Creating Inlay – One Step at a Time

An oval inlay: Complex, but simple.

I know I’m not alone when I say that even as an accomplished woodworker I still look at inlay work and can’t help but be impressed. It feels like there are so many things going on in a small place that coalesce into a wonderful singularity. But when you start to think of how to approach such a thing, it gets complicated. The trick is to not think of the total, but to think of the simple steps along the way.

The oval fan inlay pictured is a culmination of a number of simple steps. Cut this piece such a way, and if you use this particular tool it’s easier. Little tricks to make things simpler. But how did the white wood (Holly in this case) get the cool shading? Another simple step and one I love to watch every time: sand shading.

Sand shading.

Take a skillet with sand in it, put it on a hot plate, and stick your strips of wood in the sand. Nice trick, and one simple step.

Rob Millard has spent decades researching and practicing the methods of these simple steps to create beautiful inlays and the pieces of furniture that they adorn. And the great thing is he teaches each concept one simple step at a time. Before you know it, you have an extraordinary whole! Enjoy the video.

 – David Thiel

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