How I do inlays

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Blog entry by tyskkvinna posted 05-23-2010 02:34 PM 1529 reads 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a lot of response on this subject, and finally got around to doing a blog discussing the entire process.

So this is the machine that I use. It is a Haas SR-100 sheet router. This could be done with any CNC router/mill, really, this is just what I have.

This is the tooling that I use – V-Cutters from Hersaf. I did a lot of research into v-cutters, because I do a lot of engraving. I was told by several people that Hersaf is the best. I have a set of them and I have to agree – they are absolutely amazing. I’m told by Hersaf that they’ll even cut aluminum but I admit I’m scared! :) You don’t need a CNC machine to use these – they’re intended for cabinetry.

Ok so I cut the design into two pieces of wood. (Sorry I didn’T get photos of the cutting part; I was busy doing other things while it was cutting) The left is walnut, the right is maple. On the walnut I cut the design with a 90-degree cutter, basically as normal. On the maple, I cut the design (reversed) on the outside.

Close-up of the walnut.

Close-up of the maple.

You can see that they line up pretty well.

And then sit on top of each other perfectly.

I fill the walnut piece with glue. (Good ol’ Titebond III) As you can see, I am extremely liberal with the quantity of glue. It’s necessary. I’ve had pieces fail pretty hardcore because I missed a glue spot. Also rather than using a paintbrush I use a stick… years ago I was at a dollar store or something similar and they had bags of 1000 pairs of disposable chopsticks. Somehow I have more than a dozen of these bags, use them all the time,and it will still take me another ten years before I run out. But they’re perfect…

I don’t put any glue on the maple piece – it’s too hard to judge where all the glue is. I suppose I could use some kind of spray method, but this works, is pretty quick, not messy.

Clamp it all together. I try as much as possible to even out the pressure, but I also only put pressure on where the two pieces join. If I clamp on the edges of this design, it will pull the centre out and it won’t work. For this purpose, among others, I prefer to do designs that are fairly even distributed.

After it dried, I cut off the excess maple. (There was a lot – usually I try to pick a thin piece of wood, but eh.

There you go.

This particular one is kind of wonky… thanks to some weird parts on the initial design. When I do a normal v-carving of it, it looks very symmetrical, but it’s not at all. You can see that strongly here.

This is what it looks like when I do a normal carving of it…

also, I kind of messed up by removing too much material. But at that point -what can you do? Nothing.

It’s okay, somebody will love it I’m sure. :)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

10 comments so far

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3264 days

#1 posted 05-23-2010 03:08 PM

Wow Lis,
This is really cool.
I guess CNC can do some wonderful things.
Would have never thought of this myself….
Nice work : )


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4215 days

#2 posted 05-23-2010 03:17 PM

Cool, very cool.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4023 days

#3 posted 05-23-2010 03:38 PM

Simply ingenious! My hats off to your creativity. Thanks!

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 4295 days

#4 posted 05-23-2010 03:54 PM

that’s pretty neat!

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3084 days

#5 posted 05-23-2010 04:09 PM

clever idea I can see why a cnc can have good use to this kind of inlay
where there is so many small pieces
thankĀ“s for sharing


View lew's profile


12019 posts in 3724 days

#6 posted 05-23-2010 04:33 PM

Uber Cool, Lis!!

That is one neat CNC machine.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3546 days

#7 posted 05-23-2010 06:44 PM

A great job impressive results

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18249 posts in 3645 days

#8 posted 05-23-2010 08:12 PM

WOW!! That almost seems like cheating;-)) too easy.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3926 days

#9 posted 05-24-2010 12:30 AM

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 2983 days

#10 posted 06-12-2010 01:12 AM

Hey…I love it! Very creative.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

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