Recommendations for Inlay Fillers

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Forum topic by CharlieM1958 posted 04-20-2008 10:17 PM 18986 views 6 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16282 posts in 4582 days

04-20-2008 10:17 PM

I was wondering if anyone had any good suggestions for filling template-routed inlays like the one shown here:

This is just plain wood filler on a scrap of walnut as a test piece. Naturally, I’d like something a bit more decorative than wood filler. I’ve used Inlace epoxy, and it is good for applications like this, but fairly expensive and difficult to work with. So I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas?

The fleur de lis is a hot item in the New Orleans area, and I think I could really knock out a bunch of Christmas gifts this way. :-)

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

16 replies so far

View SPalm's profile


5333 posts in 4245 days

#1 posted 04-20-2008 10:48 PM

Gold leaf :)

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4678 days

#2 posted 04-20-2008 11:02 PM

crushed turquoise

View SPalm's profile


5333 posts in 4245 days

#3 posted 04-20-2008 11:11 PM

Slightly off topic, I have had good luck with Avery A1830-S Yellow Paint Mask For doing this sort of thing. It is like a giant roll of masking tape that is 15 inches wide. It is vinyl with a peel off backing. This allows you to use standard paint, which does not look so bad, and is fast (and inexpensive). Sign makers use it all the time. So, you finish the board with stain, oil, varnish etc, and then apply the mastic. Now route through it. It can withstand 200 Degrees so a router will not melt it. Now paint the design, allow to dry, and peel off the mastic.

Like this:

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4179 days

#4 posted 04-20-2008 11:11 PM

Colored bondo?

-- Scott - Chico California

View CharlieM1958's profile


16282 posts in 4582 days

#5 posted 04-20-2008 11:26 PM

Steve, that is a pretty good idea about the paint. I never thought of gold leaf either, but that could work for sure!

Dennis, what would you use to set the crushed turquoise?

Scott, I thought about bondo. I was wondering if anyone had tried it.

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

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 4106 days

#6 posted 04-20-2008 11:53 PM

How about colored aquarium sand/gravel set in epoxy? Might get the same effect as In-Lace with little expense. I am going to try in sometime.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16282 posts in 4582 days

#7 posted 04-20-2008 11:58 PM

Another good idea. Toolz.

This is why I love this site!

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

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4244 days

#8 posted 04-21-2008 12:20 AM

you just sparked me an idea charlie ! i may give it a look when i get to the shop tomorrow . ive been searching for a way to tint wood filler while reading this i thought of darren nelsons dye system , as ive also been fooling with that

since its water based i dont see why it cant be mixed with water based wood filler

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 4071 days

#9 posted 04-21-2008 11:31 AM

Inlace. Stinks to high heaven but it’s easy to work. Check out some of the inlay pics here

-- Use the fence Luke

View che's profile


123 posts in 4389 days

#10 posted 04-21-2008 03:46 PM

West Marine and similar stores has graphite powder you can add to epoxy. Gives a metallic black.

-- Che.

View SteveRussell's profile


101 posts in 4324 days

#11 posted 04-21-2008 03:49 PM

Hello Charlie,

My preference for filling voids or channels (natural, or intentionally created) is always crushed stone. There is a natural harmony between stone and wood that creates a very provocative inlay in the primary visual and tactile perceptions. The warmth of the wood is perfectly juxtaposed with the coolness of the stone. When the two are combined, no other material offers the same visual harmony.

If you wish to use crushed stone, there are many different stones available for you to choose from, in a myriad of colours. You do need to observe the Moh’s hardness scale to insure you can efficiently sand the resulting inlay with your abrasives. Binders can include Cyanoacrylate Ester adhesives (CA or Super Glues) and Binary Epoxies.

You may purchase the crushed stone ready to inlay, or if you’re the do-it-yourself kind of guy, you can purchase the rough scrap stone and crush your own. I had a friend make up a simple stone crusher for me, as I inlay stone all the time. Crushing your own stone is much cheaper in the long run.

Turquoise is often inlaid in this manner, but other stones like Azurite, Malachite, Coral, Lapis, Chrysacola, Fuscite, Pipestone and numerous other stones can be used as well. Other good inlay choices are atomized metal powders, micas, Gold leaf (under polyester resin), coloured polyester resin, and contrasting timber. Good luck to you and best wishes in all of your woodworking endeavors!

-- Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

View CharlieM1958's profile


16282 posts in 4582 days

#12 posted 04-21-2008 04:14 PM

Thanks again to everyone for all the suggestions. I’ve definitely got a bunch of things I want to experiment with now.

Steve, what are your thoughts on epoxy vs. CA for inlaying crushed stone? I’ve used Inlace, so I’m kind of familiar with epoxy, but what is the advantage/disadvantage to CA?

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

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 4238 days

#13 posted 04-22-2008 11:45 PM

How about crushed iron pyrite (fools gold) ?

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4108 days

#14 posted 04-22-2008 11:59 PM

C’mon, Charlie. What are you thinkin”? Crushed Madi Gras beads set in epoxy or fiberglass resin.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4162 days

#15 posted 04-23-2008 01:03 AM

real gold… not in the budget? for me either.. a mix of this colored sawdust and white glue can work depending on how big a space you are filling

-- making sawdust....

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