Woodworking projects under way. #20: Attempted router inlay fail. Retry, fail again, get a cup of tea...

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 09-19-2011 10:55 PM 8714 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 19: The inlay set has arrived. Pattern laid out and cut for the template. Part 20 of Woodworking projects under way. series Part 21: Not exactly fine woodworking. The water heater stand. »

My weekend was nothing more than a source of woodworking frustration. I knew better, but I did it anyway, tried a new to me technique on some nice curly maple instead of dirt cheap scrap oak…

Router inlay is completely new to me, and something I wanted to do. I am working on an urn for my beloved Labrador Retriever Deacon, and I wanted to inlay some dog inspired patterns, as well as cut in a recess where I can clear epoxy in his last ID tag and shots tags. He was one of those dogs that did NOT want you to take his collar off. I guess he felt naked without it… So I want it with him…

Anyway, thankfully I didn’t ruin the walnut yet…

Attempt #1. Tape template down with carpet tape. My template mind you is made from tempered hardboard, and I tried taping to the textured side. This was an epic fail as the tape allowed the template to move.

Attempt #2. Move template, hold down with clamps, and try again. I knew better, but I went counter clockwise anyway, should I have been shocked when the bit started walking inside the template?

Solution to this problem, practice practice practice on cheap oak and / or pine until I get the technique down, THEN move on to the nice maple…

Oh well, I know better, but sometimes I just don’t do better. When will I ever learn?!

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4 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3618 days

#1 posted 09-19-2011 11:12 PM

Free hand routing, with or without a template, has got to be an art. Isn’t there a tutorial here on inlays? Seems to me, someone did one a year or so ago, a gal….......maybe it would give you some ideas.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5772 posts in 3686 days

#2 posted 09-19-2011 11:16 PM

That’s the thing. I was following a Fine Woodworking tutorial on inlays (hence the carpet tape). The results were less than stellar…

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View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3618 days

#3 posted 09-19-2011 11:53 PM

Hmmm. Here is a mother of pearl inlay tutorial by Autumn, what I remembered:

Just thought you might get some ideas or hints. She uses a Dremel in a stand, I believe, which is not what you are doing. Wonder if you have too much router for the fineness of the work?

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2955 days

#4 posted 09-20-2011 03:45 AM

There is also this tutorial by TheWoodWhisperer on doing inlays freehand with a router. It’s long, but quite useful.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

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