Swirl Inlay Using Table Saw Jig

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Blog entry by Kerux posted 04-15-2008 12:22 AM 7113 reads 26 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a tutorial on the “Swirl” inlay that I use, but with a twist, this time I made a little jig for the table saw.

As you can see it is a small simple sled. I then took the sled and marked a line of what I thought would be a good angle for most pen blanks. I don’t know what the exact angle is… I just eye balled it. It is more than 45 degree’s of that I’m sure of.

I measure up the blank as seen here so that a little less than half the blank is covered for the cutting. (The blank is pre-cut for length for the pen kit I’m using. In this case and Atlas/Polaris/Patriot.)

I then use a couple of clamps. One for a stop block so that I get the same cut on all sides of the blank and the other to hold the blank in place while being cut.

I use my fence for pushing the sled up against. All I need to do is line up my original cut on the sled. Now just push forward until the blank is cut all the way through. Pull back, rotate the blank and repeat. And this is done until the blank has the cut on all four sides.

Normally I cut a piece of constrasting wood for the inlay and then plane it down. This time I just took some stir sticks, they fit just fine so I went for it. (The only problem was the Paduak faded into the inlay when sanded.)

To glue the inlay in place I used Thick CA then spritzed on some accelerator. And I got this little creature afterwards.

This is what the final blank looks like after cutting off the extra’s and sanding down on the disc sander.

Now, just treat it as you would any other blank that you’ve prepped for a pen. Like I mentioned previously, I used an Atlas/Polaris/Patriot kit. And here it is as it was getting rounded on the lathe.

After shaping, sanding and putting on a CA finish. This is my final product:


23 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4966 days

#1 posted 04-15-2008 12:27 AM

That is darn right clever. Thanks for showing.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4906 days

#2 posted 04-15-2008 12:32 AM


So that is how you make an inlay pen!!! I have seen you post these but never really understood the process. Thanks for the tutorial. I have learned something new today.

Your instructions were concise and to the point and the photos added clarity to the process.

Thank you. I really appreciate it.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 5047 days

#3 posted 04-15-2008 12:59 AM

Wow! It is so simple when there are pictures to explain it. Thanks, that really helps.

-- Berta in NC

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4804 days

#4 posted 04-15-2008 02:37 AM

Thanks for posting this. I’ve got a Laguna lathe that I’m anxiously awaiting for delivery on and this looks like a great project to try it out on.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View SteveKorz's profile


2140 posts in 4798 days

#5 posted 04-15-2008 03:00 AM

That is really cool…

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5411 days

#6 posted 04-15-2008 03:20 AM

you saved me a lot of beating my head against the wall. – and I just got some atlas kits too!
Thanks for this how-to!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 5253 days

#7 posted 04-15-2008 03:35 AM

Thanks. I’m going to put that in my favorites.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View pappyjohn's profile


138 posts in 4797 days

#8 posted 04-15-2008 04:36 AM

Kerux, Simply amazing, and what a great idea. I’m wondering how that technique would work for End Stand Table Legs. Whats your thoughts on it. Very impressive how you’ve utilized the Sled, your saw blade looks familiar. It wouldn’t be a Diablo would it? I look forward for some more of your teaching, I’m one person that agree’s, Never too old to learn, John

-- Your Brother in WoodWorking John, Pittsburgh , PA.

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 4968 days

#9 posted 04-15-2008 05:33 AM


On trying it on something else, never know until you try. I’m going to try it out on a ‘french Rolling pen’ and one of the coffee mug insulator thingys.


View RusticElements's profile


167 posts in 4810 days

#10 posted 04-15-2008 02:17 PM

The education on this site never ends. This is another one for the favorites list.

-- Michael R. Harvey - Brewster, NY - - -

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4969 days

#11 posted 04-15-2008 03:07 PM


-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View romansfivefive's profile


302 posts in 4857 days

#12 posted 04-15-2008 03:33 PM

That is so cool. Thanks. I am going to try that

-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 4968 days

#13 posted 04-17-2008 05:28 AM

Thanks again everyone. I’m going to attempt to work this inlay into a French rollling pen tomorrow. Cherry with a Maple Swirl.


View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4958 days

#14 posted 04-18-2008 02:56 AM

Craaaaaaazy cool, man.

-- Happy woodworking!

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 4817 days

#15 posted 05-03-2008 12:03 AM

Cool! Thanks for sharing! Added to my Favorites.

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

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