Inlay thickness

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Forum topic by paphman posted 06-26-2010 02:45 PM 5044 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 3405 days

06-26-2010 02:45 PM

I am just getting started with inlay. I ordered some veneer from Woodcraft, and it seems REAL thin to me. I would say it is about 1/32” thick. Is this what most people use for inlay work? Can I cut and glue some of this veneer together to make it thicker? Also where can I order veneer for inaly that might be alittle thicker than this? As you can tell I am new to this, but I would like to get this right if I can. This looks like it can be fun, I hope. Thanks


6 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4701 days

#1 posted 06-26-2010 04:13 PM

Dale, you really don’t need it to be any thicker than that. When you rout the groove for the inlay you just need to experiment with scrap to get the depth setting just right so that when you glue the inlay in, it only protrudes a hair above the surface. Then you can easily sand it flush.

If you are working with a relatively small project you can also rout the groove a little deeper, so that the inlay sits just below the surface, then sand the surface down to meet the inlay. This is a lot more labor intensive, but it reduces the chance of sanding through the inlay.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Ger21's profile


1087 posts in 3614 days

#2 posted 06-26-2010 08:21 PM

You can get thicker veneers at but I think they have a $100 minimum.

-- Gerry,

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3409 days

#3 posted 06-26-2010 10:29 PM

Dale, I make my own inlay, will have some photos posted soon on my workshop links.

I typically make mine 3/16 as I also do not like it so thin, and one little bump under the belt on the drum sander, and you are sanding right through it.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Randy63's profile


252 posts in 3375 days

#4 posted 06-27-2010 05:02 AM

Hi Dale,
If you’re just getting started with veneering and inlay I think you’re in for a great experience. Veneers of that thickness are quite normal these days and in fact many are even thinner, 1/42” to 1/50”. There are still a few sources or finds out there of thicker veneers of 1/16” or thicker. And of course you can always sawn your own if you need something special.
The thinner veneers are still quite usable for both veneering and inlay. If you’re using for inlay or to make your own bandings you may have to lay up more thicknesses to get the thickness you want, but the glue lines don’t show so it’s no big deal.
Viewing CharlieM1958’s work I certainly can’t argue with his methods, but I was taught to lay inlay or bandings a bit proud of the suface and carefully sand the inlay down till flush with the surface. With any inlay and veneering with 1/42” material you have to have the substrate carfully leveled and when sanding use a light hand. The end result is all that matters. It’s not that complicated, anyone can do it. Regardless of your method of veneering though, be sure to veneer both side of the substrate with the same thickness of veneer.
Good luck and enjoy!

-- Randy, Oakdale, Ca.

View Wiley's profile


71 posts in 3514 days

#5 posted 06-27-2010 06:08 AM

I cut all my own inlay, and usually cut it to about 3/64-1/16”. If you’ve got a decent bandsaw, I highly recommend cutting your own. You can adjust the thickness to your own personal preferences, and it opens a whole new world of never being able to throw out scraps ^_^

-- "When you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think straight" - Inherit the Wind

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 4073 days

#6 posted 06-27-2010 08:18 AM

it really depends on the complexity of the project. It’s very difficult to cut thicker veneers into very detailed pieces, say for a marquetry pattern. So the thinner the veneer, the happier the worker, and the easier the project. I’ve been doing inlay work for quite a while now, and I tend to look for thinner veneers for the intriquite work and thicker veneer for the back grounds. Of course that is if I am inlaying. I use the same thickness of veneer when applying to a substrate, and apply it to the front and back. It’s all relevant to how you are building your project. Good luck and happy woodworking

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

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