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Archives for October 2010

Wolf’s Tooth…a Decorative Wood Inlay Banding

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.
…..Aristotle, Greek Philosopher (384 BC – 322 BC)

Inlay Wood...Wolf's Tooth...Custom Inlay Banding

Wooden Inlay...Wolf's Tooth...Custom Inlay Banding

The “Wolf’s Tooth” decorative wood inlay banding pattern is a wonderful custom inlay used to embellish furniture, picture frames, wooden boxes, and a host of other woodworking projects. The wooden segments (teeth) were cut on the table saw equipped with a Forrest Woodworker II 40 tooth saw blade. Also, the dedicated miter sled was used in order to maintain precision and to create uniform triangular segments which make up the “teeth” of this hardwood inlay banding. White glue is used instead of yellow glue to allow a greater working time when assembling the segments into position within the banding “sandwich.” Veneer inlays called “bandings” will be sliced on the band saw at about 3/32″. The bandings will eventually be fit and let into a plough or dado of the wood project to be decorated.

Wolf's Tooth...Wood Inlay Bandings

A mahogany picture frame with decorative wood inlay banding of cherry, walnut, and maple.

The African mahogany picture frame reveals how a custom wood inlay banding like the “wolf’s tooth’ pattern can enhance a woodworking project. This hardwood inlay banding consist of maple, cherry, and walnut. Notice how the colors of the various hardwoods contrast one another within the repetitive pattern of the “teeth” and also how the borders play off of the mahogany picture frame. The wood inlay banding naturally draws attention to the picture frame and further draws awareness to celebrate the photograph.

A banding with the same “wolf’s tooth” pattern is shown below the picture frame. This particular veneer inlay includes maple, cherry, and walnut within the “teeth” pattern however, the outer border consist of walnut and holly. The pure white holly will create an even greater contrast than a maple border when inlaid into a wood with a dark tone.

(By the way…The photograph is of my Great, Grandfather along with his two prized working mules. The photo was taken on his farm outside of Salem, Missouri where he and his family were a few of the early settlers in this area during the 1850’s.)

Learn more about wood inlay by studying “How to make Bandings for Wood Inlay…Part 1” and “How to make Bandings for Wood Inlay…Part 2.”

Watch the following wood inlay videos:

Creating bandings for wood inlay

Wood Inlay…the Bandings are ready

How to install Wood Inlay

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Thank You for your Support!

For all of you woodworkers who are following The Apprentice and The Journeyman woodworking blog I just want to take a moment and say thanks. Your interest and support is truly amazing and inspiring. Woodworkers like you from all corners of the globe are now checking out the blog and it is quite fascinating to watch its growth and development.

As a fellow woodworker, I would like to thank all of you who support this woodworking blog when you visit and when you click on our sponsor’s links. Craftsman like you nourish the growth and development of the blog when you make a purchase at no additional cost to yourself through The Apprentice and The Journeyman store. (It is an affiliate store.) My intention is to maintain free woodworking content for all of the woodworking community and your clicks and purchases make a huge difference. Thanks very much!

Hardwood Inlays made in the Woodworking Shop

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”
…Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Segments of a custom inlay.

As we near the holidays it’s time to start planning ahead for gifts that will be made in the woodworking shop. In the picture you can see many wood segments that have been cut on the dedicated miter sled for the table saw. It’s quite important that the angles of the segments are consistent so that they line up tightly within the decorative wood pattern. However, this job is quite easy to accomplish with the miter sled and a stop block. This particular pattern is referred to as “Wolf’s Tooth” according to page 136 of Pierre Ramond’s tremendous book, Marquetry. These segments will be glued together and sandwiched between two laminated strips of of holly and walnut. This “wood sandwich” will wind up being sliced on the band saw and the strips will become known as wood inlay bandings. (The custom wood inlay banding to be created will be part of a DIY wood project, the making of picture frames.)

A Stop Block on the Miter Sled

In the photo to the right the stop block controls the length of the custom inlay segment and the 45 degrees angle is created by simply keeping the laminated wood strip flat against the miter fence. When an angle is cut the strip of laminated wood is then flipped over to make make another angled cut. This forms another segment. From this point it is simply repetition as many segments are needed to create the wood inlay bandings.

Once the wooden inlays are created the woodworker is free to inlay furniture, embellish picture frames, or perhaps inlay boxes. It’s just a matter of letting one’s imagination express itself to create a one of a kind piece.

Learn more about wood inlay by studying “How to make Bandings for Wood Inlay…Part 1” and “How to make Bandings for Wood Inlay…Part 2.”

