There is something special about seeing fine wood projects that are accented by decorative wood inlay bandings. As we well know, wooden inlays have been used by various cultures through the milleniums. As woodworkers we see on occasions wood projects such as furniture, picture frames, and jewelry boxes that are embellished with various wood inlay designs. It certainly is simple enough that one can can always purchase these inlay bandings from online woodworking supplies and have it delivered to the wood shop. However, for the most part the craft of creating wood inlay bandings has been lost. Let’s see what we can do to rediscover the lost art of making wood inlay bandings. Our focus in this article is checkered wood inlay bandings made in the shop.
The hardwoods used for the checkers are mahogany and maple while the outer veneers used to sandwich the checkers is of maple. The beauty of creating our own bandings is that we have the flexibility to make them to whatever size we want. We can also choose whatever species of woods that we want as well.
Each checker in this banding is square, however they can be rectangular as well if one prefers. It is a simple process of customizing the checkers to one’s own liking.
1.) Use white glue to laminate 2 strips of wood together that are of equal thickness, width, and length. (In this case it was maple and mahogany.) Clamp the 2 strips securely with cauls.)
2.) Clean and scrape off any glue once the glue has cured. Joint one edge and rip the opposite edge parallel on either the table saw or bandsaw.
3.) Using the band saw crosscut sled square off one end of the lamination. Clamp a stop block to the sled’s fence set to the desired width of the checker. Now is the time to cut all our wood segments that will become our checkers.
4.) At the workbench arrange the package of the segments and outer veneers.
a.) Layout one outer veneer of maple.
b.) Arrange and glue the segments in an alternating manner on the maple veneer.
c.) Glue on the second outer veneer.
d.) Make sure all segments are aligned properly and are nice and tight to one another. Adjust the wooden package as needed.
e.) Use cauls to securely clamp the package.
f.) When the glue has cured clean up the package. Scrape off any excess glue, joint one edge, and rip the opposite edge on the table saw or band saw.