Help With How To On A Holy Cross Inlay

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Forum topic by Blackie_ posted 07-14-2013 04:14 PM 4197 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4883 posts in 2535 days

07-14-2013 04:14 PM

I’m commissioned to build a box for a customers nephew, he is going through a spiritual event at his church and she wants to present him with a box, she requested that she wants a cross on top of the box along with his initials on the inside. I’ve already done one box from her for the brother only I glued the cross on top of the hinged lid only it was not an inlay, I’m wanting to make this second box with the cross inlayed on top.

I was hoping someone would be able to instruct me what I need how to do it, I currently have in my inventory a Dewalt Trim Router, a Ryobi 1/4” and a portal cable 1/2 mounted in the table.


-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

11 replies so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20589 posts in 3128 days

#1 posted 07-14-2013 04:50 PM

Hi Randy. I bought an inlay kit from MCLS ( Kit# 9177 $22 and no tax or shipping) and it works great. I used it for the alien cutting boards but I went further to make the inlay a compete- all the way through- insert.
You should really use a plunge router to be able to come down at a precise spot and lift straight up also. You get a bushing with a 1/4” round diameter and use a 1/8” bit. The 1/4” bushing makes the inserted piece. Then there is a 1/2” bushing that grabs onto the smaller bushing by means of an internal O ring . The 1/2” bushing is used to cut the hole for the insert.. They sell plastic templates, but I always make my own. The template has to be a little thicker than the amount the bushing sticks out of your router base so the bushing does not rub on the part.
Oh, and for a cross, you have to be careful – especially on the inside corners – to hold the bushing right to the template around the corner and never go wide, that will ruin the insert and cut off material that has to fit in the mating part

Before you start cutting, you need a means to hold the part and template solid. They cannot move with respect to each other during the cutting process. Many use double faced tape. I try to make them both big with wings glued on so I can use screws to join the template to the part and then cut off the waste when I get finished.

I hope this helps. You’ll find it opens a new world of designing when it comes to wood working!!

cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View DocSavage45's profile


8589 posts in 2865 days

#2 posted 07-14-2013 05:36 PM

How deep are you going? Will it just be an inlay or will it be more intarsia? How large a cross on how big a lid?

Jim’s approach would give you a template. And it would be easier in many ways than making your own template.

There are you tube videos for things like bow ties for anchoring splits in expensive woods.

It takes some practice. I attempted to make my own out of Masonite and chewed up my bushing. Bought some new bushings from porter cable to go with my porter cable router.

Another thought? set up your router fence w stop blocks for start and finish. make two cuts each pass ( for depth).. If the inlay is wider than your bit do two passes.

Do this for each direction of the cross. Oh yeah make some prototypes out of the scrap box. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2535 days

#3 posted 07-14-2013 08:46 PM

Thanks Jim and Thomas

Jim So without the kit then all I’d need would be a brass bushing, brass template guide and brass retainer nut to fit my router along A 1/8” downcut solid carbide spiral bit and I make my own templet ? Only I don’t have a plunge outside of the one that’s already mounted in the table.

Thomas The lid is 11” x 6 1/2”, I was thinking of a depth of 3/16 with the cross being between 2 1/2” – 3” in length, Inlay only.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 1987 days

#4 posted 07-14-2013 09:12 PM

Take a look at the project I posted.

I used a bushing, plywood template, and a 1/8” spiral bit to create the inset for the cross. The cross itself is made of 4 pieces, mitered to the center.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View Boxguy's profile


2680 posts in 2290 days

#5 posted 07-15-2013 05:37 AM

Blackie, try this. Make a box with an inset top. Divide the inset into thirds. Take the middle third and cut a dado down the middle that goes about half way through the top board. Now put a route about 2/3s up the top board at 90 degrees. Insert a tight fitting contrasting wood into the dado. The cross is made. Reassemble the three panel top and glue together on the edges. Sand it smooth and insert it into the box. Cross proportions: each short arm is 2 inches. The long arm is 4.

In pictures:

The lay out

Where the inserts will go

Top divided and inserts glued in

Sides of top into a HMD cull to hold while gluing.

apply light clamp to top in culls. Glue the top back together and put a clamp at ends and apply tight pressure.

jig for cutting left and right slants

Inserts in the jig

The eight sides at the center of the cross should now be joined and ready for sanding as should the whole top assembly. This is easy to do and makes an impressive box top. This is ebony in anagary.

-- Big Al in IN

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2716 days

#6 posted 07-15-2013 10:33 AM

Ah now here is a case that there are many ways to do the same job and I can’t wait to see them all. This could be very interesting.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2535 days

#7 posted 07-15-2013 12:30 PM

Big Al I like this method, and will keep this favored not sure can use this method on this project as I had already glued the top to box and have separated it already before your post but I like what you posted and thanks

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2535 days

#8 posted 07-15-2013 05:58 PM

Well Ok after reading everyone’s comments and a trip out to woodcraft it appears I don’t have the right equipment starting with what Jim said I would need a plunge router in which I don’t have, if I’d asked this question before I had the box complete I would have been able to use Big Al’s method so as it stands now I’m just going to toss the inlay idea make the cross with a 1/4” thickness and glue it to the surface. I’ll look into a 1/4” plunge router at a later date, I want to thank you all, very helpful and informative.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2958 days

#9 posted 07-15-2013 06:10 PM

Check out the cross in this box I made. I think I have a extra cross I could send you. You would just have to create the pocket for the cross. If you are careful you could use a fixed base router and lean the bit into the wood. It’s only 1/8” deep.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2535 days

#10 posted 07-15-2013 07:38 PM

Thanks Chuck, that is just what I was looking for and doing, thanks for the offer to send the cross, I’m prob going to make several of difference sizes so no need for that but I do appreciate it.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2657 posts in 2945 days

#11 posted 07-15-2013 09:59 PM

Have you considered “double bevel inlay”? Here is an example of one of the hundreds I do every year. The cutting of the inlay takes about five minutes. Building the box a lot longer.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

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