Hardwood floor inlays - Walnut in Oak

  • Advertise with us
Project by sras posted 11-07-2019 09:20 PM 498 views 0 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Hardwood floor inlays - Walnut in Oak
Hardwood floor inlays - Walnut in Oak No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
Zoom Pictures

We decided to convert the dining room floor to hardwood.

I asked my wife “Do you want inlays to match the kitchen floor?” “Of course!” was the reply.

When I asked my flooring guy if he wanted to do them or should I he said “You do it, my knees don’t want to”

Here are the steps:

Make a template and lay out the design

Locate the template

I used a template guide on my router so the template openings are larger than the inlay

Cut the pattern and move the template

Flip the template to cut the other. Note the “length adjustment” for the long slot and how I place a nail so the hole lands under the inlay

Cut mating half

Use the short slot in the template to cut connecting groove. Get ready to cut sharp corners

Finish the corners

Cut a bunch of walnut sticks that are a tight fit in width

Trim to exact length, add glue and tap into place

Repeat until finished

Project took about 20-25 hours.

Edit: Here’s some info about the process

Here are some dimensions:

1. Space between the stripes: 1”
2. Stripe width: 1/2”
3. Gap between stripe and box: 1/2”

And a few other tips:

1. Do a full layout on the floor.
2. Make your template as long as practical. This one benefit is you might be able to sink a nail under a stripe in the adjacent inlay.
3. As mentioned above, do a test run on a chunk of plywood or anything big enough to allow the full pattern and hold the template.
4. I cut the grooves in 2 or 3 shallow passes.
5. Use your practice piece to test the size of your inlay stock. Ideally you want a snug fit. If it’s a little loose that’s not a big deal. The floor installer used filler to take care of tiny gaps and nail holes.
6. Make the strips a little thicker (1/32” is plenty) than the depth of the router cut. The sander will level them out easily.
7. The most important place for a tight fit is between the inlay pieces. The wood filler is contrasting in color and will show up in any gaps between the inlay pieces.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

23 comments so far

View lew's profile


12880 posts in 4291 days

#1 posted 11-07-2019 09:53 PM

That’s Beautiful, Steve!

Was the oak flooring 3/4” thick?

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile (online now)


429 posts in 83 days

#2 posted 11-07-2019 10:43 PM

Love the cardboard chip collectors. Now thats thinking ahead! Inlays look great.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: It is wiser to find out, than to suppose (S. Clemens)

View sras's profile


5229 posts in 3665 days

#3 posted 11-07-2019 10:51 PM

Lew – Yes it was 3/4” flooring. I set the inlay depth to the top of the tongue/groove joint.

Brian – I should have mentioned that! The first cut threw chips onto the tile, but then they were going to go all over the living room – so I got smarter…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View 489tad's profile


3662 posts in 3547 days

#4 posted 11-08-2019 12:17 AM

Nice job!

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View shipwright's profile


8397 posts in 3333 days

#5 posted 11-08-2019 12:30 AM

Very nice Steve!

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

View sras's profile


5229 posts in 3665 days

#6 posted 11-08-2019 01:05 AM

Thanks Dan!

Paul – Thanks! It’s not quite marquetry but it’s a start :)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View oldrivers's profile


1836 posts in 2102 days

#7 posted 11-08-2019 01:20 AM

Looks Good, job well done

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View socrbent's profile


897 posts in 2805 days

#8 posted 11-08-2019 01:56 AM

Very cool result. I must confess – when I first looked at the picture it looked 3d. I couldn’t figure out who would want an uneven floor.

-- socrbent Ohio

View crowie's profile


3276 posts in 2486 days

#9 posted 11-08-2019 09:23 AM

Now that’s a dedicated job with master craftsmanship precision.

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Peteybadboy's profile


1270 posts in 2485 days

#10 posted 11-08-2019 11:09 AM

Love it!

-- Petey

View TucsonTim's profile


33 posts in 578 days

#11 posted 11-08-2019 01:40 PM

Very nice. You’re braver than I am. I’d be terrified of messing up the inlays on a new floor!

-- Tim in Tucson

View Noel's profile


86 posts in 343 days

#12 posted 11-08-2019 05:06 PM

Ditto Tim’s comment – no way I’d even attempt what you’ve pulled off so beautifully. Amazing fitting job.
Very nice work.

-- Just make the cut

View sras's profile


5229 posts in 3665 days

#13 posted 11-08-2019 05:37 PM

Thanks everyone!

One thing I do before making the cuts is test out the template on a scrap piece (plywood or particle board).

While it does verify the setup, the main objective is to calm the nerves.

Also get the template locked down with a couple nails. You can see in the pics that I don’t need to drive them all the way in, just enough to get a good grip on the oak – 1/2” seems to be sufficient.

And if I do make a router error I can always patch it!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View justoneofme's profile


809 posts in 3015 days

#14 posted 11-09-2019 12:06 AM

That is definitely patience clicking in … and a whole lotta know-how! Beautifully executed Steve!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View robscastle's profile


6458 posts in 2739 days

#15 posted 11-09-2019 02:58 AM

That’s very simple and neat, I have often thought of doing french knots in my veranda entrance.
The knees issue would also cause me some pain but I think i will give it a try

Did I mention I did something similar on the floor in our Hall way. tee hee

-- Regards Rob

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics