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Diamond Wood Inlay Banding

 Diamond Wood Inlay Banding 


Part 2

Shop-made Wood Inlay Banding


Diamond wood inlay bandingWood inlay banding with the diamond pattern can be made in the woodworking shop. However, up to now there has been little if any information available on how to make wood inlay banding with the diamond pattern. (You can read all about making diamond wood inlay banding using techniques that I have developed and have written about in a previous article on this blog.) This pattern is very distinctive and can embellish a number of woodworking projects from picture frames, jewelry boxes, to a whole host of furniture pieces. It would work very well as an accent for a table top border. It could also be employed into a number of arts and crafts style pieces. How the diamond wood inlay banding is applied is simply up to the imagination of the woodworker.


Wood Inlay Strips of 3/32″


Diamond wood inlay banding picture frameWood inlay banding that is created in my shop is made to a uniform thickness of 3/32″. This operation is performed on the band saw. These veneer strips are then glued and inlaid into dadoes that are 1/16″ deep. I prefer to keep 1/32″ of the wood inlay banding above the project’s surface. Once the white glue cures, then the inlay banding can be leveled by scraping and sanding. The woodworker just needs to be careful so not to sand through the veneer.


Centering the Banding


Diamond wood inlay banding picture frameBe sure to give some thought to the layout of the diamond wood inlay banding prior to adding glue. For example, it is a good idea to center the wood inlay banding on every side of the picture frame. Doing so will give the wood inlay a symmetrical and pleasing appearance.




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Marking & Measuring Tools

Bandsaw Accessories 

Furniture Plans

Hand Tools



Card Scraper for Wood Inlay Bandings

Card Scraper for a Smooth Surface


Card Scraper: An Inexpensive  Tool of Great Value


A card scraper is an inexpensive tool of flat steel. It is about the size of a index card and is used by the woodworker in the woodworking shop. The edges of this tool are polished and then a burnisher is used at an angle to produce a burr. This burr actually forms a hook. To use the card scraper hold each end with your fingers while pressing forward with both thumbs. This will cause the card scraper to flex. Tilt the scraper forward slightly to begin scraping with the flexed portion of the scraper. One beauty of the card scraper is that the woodworker can utilize the full length of the hooked edge. When that edge dulls, simply flip the card over and use another sharp edge. Each of the two length will have two hooked edges.

The Card Scraper is Often Overlooked


Cosmati Picture Frames - Before Card Scraper UsageThis great hand tool is often overlooked and yet it can help one to produce excellent results for one’s woodworking projects. It takes just a little time to understand how the card scraper is sharpened. However, once you learn how to sharpen one you will be well on your way. (The photo at left was taken prior to using a card scraper.)



Prepare for the Finish 


The card scraper can greatly assist the woodworker when preparing the woodworking project for finish. The card scraper will save one from a lot of heavy sanding to remove milling marks, excess glue squeeze out, and rasp marks. Many woodworkers will generally take a power sander with a heavy grit to remove these marks and then progress to finer grit sandpaper. However, a woodworker can eliminate a lot of the heavy sanding by using the card scraper.


A Card Scraper Offers Control


 Cosmati Picture Frames - After Card Scraper UsageIn the case of working with 3/32″ wood inlay bandings, a card scraper offers the woodworker a great deal of control. The scraper works well with wood segments of varying grain directions where tear out is a major concern. Some may be tempted to use hand planes, a planer, or power sander to level the wood surface. However, there is always the chance of bringing the surface too low thus ruining the wood inlay banding.  Try using a card scraper and then a finer grit sandpaper to prepare for your choice of wood finish. (The photo at the left was taken after using a card scraper.)


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How to Make a Picture Frame – Top Woodworking Tips

Wooden Picture Frame - How to Make a Picture Frame - Top Woodworking TipsHow to make a picture frame: There are probably as many woodworking methods and techniques on how to make a picture frame as there are woodworkers. With that said, this woodworking video and article will focus on a process that simply works very well in my woodworking shop. I think you will enjoy and find these top woodworking tips useful for your woodworking. You will notice that the written article has a step by step approach for how to make a picture frame. As you study the top woodworking tips featured in this woodworking article, you will see that there are also time sequences relating to the video. These times will help you to better understand the events in the video and article. If you are new to woodworking, I encourage you to study this video and article time and time again. There is a lot of basic woodworking techniques used in this process that will help to advance your woodworking skills to a higher level.

