Chris Schwarz's Blog

First Look at the Noden Inlay Razor

Inlay scares the pants off of some woodworkers, especially when it comes to producing original designs with curves.

So I was quite intrigued when Geoffrey Noden showed off a prototype tool at the Woodworking in America conference at Valley Forge. Noden is a highly accomplished woodworker and the inventor of the Noden Adjust-A-Bench.

Noden’s new tool, called the Noden Inlay Razor, is impossibly clever and shows off his deep understanding of raw materials, his desire for unlimited creativity and a passion for making things simple.

The tool is essentially a diminutive paper cutter that rives the wood like a guillotine. Yes, you read that right, it rives the wood. The heart of the Inlay Razor is a blade, which you make from a common straight razor blade. You embed the razor in a block of wood and can bend the razor in any way you please.

Then you put the razor-embedded block into the Inlay Razor tool.

The second bit of cleverness is the stock itself. Noden uses end grain blanks that he prepares on a table saw. These blanks fit into a shallow groove on a block that is on the working surface of the Inlay Razor.

Then it’s just a matter of riving the pieces of inlay. You can use stops to make hundreds of precisely sized pieces. And the fact that you are riving the stock means that the results are incredibly crisp.

The Inlay Razor can be used to make traditional-style inlay or some really wild drug-induced stuff. Once you see it in action, it makes perfect sense. That’s why I shot the following short video that shows Noden making some inlay at the Northeastern Woodworkers Association’s annual Showcase.

You can get more information on the Inlay Razor at inlayrazor.com. The tool will be shipping to customers in the next month or so. The last task that has to be completed is finishing up the DVDs that explain the process from start to finish. In fact, videos will be an important component of this tool. Noden plans on shooting many how-to videos that will help people explore the tool.

The list price is $249. The tool will be on sale at shows and at certain times of the year for $199. This is a really cool tool, and we’re on the list to get one and test it out in the shop. I can’t wait.

- Christopher Schwarz

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