When a woodworker searches the web to learn how to make wood inlay bandings there is little information to be found. In fact there seems to be very little information about how the masters of wood inlay created the wonderful patterns that are sometimes seen on museum quality furniture. However, there are some patterns of wood inlay from the Buffard Freres that offer a glimpse into the world of classic wood inlay from Paris. After studying these inlay designs the urge hit me to figure out how to could duplicate some of these patterns. What I am learning of this “lost art” I will attempt to share with those interested.
When I first began making wood inlay bandings my tool of choice was the table saw. However, my work has evolved and now my band saw is getting a workout. I like working with the band saw for cutting wood inlay segments for a number of reasons.
1). I find it safer when working with smaller or narrower wood pieces.
2.) There is no chance of kickback on a band saw.
3.) The band saw offers a great deal of control when working with sleds and the band saw rip fence.
The Band Saw Sleds:
Also important…The Bandsaw Rip Fence for Cutting Thin Strips
The three sleds and the rip fence each take 10-15 minutes to make and they can be made from scrap material in the workshop. The sleds are highly accurate and efficient. Actually, I had not seen or heard of any band saw sleds before I thought of cutting wood inlay segments on the band saw. My band saw sleds are an original thought that I developed for the purpose of cutting wood inlay segments. The sleds have opened up a new dimension for my band saw work and it’s as if my band saw has suddenly been upgraded.
When preparing stock for wood inlay it is important that the material is dimensioned properly. The material being used needs to be flat and of uniform thickness. I use the open drum sander for this operation.
When using a sled I clamp a stop block to the fence so that segments are cut to a uniform width or length.
So far the segments for the wood inlay I have created have been cut at either 90 degrees or 45 degrees. For the 90 degree cuts I use the crosscut sled. When making 45 degree cuts I use either the dedicated miter sled or the tilting miter sled depending on the particular cut to be made. Keep in mind is that the bandings do not have exposed end grain. The wood grain shown is either edge grain or face grain.