Handcut Endgrain Inlay

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Blog entry by SPalm posted 01-18-2010 06:32 AM 20927 reads 40 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is so stolen from Geoffrey Noden of the AdjustABench. He demo’ed this at the Wood Show and Karson blogged about it. I thought it was pretty cool, and since it is not on the market yet, I thought I would make my own.

Not sure what I was doing, I made what looks like a paper cutter. The arm rides between two longer sides to keep it stable and square. It is about two feet long. The cutter bar is hinged with a bolt so that it is level when it is 3/4 of an inch above the base. This lets the cutter strike while it is level. Thinking that I wanted it strong and adaptable, I used bolts for the cutter mechanism so I could adjust it for tightness.

I made custom cutters buy sawing apart small blocks with S-curves and gluing them back together with double edged razor blades between them. These blocks are 3 inches long and 2 inches tall. The blades are 1.5 inches tall. I cut mine on the bandsaw. A scrollsaw would be a better choice but I had trouble cutting these with mine. I just went with what worked. I let the blade extend about 1/8 inch from the block. A note to be careful cleaning up glue squeeze out.

Then I mounted these blocks on the end of the cutter arm.

I chose 3/4 inch for the width of the inlay because I had a router bit and some stock that wide. I did the stock prep and started crosscutting strips to use. I started at 1/8 inch, reduced it to 3/32 inch, and ended up cutting 1/16 inch strips. This takes a very sharp blade. I used a high tooth blade without much set.

I added a stop block clamp so I could do repetitive width cuts if I want to. I used a poplar block with a dado to keep the strip steady and supply a soft landing pad for the blade.

Here you can see some of the strips that I will keep for a rainy day, and some test cuts.

Here I tried some repetitive cuts in some cherry.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

23 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5859 days

#1 posted 01-18-2010 06:40 AM

Cool: A great start. I didn’t see how you held your cutter straight to get the repetive cuts with the same shape.

-- 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 Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5859 days

#2 posted 01-18-2010 06:40 AM

excuse me first picture.

Did the blades bend easily?

-- 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 SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5341 days

#3 posted 01-18-2010 06:48 AM

Yes they did bend, especially in the beginning. That is why I ended up with 1/16 inch stock. The 3/32 was a little stout. It also greatly depends on the wood being cut. The Spanish ceder cut really clean, but the hard maple was…. hard.

I started with blades from disposable razors, because I could not find double edge blades. These were small and cheap.

The new blades with good wood choice and care works pretty well.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5036 days

#4 posted 01-18-2010 06:49 AM

View degoose's profile


7287 posts in 4813 days

#5 posted 01-18-2010 07:44 AM

I saw the original post by Karson… now I see this… it is as easy as I thought it would be… bl**dy marvelous..

-- Be safe.

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4889 days

#6 posted 01-18-2010 09:08 AM

Fantastic. I was hopeing to get more info after seeing what Karson had showed us. Might have to try this myself. Problem is my to-do list is allready way to long.

Thanks for the detailed info.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 4523 days

#7 posted 01-18-2010 11:55 AM

My list is way to long also. Way (well not to long) I quess to many things I want to start doing. Just dont know what to do next.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View bigike's profile


4059 posts in 4747 days

#8 posted 01-18-2010 02:02 PM

good job. so u stack a couple razors inbetween wood blocks with the shape cut on them to get the cutter shape?

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

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 4784 days

#9 posted 01-18-2010 02:08 PM

You people and your jigs are so impressive…

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5341 days

#10 posted 01-18-2010 02:22 PM

Ike, No, only one razor blade installed at a time. Each razor blade has its own profile. The toggle clamp is used as a stop block. You make one cut through a new strip. Slide the left side over a little bit, and lock down the clamp. Now slide the right side to the left stop block and recut. Remove the small cut part, slide the right to the stop block, .....


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View SteveMI's profile


1175 posts in 4753 days

#11 posted 01-18-2010 03:01 PM

I would have never thought to try bending a razor blade!! These are just miniature steel rule dies.

Are you just letting the arm fall to cut or do you have to put pressure afterward to complete the cut?


-- Being sawdust or first surface awe are dependent on the tool kerf

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5341 days

#12 posted 01-18-2010 03:24 PM

Hey Steve,

Exactly, they are just little dies. Pretty cool, me thinks. I tried for a while to use 1/4” copper tubing for circles, but I need to experiment more.

I have to apply a little downward pressure. It then snaps as it cuts through the piece. It greatly depends on the wood. If I have to press too hard, it will destroy the blade. It is chopping through endgrain, so it is not as hard as you might think. The example in cherry above is 1/8” thick.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 4730 days

#13 posted 01-18-2010 05:59 PM

I love the concept – Great Idea.

Thank you for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View mgb_2x's profile


181 posts in 4528 days

#14 posted 01-19-2010 01:13 AM

Wow really cool technique, could add a nice touch to some of my plain boxes.

-- "aim small miss small" m g breedlove

View calvin's profile


1 post in 4452 days

#15 posted 03-16-2010 10:39 PM

Nice job SPalm. Too bad you couldn’t support the guy that designed this thing. I met Noden in Somerset NJ and he’s a hard working guy that has all his parts made locally and assembles them himself. The retail price of this product will be less than $200.00 from what I understand, which seems pretty reasonable. Does your “copy” have repeatability when it comes time to make the same design? How accurate is it? How user friendly is it? Is it durable? I’ve always tried to support folks who work hard to come up with innovative new products. At least you gave a plug to the brains behind the product. Carry on.


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