Top Woodworking Tips

We are demonstrating: 1.) How to rip our material safely on the tablesaw.  2.) How to make a picture frame moulding detail on the router table. 3.) How to use a dado blade set to create a rabbet and plough on the picture frame moulding. 4.) How to cut our picture frame moulding to a rough length using the crosscut sled on the table saw. 5.) How to make a picture frame with perfect miter joints. We use a miter sled on the tablesaw for this operation. 6.) How to secure our picture frame miter joints accurately and efficiently by using Ulmia spring clamps.

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Note: This article and woodworking video is part of a series. The other videos will focus on how to make splines miter joints,  how to create shop-made wood inlay bandings, and how to cut and fit decorative wood inlay banding to the picture frames.

Preparation to Make a Picture Frame

Material Preparation: We determine how many picture frames that are to be created. This in turn dictates how much material we need for our job. In order to make a picture frame we need to work with dimensioned material. 1.) We start with rough mahogany boards that need to be dimensioned. 2.) Surface one side of the mahogany on the jointer. 3.) Run our material through the planer to achieve a 3/4″ uniform thickness.  4.) Joint an edge on each board so that it is straight and square along its length.

How to Make a Picture Frame

The woodworking video begins

Ripping on the Tablesaw

1.) (0:00) Set the width of the desired cut by adjusting the tablesaw fence to the saw blade. 2.) Adjust the saw blade height so that the saw teeth are about 1/4″ or so above the material being ripped. For safety’s sake there is really no need to have the blade any higher. The less the sawblade exposure the better.


1.) There is a sharp 10″ table saw blade installed for the cuts to be performed.

2.) The table saw blade is accurately set to 90 degrees by using a Wixey Digital Angle Gauge. Wixey Digital Angle Gauge - How to Make a Picture Frame - Top Woodworking Tips

3.) A zero clearance insert with a splitter is installed on the tablesaw to avoid the possibility of kickback. (0:18) In the video watch how the splitter keeps the saw kerf open. We want an open saw kerf . If the saw kerf closes this could lead to the material binding on the blade causing a potential dangerous situation called kickback.

4.) Eye protection and hearing protection is used by the woodworker while working with the machinery. The dust collector is also on during the machinery stages.

5.) (0:28) An outfeed table for the tablesaw is utilized. The outfeed table allows for ease of working as well as an element of safety.  The woodworker can confidently push the material through the sawblade without the need to reach across either the tablesaw and the spinning saw blade.

6.) (0:44) The Pushstick: Take a look at the type of pushstick used in the video. It has the shape of a shoe. The reason that this push stick is used is to obviously keep the hands of the woodworker away from the blade. This pushstick also guides the material forward while keeping the material flat on the tablesaw. Pay close attention the the feedrate that the woodworker applies. He is simply allowing the table saw blade to cut through the material at a controlled pace.

7.) A clear space on the table surface to the woodworker’s right allows him the to conveniently lay the ripped material. This allows for ease of operation and organization.

The Router Table Setup

A router table insert is used along with a router. 1.) Align the router table fence to the bearing of the router bit with the aid of a straightedge. (In this case a framing square was used.) 2.) Clamp the router fence securely in place. 3.) Adjust the router bit is to a desired height. This preparation is performed using a scrap piece of the picture frame moulding.


1.) (1:02) A plastic featherboard is securely in place on the router table a few inches before the router bit. This feather board has two knobs which lock it into position in the metal track. The featherboard is adjusted so that the material is able to ride along the router fence without any lateral movement. This control makes for a straight and uniform moulding cut.

2.) (1:41) A shopmade featherboard is clamped to the router table fence a few inches before the router bit. The maple featherboard keeps the material flat against the router table surface to allow for a straight and uniform moulding profile.

In a nutshell, these featherboards allow for the woodworker’s safety while controlling the shape of the moulding profile. There is something else that is quite important though. By having the featherboards in place, the woodworker is able to work confidently and with piece of mind. He knows he is reducing the margine for error by working safely.

3.) Watch the feedrate of the material as the woodworker takes a pass. Notice the depth of cut compared to the hardness of the material. How much material should be removed in one pass? Too heavy of a cut can create a safety issue or cause the router bit to burn the material. Too light of a cut is unproductive. Remember to make your first pass with a practice cut on a piece of scrap picture frame moulding. Once you are satisfied with this setup, it is just a matter of running the moulding profile on the rest of the material.

