Federal-style Inlay: Bellflowers and Stringing

The August 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking (which is at the printer now) features a Rob Millard article on Federal period inlay.

Rob walks through the steps to cut, sand shade and inlay one-piece bellflowers, dots and stringing to transform an ordinary tapered leg into a stunning work of art that has New York-style design characteristics.

Within the article, Rob explains how he sets the groove for his 3/64″ curved stringing. He uses a double-bladed knife that he’s found so helpful that he has decided to produce and sell the tool ($21) through his web site at americanfederalperiod.com. He also describes a set up to create your own twin-blade knife using a couple hobby knives, a very small C-clamp and a few pieces of scrap as shown in the photo below.

And, if you’re a typical woodworker who’s interested in Federal-period work, you’re looking for as much information as possible. To that end, Rob has provided us a portion of his hand-drafted drawings , also available through his web site , of a New York-style leg. Click below to open a PDF of the drawing.

This is a technique you can develop for use on similar legs and other Federal furniture, or apply the technique to any of your work to further pump-up the design.

Check out Rob’s video on cuffbanding here.

Millard Leg Drawing.pdf (480.83 KB)

– Glen D. Huey

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One thought on “Federal-style Inlay: Bellflowers and Stringing

  1. Steve McDaniel

    I’m really looking forward to this article. I have some stringing planned for a few upcoming projects, and I look forward to reading about Rob’s methods.

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