Learn how to make Wood Inlay Bandings
Wood Inlay Bandings
Learn how to make wood inlay bandings so that you can decorate your woodworking projects. There is something distinctively special about creating something in your woodworking shop with your own hands. For a lot of us, this is one of the main reasons we chose the craft of woodworking. It just feels good to use our learned skills to make something out of wood that is worthwhile. It even feels better when we can create our wood project and then embellish it with our own shop-made decorative wood inlay bandings. So, let’s go into the details and learn how to make wood inlay bandings.
“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But, I can’t accept not trying.” …Michael Jordan
When we learn how to make wood inlay bandings we find that it can be very beneficial to make wide banding logs. It really takes no more time and effort to make a wider log than a narrower banding log. As a result of creating the wider log, we will have plenty more decorative wood inlay bandings. For example, the inlay banding log shown in this posting will make about 32 lineal feet of decorative wood inlay bandings. This will work very well for a single large woodworking project or it could simply set the theme for related wood projects.
To make our wood inlay bandings on the band saw we need to start out with two lamination patterns. Notice how each lamination mirrors the other lamination. One is walnut, maple, and walnut while the sister lamination is maple, walnut, and maple. Keep in mind, it is critical that the dimensions of one pattern match the other pattern. (We use a dial caliper to ensure accuracy of the measurements.) Essentially, we are using the exact same techniques that we have used when we created “Wolf’s Tooth” wood inlay bandings.
The band saw serves as a safe, efficient, and accurate power tool for slicing our wood segments needed to create the wood inlay bandings. The table of the band saw is set at 45 degrees as the shopmade tilted band saw miter sled along with a stop-block is used for a controlled cut of the laminated wood segments.
Note: A general purpose 3/8″ x 4TPI bandsaw blade is being used for cutting banding segments.
Notice how the two lamination patterns match up and provide a contrast with one another in this photo. With this contrast we are creating a geometric pattern that catches the eye. As one can see, there is an alternating pattern of light and dark wood tones.
When all the wood segments are cut it is important to separate and organize them. This is critical as we want to make sure we have a uniform pattern free of any stray segments. Also, by laying out the wood segments ahead we have a good idea how long the outer laminations will need to be. (The tape measure in the photo reveals that the banding log will be 30″ long.)
Blue painter’s tape is used to help align the wood segments during the glue-up. It’s important to square up the first segment with a combination square and you’ll notice that the edges of the segments are also referenced off of the edge of the work table. We want to make sure that we have a good layout of the bottom row of segments before we start applying any glue. When we are satisfied with the layout of the bottom row we can then begin to apply our glue up while laying in the top row of segments.
Note: The bottom segments shown in this photo are the walnut, maple, walnut pattern. The top layer segment pattern is maple, walnut maple.
My preference of glue for for my wood inlay bandings is white glue. I like the fact that white glue gives me more time working time before it sets up. For me this is especially important as my workshop is in the desert where we typically have a low humidity and also can have very high temperatures. I also prefer the thinner viscosity of white glue to that of yellow glue when working with inlay bandings. For long and wide surfaces, apply the glue from the glue bottle and then use a scrap block as a trowel to distribute the glue. However, acid brushes work very well to spread an even coat of glue onto the individual banding segments.
A contrasting wood is chosen for the outer veneers. Apply an even coating of glue to both the outer veneer and the surface of the glued up segment package.
Note: During this glue-up the outer veneer will have a tendency to slide out of alignment with the segment package. Make sure that both components remain in alignment to one another by wrapping blue painters tape around the total glued-up as shown in the photo.
Apply a caul to the top of the banding package and evenly distribute firm pressure with the clamps. Then, allow adequate time for the glue to cure.
When the glue of the wood inlay banding log is cured it is then time to remove the clamps and clean up the banding log of any excess glue. Hand scrapers come in very handy for this operation. After the dried glue is completely removed, then joint one edge. Then place the jointed edge against the fence of the table saw or band saw so that the opposite edge of banding log can be ripped and made parallel.