Something with an "R" #3: Inlaid Letters

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Blog entry by sras posted 06-13-2015 11:38 PM 1805 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Materials & getting started Part 3 of Something with an "R" series Part 4: Box Assembly »

For the letter pattern, I started with a Medusa font. I had to modify it quite a bit to work with my 1/8” router bit.


I then sliced some veneer from the wenge. The veneer cuts were just over 1/16” and ended up at about 0.040” after sanding. I let the wenge be a little thicker.


I printed out the pattern in reverse and glued it to what would be the back side of the veneer. The process was:


1. Cut the pattern with my scroll saw and cleaned it up with some filing. (The sycamore has some pretty grain!)

2. Trace the cut letter onto the panel. I used an Exacto blade.


3. Darken the outline. First with a pencil. (You can see how the angled yellowheart grain works into this)

4. Then with a black marker. Take care not to let the ink bleed across the scratch line.

5. Fill it in. This helped with my visibility when using the trim router.

6. Rough out an opening. I used my trim router with a 1/8” spiral bit

7. Clean up the rough out. I used some of my smaller carving tools. This took a lot of trial and error.

8. Once the fit is good, add glue and clamp.

9. Sand the wenge flush with the yellowheart.


The process wasn’t without surprises. I saved some of each color sawdust for just such an occasion.


Eventually, I had a full set.

I have to admit, while I was doing this I was watching Paul ( Shipwright ) work his chevalet magic and got a little envious ;)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

11 comments so far

View lew's profile


13272 posts in 4725 days

#1 posted 06-14-2015 12:45 AM


Wish I had that much control over my trim router.

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

View shipwright's profile


8638 posts in 3767 days

#2 posted 06-14-2015 01:03 AM

Looking pretty good Steve but man do you need a chevalet. :-)

These are going to be (are actually I guess) a very nice gift.

Great idea, I love initials.

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

View sras's profile


5756 posts in 4098 days

#3 posted 06-14-2015 01:33 AM

Lew – it was a pretty tricky task. It took a strong light and a few practice pieces before I put the bit to the yellowheart (I didn’t make any spares!)

Paul – Thanks! I keep trying to figure out how to justify one. I think I have to retire first…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dutchy's profile


3941 posts in 3138 days

#4 posted 06-14-2015 07:10 AM

Steve they are wonderful and it will be a great cube. I also like the font.
But man what a lot of work. To do such labor-intensive work in my opinion you first have to retire :)
Time consuming or not I like this “Something with an “R”” very much.

—Dutchy – Patience is cheep?


View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4303 days

#5 posted 06-14-2015 08:13 AM

A good result Steve, but a scroll saw could do this work very accurately, quickly and easily, without any filing, etc. unless of course you would rather drive a chevalet.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4005 days

#6 posted 06-14-2015 11:44 AM

As, Lew said, I wish I could control a freehand router this well.

Good progress, Steve. Looking forward to the next instalment.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View sras's profile


5756 posts in 4098 days

#7 posted 06-14-2015 01:55 PM

Thanks everyone!

Dutchy – Retirement would certainly give me more time in the shop. That’s why this project took 2 years!

Mike – Yes – the scroll saw was much quicker for cutting the letters. For some reason, I felt like I had a better chance of success by working with the yellowheart after it was glued down. I can’t remember why though!

Martyn – Good to hear from you! Next one is up soon.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3836 days

#8 posted 06-14-2015 07:15 PM

You have a lot of skill with free handing a router. All of these letters look really nice, Steve.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View sras's profile


5756 posts in 4098 days

#9 posted 06-14-2015 07:20 PM

Thanks Charles – even so, there was a good deal of fit work required after I routed the opening.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Roger's profile


21047 posts in 3773 days

#10 posted 06-20-2015 03:40 PM

As Arti Johnson would say: “Veeeeeeeerrrrrrrrry innnnnnterrrrrresssssssting”

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View sras's profile


5756 posts in 4098 days

#11 posted 06-24-2015 04:27 AM

That’s funny Roger!!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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