[Originally from this thread...]

As with any inlay project, there are many ways to get to the finished
The basic form of inlay is really a 3 step process:
1) Come up with a design
2) Create a recess
3) Infill the recess with another material

The part that differs in most cases is how the recess is created and what
material is used to fill it.

These two stoppers where my first attempts at inlaying curved surfaces and
two different methods were involved.
Attachment 29501 Attachment 29502

For the shark inlay I first needed to come up with a way to create a recess
on something round while keeping it steady enough to be accurate.

I came up with the jig seen here which is the most basic of basic. 2 pieces
of MDF screwed together at a right angle. One side gets clamped to the tool rest.
Attachment 29504 Attachment 29503

The height was made such that I can slide my Dremel tool (equipped with plunge base) over it.

I have it
equipped with a special micro bit. It is a solid carbide down cut spiral.
Before I got this bit I was using a 1/16th inch grout bit that you can pick
up at the one of the BORGs.
(note: I f you start turning with a jaw chuck you will need to switch to a
drill chuck for the inlay excavation to allow clearance for the router base
to travel over)

At this point I lock the indexing head on the lathe, transfer the pattern
with an Exacto (with new blade), and cut the recess close to the scribed
line with the Dremel.
Attachment 29505 Attachment 29506
The tricky part is watching the depth of cut. This
had to be done via "deep inlay" so that I could get enough material below
the shallow part of the curved surface. This was made easier because I kept
the shape where the inlay was planned fairly linear and the length of the
inlay goes up and down. Had I tried to "wrap" the shark around the stopper
it would have been far more difficult.
Attachment 29507
(more on that challenge below)

Then I go back with a micro chisel set
Attachment 29508
and pair the remainder of the recess
to the line. Test the fit and try again until you can get 1/16th of the
inlay to fit down into the hole. Once it fits, glue it with some thin CA
and sand the excess flush, going through all of the grits.

For the Crow I ran into the difficulty of trying to wrap the inlay around
the piece. I tried it with flexible veneer which I had planned to create a
recess and then bend it around and glue it. It was going well but about
halfway through the veneer broke right at the legs because they were so
small. Here is what is looked like when I took it from the scroll saw.
Attachment 29509 Attachment 29510

Not to fear. half of woodworking is figuring out something that will work
even when I first thought about throwing this one in the trash at this
point. It was at that moment that I remembered a technique of infill using
mica powders and CA glue.


I used this method successfully with using ebony sawdust, scoop a small
amount into the recess and then let the thin CA glue wick into it. Spray
with CA accelerator, sand, check for voids and repeat until the inlay is

Shopping list:

Dremel plunge base http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-335-01-...ews/B0000DEZK4
Micro bit set http://microfence.com/micro-bit-kit-p-110.html
Alternative to Micro bit set http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-569D-16...bxgy_hi_text_c
Micro carving set http://www.woodcraft.com/product.asp...&FamilyID=1361
Thin CA http://www.woodcraft.com/product.asp...FamilyID=21102
CA accelerator http://www.woodcraft.com/product.asp...FamilyID=21102
Tool for sawdust scoop Attachment 29511