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Thread: Inlaid Bottle Stopper Tutorial

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Colorado Springs, CO


    [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
    Micro bit set
    Alternative to Micro bit set
    Micro carving set
    Thin CA
    CA accelerator
    Tool for sawdust scoop Attachment 29511
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 100_1135.JPG   100_1140.JPG   100_1138.JPG   100_1127.JPG   100_1136.JPG  

    100_1133.JPG   100_1134.JPG   100_1130.JPG   100_1131.JPG   100_1147.JPG  


    Everything is better with inlay or marquetry!

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