4.) (1:47) Notice the pushstick used in the router table operation. It is made from plywood and is about 12″ long. The pushstick is held at an angle to control the material while being guided through the operation. The all important pushstick  allows the woodworker’s hands and fingers to be clear of the spinning router bit.

The Dado Blade Setup

1.) (2:02) Freud Super Dado 8-inch Stack Dado  is used in the dado operation.

2.) (2:10) A shopmade tablesaw insert is used for a zero clearance cut.

3.) (2:10) A shopmade sacrificial Dado Fence is clamped to the Biesemeyer Table Saw Fence.

4.) (2:10) A Dial Caliper accurately measures the depth and width of the rabbet cut.

5.) (2:19) Both featherboards are in place to control for safety and the accuracy of the rabbet.

6.) (3:00) The dado blades and fence are adjusted to create a plough (or groove) on the face of the picture frame moulding. This will be the location for the decorative wood inlay banding. (3:32)

Tablesaw Crosscut Sled

1.) (3:34) The mahogany picture frame moulding is being crosscut to a predetermined rough length. The top and bottom members of the picture frame are shorter than the side members. So, we need 2 separate lengths of picture frame moulding.

2.) (3:58) Notice how the adjustable stopblock on the rail of the crosscut sled is being used. Once the initial moulding member is measured for length, a pencil tic mark is made on the moulding. Place the moulding along the sled’s rail. Now, set the pencil tic mark on the sled’s saw kerf edge closest to the stopblock. (4:05) The next step is to simply slide the adjustable stop block to the square end of the moulding from where the measurement was initiated. Now, all rough cuts will be guaranteed a uniform length. (4:18)

The Tablesaw Miter Sled

1.) a.) (4:27) Prepare for the initial right miter cut of the shorter members of moulding. b.) (4:33) Set the left end of the picture frame moulding  just over the miter saw’s keft. c.) Secure a stopblock by clamping it to the miter sled fence.  d.) Cut all the initial right miter cuts for the shorter lengths of picture frame moulding. Mitre Sled for Table Saw _ How to Make a Picture Frame - Top Woodworking Tips

2.) (5:32) Using the same procedure as above, make all initial right miter cuts for the longer members of moulding.

Determine the Length of each Moulding Member

Long Picture Frame Member: (6:28)

1.) a.) Working from a plan or previously made picture frame, take the measurements from the inside edge of the frame. In the video you’ll notice the woodworker line up a long member of the moulding to match a miter of an existing picture frame. b.) (6:31) Place a pencil tic mark at the short point of the opposite (left) miter. This determines the length of the longer member.

2.) a.) (6:40) Line up the pencil  tic mark with the miter sled’s left edge of the saw kerf. Make sure that the inside edge of the moulding is flush against the miter sled fence. b.) (6:55)  Clamp a stopblock along the miter sled’s fence where the long point of the opposite miter is located.

3.) (7:05) Proceed to trim the left miter.

Short Picture Frame Member: (7:31)

1.) a.) Determine the length of the short picture frame member by laying the miter on the existing picture frame or the plan. b.) (7:39) Along the inside edge of the moulding place a pencil tic mark at the short point of the miter that is to be cut.

2.) a.) (7:51) Place the pencil tic mark on the left edge of the miter sled saw kerf’s edge while making sure the inside edge of the short member is flush against the miter sled fence. b.) (7:58) Secure the stop block to the miter sled fence.

3.) (8:09) Turn the tablesaw on and cut the left miters for all the short members.

Dry Fit the Picture Frame Members:(8:23)

1.) Align each miter joint precisely.Ulmia Spring Pinch Clamp and Miter Joint - How To Make a Picture Frame - Top Woodworking Tips

2.) Secure each miter joint using an Ulmia spring pinch clamp. (The Ulmia miter clamp pliers and the Ulmia miter clamp rings are also featured in the woodworking video.)

Gluing and Clamping the Miter Joints:(8:45)

1.) Brush on white glue to each joint side with an acid brush. Make sure there is enough glue, but not too much. Reach a happy medium.

2.) a.) (8:59) Work on a flat surface while aligning each miter joint. b.) Open the clamp ring and release the pressure to secure the joint. c.) Continue this routine until all 4 joints are aligned properly. (9:35)  Good job!  d.) Proceed to the next picture frame to be assembled. e.) Develop a rhythm to your work and enjoy the process. f.) Place stickers under each picture frame and away from the wet glue during the drying process.

