Trio of veneered boxes #3: Personalization

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Blog entry by jmartel posted 11-21-2014 04:51 AM 2455 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: More veneer work in the Kitchen Part 3 of Trio of veneered boxes series Part 4: Starting of the box carcasses »

Next up on the veneer work was to inlay initials into the veneer that will go underneath the lid. I was able to get 2 of the 3 letters done tonight. Here’s a little how-to on how I accomplish this.

First, I print a template, and tape it to the veneer that I want to cut. I spend a few minutes trying to figure out the best grain orientation before taping it down. For the Walnut burled boxes I am using straight grained Walnut for the letter.

Sometimes I also put a full layer of tape down below the paper as well to try and prevent it from cracking as well.

I trace around the entire perimeter of the letter, making sure that I was actually getting good lines but not going all the way through. When I am finished, I remove the paper template.

From there, it’s just going back over all of the lines and cutting it completely through. I angle the knife away from the edge to create a flat edge on the veneer due to the knife’s bevel.

After carefully popping it out, you are left with this:

From there, you place it where you want it to, tape it down with the scotch tape, and repeat the process. Trace all the way around it so you get a good outline, remove the piece to be inlayed, and cut all the way through.

Then you can place the letter in the opening, use veneer tape to hold it in place, and you can move onto the next piece.

I was also able to do the letter for my Mom’s box, with the letter in the same Sapele veneer that will be on the top.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

3 comments so far

View stefang's profile


16739 posts in 3843 days

#1 posted 11-21-2014 02:09 PM

Nice work. It’s good to see some knife work marquetry. I am getting a little better at it, but it does take practice to get really good at it. I still have a long way to go.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile


8380 posts in 3306 days

#2 posted 11-21-2014 02:13 PM

Pretty nice knife work Jeff. I really want to tell you how much easier this would be with a scroll saw or a chevalet but I don’t want to encourage anything that would bite into the boat budget. :-)

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

View jmartel's profile


8569 posts in 2659 days

#3 posted 11-21-2014 03:31 PM

The rougher looking edges are just places where the inlay isn’t sitting quite flush. The tape allows a little bit of play, so it’s actually better than it looks. Once it’s glued down, it should look better. It’s not perfect, but I’m getting a heck of a lot better at this now that I’ve been doing it longer.

Paul, I know it would help, especially for the thinner width stuff like these letters. The biggest issue right now is space. The Chevalet would take up the same space that the motorcycle currently does. When we move out of the city (and out of a townhouse) there should be room to have separate garage and shop spaces.

The boat may not actually happen next winter like I had planned. Wife wants to move out of the city sooner than I expected, so if we are moving somewhere with more space in 3-4 years, I might just wait and build a bigger and better boat. I’m severely size restricted at the moment.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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