West Virginia member Peter Howell reviewed two pieces completed as part of four workshops Peter has developed for his home club Valley Woodworkers of West Virginia (www.valleywoodworkers.org). The first was a walnut line and berry inlayed tambour breadbox. He made the tambour lid from one piece, inlayed the line and berry, then cut the lid into slats using a thin kerf table saw blade. The inlay had to be deep enough to ensure that the pattern remained contiguous across the slats even when the slats were rounded over with a 1/8 in round-over bit.
His second piece was a walnut display cabinet with a glass-paned door, including a top glass pane cut to fill the opening in the tombstone door.
Peter used the internet to find the tombstone shaped glass pane from:
The cabinet was finished with two coats of WATCO Danish Oil finish topped with a catalyzed varnish.
Board Member and long-time ORV participant Dick Reese provided one of the main meeting topics, sharing the methods and tools he uses to make stringing and banding, and how he inlays these materials into project surfaces.
He makes his own (typically 1/32 in wide) stringing, starting with a table saw to make 37 thousands inch thick thin rips, each a couple inches wide, of the desired inlay wood (typically holly). He uses 7 ¼ in diameter Freud Diablo circular saw blades, as they are inexpensive, cut smoothly, and waste a minimum of wood with their 1/16 in. kerf. One can get a 40 Tooth ATB finishing saw blade with 5/8-Inch arbor for about $14, or an ultra-finish blade with 60 teeth for about $20.
Dick uses the diablo blades with a thin rip jig, and a zero clearance table insert made specifically for the thin blades. For stringing Dick places the sawn blank on a shop-made stringing cutting board and slices off strips with a left-handed copy of a Lie-Nielsen (L-N) Latta Slicing Gauge (1-IN-SG: $75.00). He then uses an L-N Latta Thicknessing Gauge (1-IN-TG: $65.00) to take the stringing to the desired 1/32 in.
Dick prefers to use the Latta thicknesser for stringing, but for edge banding he thicknesses the original ripped blank using a Luthier's Friend Sanding Station on a drill press. The Station is available from Stewart MacDonald for about $200, but one could easily make a simpler substitute.
To cut the grooves into which the stringing is inlayed, Dick uses a L-N Latta Radius Cutter (1-IN-RC: $85.00) for smaller arcs (or shop made versions), and a Stew Mac Dremel plunge router base with a shop made Lexan circle cutter attachment for larger arcs.
For the router bit he uses Drill Technology (www.drilltechnology.com) SAPFM 2-flute solid carbide down-cutting end mills, available in diameters from 1/32 in to 1/8 in in 1/64 in increments. These end mills were developed by Drill Technology in conjunction with Steve Latta at Thaddeus Stevens College. Dick also occasionally uses ½ in MDF or Birch plywood templates for parts of the stringing patterns, using the shaft of the bit as a guide running against the template.