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33…Let’s Install Wood Inlay Bandings

Wood Inlay Bandings – How to Install


“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
Edgar Allan Poe…American Writer, Poet, Editor (1809-1849)

Cutting and Fitting the Wood Inlay Bandings


In this episode we are installing the decorative wood inlay bandings that we have created in the woodworking shop. The wood inlay bandings are going to be fit, cut, and installed into picture frames that are made from Cumala, a Peruvian wood. Since we are doing production work it is important to have a convenient setup and in this instance we have the band saw near the workbench. We are using the band saw miter sled to cut the miters of the wood inlay bandings. This allows for quick, accurate work. Once a miter is cut we simply turn around and touch up the miter on the sanding black to remove any possible edges. Then it is time to fit of the wood inlay banding. We simply work our way around the dado of the picture frame fitting the wood inlay bandings as we go.


Watch the video…Let’s Build a Bandsaw Miter Sled

Notice on the workbench we have raised our working level another 20″ by utilizing a portable shop made tool tote. This makes our wood project easier to see and it also makes it more comfortable on one’s back. On the floor between the workbench and the bandsaw we have anti-fatigue mats which add comfort for the feet especially when standing for long periods of time.

When cutting the wood inlay bandings on the band saw miter sled notice how we keep the bandsaw bearing guides low. This is for safety reasons and also eliminates deflection of the bandsaw blade to provide a good cut for the miter.


Gluing the Wood Inlay Bandings in Place

Once all the wood inlay bandings are fit into the picture frames it is a matter it is a matter of gluing the inlay into place and allowing it to dry. When dry the picture frames will travel through the open drum sander to level the top surfaces of the wood inlay bandings and the frames. We will closely look over our wood project and apply a final sanding as needed working our way to 320 grit sandpaper. Then it is time to apply our favorite wipe on wood finish.


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How to Make Spline Miter Joints

Spline Miter Joints

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
Goethe…(1749-1832) German writer, Polymath


The Beauty of Spline Miter Joints


Splined Miter Joints on a Picture Frame with Wood Inlay - Spline miter joints

Splined Miter Joints on a Picture Frame with Wood Inlay

Spline miter joints offers strength and elegance. It is a joint that wants to be seen and recognized unlike many other joints that serve a utilitarian purpose and are concealed. Often times spline miter joints are made of contrasting colored woods and that is this case of the species chosen for the joinery of this arts and crafts style picture frame selected for this posting. The frame is made from a Camala, a light toned wood from Peru and the spline miter joints for the joinery is cut from black walnut.


To create the spline miter joints we use a shop made spline miter jig that is simply made from scrap plywood in the woodworking shop. The jig has a 90 degree cradle that seats the picture frame and is held in place with a spring clamp. When cutting spline miter joints a flat tooth saw blade is used so that the walnut spline will fit into the saw kerf without any exposed gaps present. In this instance a 1/8″ dado blade is chosen for the task.


Watch how to: Make Picture Frames with the Dedicated Miter Sled for the Table Saw


Location of the Spline Miter Joints


It is a good idea to determine the location we want for our spline miter joints to be cut on the picture frame. Once this placement is made we can simply clamp a piece of scrap into the jig and to make a test cut. We will need to adjust the rip fence in or out as we will be sliding the miter jig alongside of it. Also, we need to set the saw blade height as this will represent the depth of the cut for the spline. Once these settings are adjusted it is simply a matter of carefully making a pass through the blade and then repositioning the picture frame for the next miter to be cut.


Learn: How to Make Perfect Miter Joints


Once all the cuts have been made for the spline miter joints, we can focus our attention on making the spline material. In this case it is 1/8″. Start by ripping the spline a bit wider than the depth of the miter cut and then dimension the material equal to the width of the joints’ saw kerf. Once we achieve the proper thickness for our splines it is time to cut enough triangular pieces for all joints. This is performed by using the dedicated miter sled for the band saw. It makes for quick work and it is very safe especially for working with smaller sized material.


Gluing the Spline Miter Joints


When all the splines are cut we simply brush white glue onto the spline and press the spline into the saw kerf. Now, it is just a matter of repeating this procedure for all the joints. At this point allow for the glue to set at least an hour before sanding the excess of the splines at the disc sander. (Be careful to just remove the excess of the splines and avoid sanding into the frame. Notice how the miter gauge was used to control the sanding.) When all the spline miter joints are finished with sanding at the disc sander we can then use a block sander to detail the joints in preparation for applying one of my favorite wood finishes.


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