String Inlay Tools – Radius Cutters

SAMSUNGOn Hannah’s Inlaid Chest from our June 2013 magazine (issue #204), I scratched most of the string inlay by hand using tools from both Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and Lee Valley/Veritas.

Of the string inlay tools used on the chest, the most import is the radius cutter. For that job, I selected the tool from Lie-Nielsen (item No. IR-NC).

Both of the circle-cutting tools work, however there are two reasons that I chose the Lie-Nielsen cutter. The first is that I am able to get a .062″-thick blade, which is used when your inlay is 1/16″ in thickness. The thickest blade at Veritas is .040″ (1/25″). I like the look of thicker string inlay. I think it best represents what was used on the original pieces. (Yes, you can find antique examples with thin stringing.)

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Pivot point on Veritas cutter.

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Pivot point on the Lie-Nielsen cutter.

What is the other reason I chose the Lie-Nielsen radius cutter? Let me get right to the point. The pivot point, that is. On a Lie-Nielsen cutter, the pivot point is taller and has a smaller diameter than found on the Veritas cutter. That means that you are going to get a better hold – you don’t want that point to lose its grip when you’re twisting back and forth. Also, when you have finished the scratch work, the hole left is less noticeable.

But fear not Veritas devotees. There is an inlay-related tools that I find extremely useful that come from North of the border. If you plan to do inlay work, I am a fan of, and would highly suggest that you pick up, a Veritas Groove Cutter (05K12.13) (Shown below). This tool is great for excavating scratched grooves that are not quite deep enough – that’s how I used the groove cutter. Or, if you are so anti-cord that you do not own a router, a groove cutter allows you to scratch in a straight line if you guide your cut with a straightedge.

— Glen D. Huey

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If you’re looking for more information on inlay, especially Line & Berry inlay, you need a copy of Steve Latta’s DVD “Fundamentals of Inlay, Stringing, Line & Berry.” You can order a copy here.

2 thoughts on “String Inlay Tools – Radius Cutters

  1. owenpt

    Hi Glen, I’ve been following your posts on this project closely, you did a great job and I’m thinking of making one for my wife. I have the Veritas tools, can you tell me if it’s possible to use the thicker (.062″) Lie Nielsen cutter in the Veritas radius gauge?

    Also, thanks for providing the details on the differences between your chest versus the original, very interesting.

    Pete

    1. Glen D. Huey Post author

      Pete,

      I’m sorry to say that switching cutter blades between the two radius cutters is not a possibility. The LN cutter has two holes in each blade, whereas the Veritas blade uses a slotted opening for a center screw to pass. Also, the LN blade does not fit over the keeper pin that Veritas uses to keep its blade from slipping. Even if you would “adjust” the LN hole size, the length of the blade from hole to cutting end is too long to work with the Veritas cutter.

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