Semper Fi

4 replies so far

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3429 days

#1 posted 07-10-2013 06:56 PM

Don’t give up. That just ain’t right…. Epoxy is really easy to do but, that’s a lot of epoxy to dry. I’ve never done an epoxy inlay that was that deep. I know there is someone here that can give you the right advice. Just don’t give up. And try the epoxy on something so you won’t be intimidated by it. It’s easy….really

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2794 days

#2 posted 07-10-2013 07:13 PM

That’s a big gap. A 2/0 marquetry (saw) blade is only about .01”.
In Boulle style marquetry, where you have no choice but to leave this kerf, we fill with a mastic of glue and an appropriate color of very fine sanding dust. Sometimes you choose the color to hide the gap, sometimes to accentuate it but it can be effective either way.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View James's profile


127 posts in 1783 days

#3 posted 07-10-2013 07:37 PM

I’m thinking with the epoxy is get a good amount of it in the well of the engraving and then just run it through the planer until I’m close enough to employ the belt sander.

The gap idea is done. That was with the last piece that I’ve moved on from. The pics are from the 2nd and last piece I’ll stick in the laser machine. This wood is too nice to waste big 5×5x5/4 hunks of it.

-- James - Semper Fi

View James's profile


127 posts in 1783 days

#4 posted 07-10-2013 08:31 PM

What if I were to just fill it with clear epoxy, maybe lightly sprinkled with a turquoise or red dust and file it smooth. So you could see the engraving, but it would be smooth and flush with the surface of the wood. What do you think?

-- James - Semper Fi

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