Router Inlay Practice - The Compass Rose

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Blog entry by Bob Simmons posted 01-28-2013 05:28 PM 5291 reads 6 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Using a Router for Wood Inlay

Router Inlay Practice

Question: How would you inlay a 2 inch wide compass rose veneer? It has a thickness of 3/32”.

The techniques demonstrated by the woodworker in this woodworking video are basically just for practice. He is simply testing to develop a strategy for when it becomes time to actually inlay the compass rose veneer. Practicing woodworking in the shop is a great idea. It’s a good way to develop confidence in one’s skills and to develop new techniques. Plus, we all know that it is better to make a mistake while practicing rather than to make an error on the actual woodworking project.

Bonus Video...Compass Rose - Woodworking How to Project
... Question: How is the compass rose wood inlay made?

Your questions & comments are welcomed.
... The Apprentice and The Journeyman
.... Learn more, experience more!

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

12 comments so far

View Northwest29's profile


1721 posts in 3989 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 06:11 PM

Greetings Bob – Another well done and informative video, again my thanks for your time and effort. Very cleaver adaptation for using the Foredom tool too. I’m just going to have to make some time for this type of small work.

-- Ron, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View DouginVa's profile


503 posts in 3772 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 11:02 PM

Some observations: I think sanding the mating surfaces of the two halves flat (at the 3:51 mark on the video) before attempting to glue em up would of helped with the next glue up. I noticed that they were not seating flat against each other, there was some rocking.

Those were some nice jigs for cutting small pieces and the glue ups look tricky. I don’t think I would of had a better solution.

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View shipwright's profile


8822 posts in 4297 days

#3 posted 01-29-2013 12:14 AM

To answer the question posed:
1) I would use a scroll-cut pattern and an overhead pin router. I built this one some time ago very quickly and cheaply. It would be much easier and less risky than the method shown in the video.
2) If the base piece was too large I would use an inlay bushing and again a pattern that covered the “good side” of the cut.

The method shown works but it seems to me to be labor intensive and depends solely on a steady hand to protect the “good side”. It would be a shame to ruin the background piece .

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

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 4513 days

#4 posted 01-29-2013 01:19 AM

When you get the time you’ll enjoy it. Thanks for watching.

It sounds like you are suggesting to let the glue of the two halves dry and then sand them prior to joining them. Actually, all the segment joints lined up pretty well for the finished compass rose.

Obviously, it would be a shame for any woodworker to ruin a background piece. As you well know, that’s the importance of practice and developing a strategy for the woodworking project in advance.

The reason I posed the following question “How would you inlay a 2 inch wide compass rose veneer?” is to share ideas and methods. There’s a variety of ways that the mortise for the wood inlay can be made. For me, the method that I have shared in the video got the job done. Again, it’s only practice. The method that I will use for my finished woodworking project will have evolved from this practice.

Thanks for sharing your pin router technique. It looks like you are able to use it well with templates. Just a bit of hand work with a chisel that would be required to finish off the points of a compass rose.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24960 posts in 5175 days

#5 posted 01-29-2013 04:50 AM

Well done interesting video. Thanks for posting these.

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

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3974 days

#6 posted 01-29-2013 06:34 AM

Thanks Bob, another great video.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View oldnovice's profile


7791 posts in 4867 days

#7 posted 01-29-2013 07:13 AM

It was fun to watch!

I would make a router template to make the inlay cutting process less nerve raking and clean out the very sharp corners with a chisel. One over cut with the free hand router and start over, get a bigger rose, or filler! It would be my luck that I woul overcut on the very last cut!

I saw David Marks do an inlay in one of his TV episodes when he was still on DIY or PBS! Doing it freehand would make me very nervous but is case it was a one time design and a template would be overkill!

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 4513 days

#8 posted 01-29-2013 03:29 PM

Thanks for the feedback & thanks for your interest.

Jorge G. ...
Thanks for your continued support.

You bring up some interesting points. The challenge of working freehand is the challenge of staying within the lines. Obviously, there are many ways to create the mortise. Whichever way one decides to create the mortise, it all comes down to skills.
Thanks for watching & commenting.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3974 days

#9 posted 01-29-2013 04:03 PM

Jorge G. ...
Thanks for your continued support.

Are you kidding? Thank YOU for your continued teaching me how to do things. I wish you had an e mail subscription button so I would get an e mail every time you post a new video, as I have your web site bookmarked.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 4513 days

#10 posted 01-29-2013 04:52 PM

Jorge G. ...

That’s a great compliment and much appreciated. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to my YouTube Woodworking channel. That way you can stay current with all the latest videos.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4575 days

#11 posted 02-03-2013 03:43 PM

Another fine collection of videos Bob! Thanks for sharing… Very much enjoyed watching.

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Bob Simmons's profile

Bob Simmons

505 posts in 4513 days

#12 posted 02-03-2013 05:02 PM

Dan…Always great to see you. Thanks for taking the time to watch the video and share a few words.

-- Bob Simmons, Las Vegas, NV,

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