String Inlay Tools – Radius Cutters
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.)
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.
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.