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November 24, 2014

How to make Wood Inlay Bandings…Part 1

Has there ever been a time when you came across decorative wood inlay bandings that were inlaid into a fine piece of furniture, perhaps a jewelry box, or even a distinctive picture frame. Then you asked yourself the question “How did they create a banding of this design?” A few times I have wondered that same question too. Fortunately, a few years ago I came across a terrific woodworking video. It was on this video that I witnessed a craftsman as he explained the process of how to create wood inlay bandings of this particular design. In part 1 of this article we will learn how to make decorative wood inlay bandings. The following is my interpretation of the veneer inlay techniques.

Pictured above is the look that we are after. Notice how the color designs of the wood inlay bandings are different from one another and yet their basic pattern is alike. This woodworking tutorial will show you how to get two wood inlay bandings for the price of one.
Hardwoods of maple, walnut, and cherry were chosen for the wood inlay. A 7/16″ wide plough was dadoed into the face of the picture frames so the the wood inlay bandings will be made just a bit wider than that. Later they will be trimmed by sanding and then fit into place.

Decorative wood inlay bandings

For ripping I use a thin rip tablesaw jig. Set the bearing of the jig in front to the left side of the blade for your desired width of cut. Now, adjust the board to be cut against the bearing and then slide the table saw fence over to the right side of the board. Then lock the fence. The maple board is ready to be ripped as it has already been through the thickness planer and the parallel edges have been prepared at the jointer. In the picture above notice that a zero clearance insert is being used along with a table saw splitter while ripping. This is critically important to avoid kickback.

Decorative wood inlay bandings

Here you can see the interior strips that are being glued together. Notice how walnut and maple contrast one another.

Hand Planing bandings - Decorative wood inlay bandings

One edge of the banding interior has been jointed with the block plane to form a straight edge. So now we can take the piece over to the band saw.

Creating bandings - Decorative wood inlay bandings

At the band saw we will rip the rough edge off so we will have two parallel edges for the interior of the banding. Then we are ready to create the segments that will form the design for the banding interior.

Decorative wood inlay bandings

The segments are cut on the table saw with the aid of a sled that provides zero clearance. The fence on the left is set to 45 degrees to the sawblade. A preliminary 45 degree cut has been made and now the right side of the blade and the short point of the banding’s angle are in alignment. Notice how the stopblock on the right is set to the long point of the banding. This will give consistent segment lengths for all of our cuts.

Once a segment is cut just simply flip the banding edge for edge and continue this practice after each segment is cut. Note: 1.) A sharp blade is imperative. 2.) Stay on the safe side and wear a faceshield.

Banding segments for wood inlay - Decorative wood inlay bandings

Now the segments are cut and it’s important to organize them because there are two different color designs. If you look closely you’ll see a walnut stripe in each segment center, but you’ll also notice that some segments have a cherry base and some have a maple base.
When the two segment types have been separated from one another and organized into two piles we can then gather the outer rippings for the banding. The outer rippings will serve to sandwich the segments together to form decorative wood inlay bandings.

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