Routing Circles #1: Routing inlays

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Blog entry by Lee A. Jesberger posted 05-13-2011 03:14 AM 13117 reads 4 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Hi all;

Recently I needed to cut some wenge veneer to inlay into a Demilune table. The table is part of a private veneer course I’m teaching, and will be included in either an e-book, or a printed book. The fellow is writting it as I’m teaching, taking pictures as we go. One of the projects in the book has an wenge inlay.

If you’ve ever worked with wenge, you know it’s a bit of a nasty wood to work with. Cutting it with a knife is difficult, as the wood tends to split. Since I’m doing a 1/4” wide inlay on a half round, and my usual tools weren’t working out too well I had to come up with a different way.

I got to thinking a router would be a good way to go. I decided to make use of a Dremel set I got a few years back, since it was small and easily managed. It did have an edge quide, which doubled as a circle cutter but it was a bit cumbersome to use.

I decided to make an adapter to fit the base of the router, using a piece of 1” thick lexan. I threaded it to accept a Veritas compass beam.

The compass beam is very nice, and will making circles as small as 1”, and as large as 40”, with the pieces that come with it. It has small sections of rod that screw together allowing different lengths.

Using a jig and laminate trimmer, I routed a ledge to sit on the router base, giving it a bit more stability.

Then I drilled and tapped the edge for the compass beam.

I then mounted it to an existing hole on the base of the router. The lexan fits tightly against a piece in the casting, so it doesn’t pivot. I’m happy to say it was worth the effort, as it worked quite well.

The woods are Figured Black Limba, Swiss Pear, and Wenge

Thanks for looking.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

34 comments so far

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4303 days

#1 posted 05-13-2011 03:17 AM

saweeeeeeeeeet looking table.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4759 days

#2 posted 05-13-2011 03:29 AM

Thanks for the tutorial, Lee. That’s a nice adapter for the router. I guess most of what I know about veneering, I learned from you. Beautiful table. Thanks for the post.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14189 posts in 4998 days

#3 posted 05-13-2011 03:34 AM

very nice. the colors work very well together.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View shipwright's profile


8678 posts in 3813 days

#4 posted 05-13-2011 03:46 AM

Nice work Lee.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

412 posts in 4847 days

#5 posted 05-13-2011 03:58 AM

Absolutely beautiful work, Lee. Thanks for sharing!

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View savannah505's profile


1868 posts in 4601 days

#6 posted 05-13-2011 04:04 AM

You know I love your work Lee, this is no exception, how are you, I need to call and say hi. It’s been awhile.

-- Dan Wiggins

View Karson's profile


35270 posts in 5415 days

#7 posted 05-13-2011 04:38 AM

Lee Beautiful and a great jig tip.

You da man!!

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 4866 days

#8 posted 05-13-2011 05:00 AM

Lee, there is nothing like a great jig that works well. An excellent result on the table buddy.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4318 days

#9 posted 05-13-2011 05:07 AM

oh come on lee, couldnt ya just slap this table together…ha..great job and a great way to figure out your inlay…its a beautiful table…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5233 days

#10 posted 05-13-2011 05:09 AM

Great idea, Lee, and stunning work as always.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 4381 days

#11 posted 05-13-2011 05:16 AM

Thanks for the information about the technique, the adapter, and the compass beam. All very useful. The table is pretty great too. Nice job!

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5003 days

#12 posted 05-13-2011 05:17 AM

More than one way to skin a cat, huh?

Great looking table. Swiss pear is a great wood to work with, isn’t it? I wish I could afford it to use it all the time.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3949 days

#13 posted 05-13-2011 06:35 AM

Great looking table. Very nice work.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View patron's profile


13716 posts in 4356 days

#14 posted 05-13-2011 06:42 AM

excellent work as always lee

and a great trammel
and adaption for it

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3935 days

#15 posted 05-13-2011 11:06 AM

As everyone said, it is certainly a beautiful table. Thanks so much for the tutorial on how you accomplished it. It is absolutely gorgeous! Your work is always top notch!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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