Making perfect miters for your inlay bandings.

Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
Several people have asked me how I get such "tight" miter and butt joints with inlay bandings, so I thought I would share my procedure. Maybe there is a better, or an easier way, but I have had excellent results this way. Maybe someone out there knows an easier or more efficient way.

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I fashioned a small miter box, just for doing inlay bandings and stringing. I use a small (6") Japanese pull saw. This is 3/8" wide redheart banding in this example.
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Miter cut the banding slightly long using a small miter box or just a knife. At this point, he miter does not need to be perfect. I try to cut it about 1/64" too long.
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After you cut the inlay banding on the miter box, take a piece of scrap wood or plywood (I used 3/4" plywood as shown below) with a straight edge.
Rout channels at 45 and 90 degrees - the width of the banding you are inlaying.
Put the banding in the channel, hold it tightly, and using a block of wood with sandpaper (I used 150 grit) glued to it, sand the edge of the banding and "sneak up" to the perfect fit, every time.
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JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
I've never used one but just from the pictures, would this work with a shooting board with a 45 degree jig on it as well? Asking as I purchased my first hand planes (aside from an old block plane I've had for years that needs an experts look) and am interested in all the different things I can use them for.
 

creasman

Jim
User
Nice work. For the piece you show, what is your process for making the channel for the inlay? Are you doing the base veneer first and then cutting channels for the inlay, or some other approach?
 

Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
I've never used one but just from the pictures, would this work with a shooting board with a 45 degree jig on it as well? Asking as I purchased my first hand planes (aside from an old block plane I've had for years that needs an experts look) and am interested in all the different things I can use them for.
Dunno. sorry, I dont even own a hand plane.
 

Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
Nice work. For the piece you show, what is your process for making the channel for the inlay? Are you doing the base veneer first and then cutting channels for the inlay, or some other approach?
The base piece is Baltic Birch plywood framed with solid walnut edges, the the whole piece is veneered.
All the channels are then cut with the router - carefully...
That last channel makes you pucker - no mistakes at this point!

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Then the round corners are squared up using a 1" chisel as shown.
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Then the waste is chiseled out with a 1/4" chisel....
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Now it's ready for the tedius part - cutting all those banding pieces. I don't cut and glue them in all at once - there seems to be less room for error by doing a section at a time. Usually done in about 4 sessions. Anyway, I get bug-eyed if I spend more than about an hour at a time fitting those mitered sections.
Thanks for asking.
 

creasman

Jim
User
All the channels are then cut with the router - carefully...
Do you use a straight edge or bushing on the router as a guide? Those are some very straight lines to do free hand. I've used a router to freehand some curved inlay, where I was careful to stay a 1/16" or more away for the line and then come back with chisels to hit the line. This was very tedious and as you say, leaves one bug-eyed after a while.
 

Matt Furjanic

Matt
Senior User
Do you use a straight edge or bushing on the router as a guide? Those are some very straight lines to do free hand. I've used a router to freehand some curved inlay, where I was careful to stay a 1/16" or more away for the line and then come back with chisels to hit the line. This was very tedious and as you say, leaves one bug-eyed after a while.
I do not believe anyone can freehand a router for these straight channels. If so, I would like to meet that person.
Sometimes I use an edge guide, but on this particular design, I used a straight edge clamped to the piece. When doing multiple plunges, a straight edge seems to be easier. Also, many of these lines are a long way to the edges, and the further you get from the edge, the more difficult it is to control. One thing you have to be careful of when running the router edge against the clamped straight edge is router dust getting between the straight edge and the router base. That will cause the router to move away from the edge, and the channel will then not be straight. Takes a little practice...
 

Dee2

Gene
Corporate Member
Cody, you might spend some time on Rob Cosman's YouTube channel and see some hand plane skills. Or spend some time with Mike Davis if he is willing. There are others.
 

mdbuntyn

Matt
Corporate Member
...would this work with a shooting board with a 45 degree jig on it as well?
I've never shot anything thinner than ¼". If were going to, I'd make sure that the inlay/banding is fully supported by the fence, to avoid splitting the far side of the cut, and I'd use a block plane instead of a larger bench plane.
 

JCAlton

Cody Alton
User
Cody, you might spend some time on Rob Cosman's YouTube channel and see some hand plane skills. Or spend some time with Mike Davis if he is willing. There are others.
Oh I watch a lot of Rob Cosman, Paul Sellers and a few others. Those guys have forgotten more woodworking knowledge than I'll probably ever have

I've never shot anything thinner than ¼". If were going to, I'd make sure that the inlay/banding is fully supported by the fence, to avoid splitting the far side of the cut, and I'd use a block plane instead of a larger bench plane.
Thats what I was interested in, it being so thin if it would work or be worth the effort vs the sanding method.

Anyway, sorry for derailing the thread.
 

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