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Forum topic by RickMB posted 04-07-2018 03:04 PM 693 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RickMB

9 posts in 1635 days


04-07-2018 03:04 PM

I am new to inlay and have a perplexing question. Most of my concern involves issues around when and how to apply stain to the piece with inlay string or band. I plan to install a holly string inlay around drawer fronts of a mahogany nightstand. Obviously I don’t want any stain on the white holly stringing, so I would need to apply stain prior to the inlay. I likely need to stain before I rout out the inlay channels as well, in order to keep those channels pristine and ready for glue. Test pieces reveal problems with this plan. If I rout the channels (using a down spiral bit) after staining, the channel edges still need some light sanding to clean up and stain to touch up. Additionally, the slightly proud inlay needs to be sanded flat, causing more problems with the staining. An alternative would be to toss out the idea of staining altogether and just install the string inlay followed by clear shellac. That would work, but I really would like to use a stain on the mahogany. So, is there a way to apply stain to these drawer fronts and not contaminate the pure white holly inlay??? Thanks, Rick

-- -Rick


18 replies so far

View WyattCo's profile

WyattCo

93 posts in 666 days


#1 posted 04-07-2018 03:43 PM

You totally lost me at “stain” and “mahogany”.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2083 posts in 724 days


#2 posted 04-07-2018 03:55 PM

Rick – you are very wise to practice your techniques on other wood.
in my experience, the rope, twine or string always goes in last. After all the
routing, staining or painting is done. also, I have found that some round inlay such as rope
will fit better in a “V” groove vs a flat or rounded groove. you may want to try that too.
if you need the inlay string to be flat, that may not be an easy option within your skill set.
but, it can be done.
photos of what you are doing will help the gallery help you. (and what size is the string ??).

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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Planeman40

1467 posts in 3323 days


#3 posted 04-07-2018 04:31 PM

After gluing in the string and sanding/scraping it flat to the surrounding surface, mask it off with masking tape and then apply two coats of CLEAR lacquer or shellac to the stringing. Remove the masking tape and apply your stain to the rest of the drawer front. the clear lacquer or shellac will prevent the stain from entering the stringing. After staining. wiping off the stain should leave your stringing unstained and the drawer front ready for the final clear finish.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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WyattCo

93 posts in 666 days


#4 posted 04-07-2018 05:29 PM

John Smith, I think you’re misunderstanding stringing inlays. They are made of wood. A thin veneer. The light colored border is inlay stringing. These I made from white oak.

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John Smith

2083 posts in 724 days


#5 posted 04-07-2018 07:02 PM

ahhhh so !! I was thinking actual string or rope LOL. (thanks for the clarification).
I call that process simple veneer inlay – never heard it called anything else.

this is my idea of rope inlay:

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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RickMB

9 posts in 1635 days


#6 posted 04-07-2018 07:48 PM

All. Many thanks for your kind suggestions.
Fthis: Sorry for the confusion. I should have been more descriptive. My drawer fronts are mahogany and it is the mahogany that I want to stain.
John: I always practice on scrap and then often on duplicate mock-ups until I feel comforable. I try not to rush toward a completion when learning a new technique. My goal is to operate on the premise that it is the journey, not the destination that makes life more satisfying. I am using 1/16” wide holly string inlay which I plan to sand or scrape flat. (I might have to put installing Rope inlay on my list of future projects ☺)
Planeman: I was thinking about an awkward process of flattening the holly on a mock-up and then installing it in a pre-stained mahogany drawer front. However, your suggestion of installing/gluing the holly inlay-> flattening->masking->shellacking the holly first seems to make more sense. My only concern with that process is that, even with careful masking, the clear shellac might still bleed onto the yet to be stained mahogany. Whadya think?
Again, thanks to all! Rick

-- -Rick

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Planeman40

1467 posts in 3323 days


#7 posted 04-07-2018 08:23 PM

Yes, if the masking tape is not firmly pressed down it can bleed, so press it down well. I always burnish masking tape edges down with a polished tool of come kind. But, if it should bleed, you can use a single-edge razor blade to scrape along the edge. I always work with small stuff using a Chinese made “Optivisor” which I find works quite well (and costs 1/10th the price of a true Optivisor). I recommend you try one of these when you do it.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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RickMB

9 posts in 1635 days


#8 posted 04-07-2018 08:32 PM

Agreed. BTW, I have an Optivisor too, and I wouldn’t leave home without it ;-)

-- -Rick

View WyattCo's profile

WyattCo

93 posts in 666 days


#9 posted 04-07-2018 08:42 PM

RickMB, I know what you were referring to as in staining mahogany. It just eats at my very soul that you want this. It’s such a beautiful species of wood and you want to change it. Had you wanted to stain poplar, or pine, or something else that isn’t significant or even anywhere near as expensive, I’d understand.

I talk customers out of staining projects on a regular basis and choose wood species according to the colors they desire. I outright reject jobs where a customer wants something made of specific species and then wants it stained a different color to look like something else. The exception is antique furniture restoration which is 60% of what I do for a living.

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RickMB

9 posts in 1635 days


#10 posted 04-07-2018 08:54 PM

Fthis, Here is one of my projects showing a brown mahogany stain on mahogany. The wood on this project is brought to life and it warms my soul.

-- -Rick

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WyattCo

93 posts in 666 days


#11 posted 04-07-2018 09:19 PM

It’s beautiful!

I just have huge hangups with coloring already beautiful wood.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1461 days


#12 posted 04-07-2018 09:38 PM

I don’t see why you couldn’t apply 2 or 3 coats of sealer then cut in your string inlay. You should be able to scrape it flat without going through the sealer, then topcoat everything after your inlay is done.

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shipwright

8412 posts in 3360 days


#13 posted 04-07-2018 11:51 PM

+1 Jbay
The active word is “scrape”. A sharp scraper will do the job far better than sandpaper.

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

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RickMB

9 posts in 1635 days


#14 posted 04-08-2018 12:35 AM

I’ve been thinking of splurging on a scraper plane. Any thoughts on that versus scraper blades in terms of utility.

-- -Rick

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shipwright

8412 posts in 3360 days


#15 posted 04-08-2018 02:33 AM

They both work but with a card scraper you can see exactly what you are doing. With a scraper plane you have to feel it. My preference for fine work like this is the card. I like to see the cut.
This is a similar situation to yours. The burl veneer is 1/42” thick. I couldn’t afford to more than just touch it. The card gave me the best chance of success.

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

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