Watch the following wood inlay videos:

Creating bandings for wood inlay

Wood Inlay…the Bandings are ready

How to install Wood Inlay

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Segmented Wood Turning…a Cherry and Walnut Bowl

Segmented Wood Turning


Segmented wood turning is a unique craft and for some reason this 2-1/2″ x 9″ fruit bowl of cherry and walnut is one of my favorite segmented bowls turned on the wood lathe. It’s as if this segmented woodturning has claimed me and I’ve become rather fond of it. There are other bowls that I’ve turned on the wood lathe that are more complex and more challenging. However, this wood bowl has won me over. Perhaps, it’s the simplicity of the wood design and the contrast between the cherry and walnut. Maybe it is just the simple shape of the bowl that pleases. Anyway, there is just a warm feeling about this wood project with 11 staves and vertical spacers. It was a satisfying and enjoyable time designing, cutting, assembling, and turning this arts and crafts project.

“Learning never exhausts the mind.”
Leanardo da Vinci…Painter, sculptor, engineer, inventor, etc. (1452-1519)

Segmented wood turning project on a wood lathe chuck

The wood art of segmented wood turning is captivating as 90% of the work is spent in designing, dimensioning material, cutting, fitting, and gluing. Once the wood turner mounts the wood project to the lathe chuck it’s just a matter of selecting the wood turning gouges for shaping, carefully sanding, and then applying the wood finish. The entire woodturning process is fascinating yet it is critically important to get all of the joints aligning properly for a good tight fit. This requires patience and concentration. It either make it or break it time as there is no in between or margin for error at this point.
Segmented wood turning - Chuck for wood Lathe

A wooden bowl ready for turning on a lathe - segmented wood turning

Part of the fun of this wood craft is the strategy used in mounting and turning the wood projects. There’s also the craftman’s choice of wood turning tools to use for cutting and shaping. The process of segmented wood turning is almost like playing chess where it helps to think a couple moves ahead.

Lathe tools shape the wood fruit bowl - segmented wood turning

Part of the beauty of handmade bowls such as this one is the joinery that you don’t see. There is a mortise and tenon joint where the base is let into the staved walls.

An arts and crafts fruit bowl of segmented wood turning

Segmented wood turning - fruit bowl awaits the varnish

The cherry will deepen in color as time goes by and the fruit bowl will develop a nice, warm patina. Yet, something tells me that my appreciation of this simple wooden bowl and the time spent turning the wood project on my wood lathe will deepen as well. So, give segmented wood turning a try. It just may grow on you.

Learn more about Segmented Wood Turning

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Zero Clearance Table Saw Inserts

“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.”
Jonas Salk…American medical researcher and virologist.

Shopmade zero clearance table saw inserts greatly improves the safety and efficiency of the table saw. New table saws come with an insert. However, are the factory inserts always the best option for the woodworker? The gap alongside of the saw blade of the original table saw insert is wide which can lead to tear-out and also cause more sawdust to fly. Also, safety concerns arise when wood debris falls into this opening next to a spinning saw blade. Have you considered a zero clearance table saw insert yet?

Table Saw Zero Clearance inserts

Vairous sized Table Saw Zero Clearance inserts

Zero clearance table saw inserts can easily be bought or the woodworker can simply make the inserts in the woodworking shop. Either way you choose is the right way and you’ll be glad you made the choice. Once you begin the habit of using a table saw insert you will wonder why you didn’t use them previously. You will also feel like your level of craftsmanship went up a few notches and you will soon see improvement in the quality of your work. (When making a crosscut on the table saw with a sharp blade and a zero clearance table saw insert you will prevent tear-out.)

Phenolic zero clearance table saw inserts can be purchased inexpensively. Some inserts are already sized to fit the throat of your specific table saw model. Then there are phenolic inserts that are purchased oversized so that with a little work you can fit it to the throat opening of your saw.

Some woodworkers choose to make their own zero clearance table saw inserts from material they have readily available in the woodworking shop. Baltic birch plywood, solid wood, or MDF can be used. The choice is yours. When you have zero clearance table saw inserts, you will be working more confidently as well as more safely.

Table Saw Zero Clearance insert with a splitter

A Table saw splitter safely keeps the saw blade kerf open.

A Table Saw Zero Clearance insert

A splitter on a zero clearance insert.

A Finish nail keeps the zero clearance table saw insert flat in the table saw.

A finish nail will hold the zero clearance insert from lifting out of the throat.

If you make your own zero clearance table saw inserts:
1.) You will want a good snug fit in the throat opening of the table saw.
2.) Make sure the top surface of the insert is adjusted so it is even or just slightly below the table saw surface.
3.) Make sure the insert does not have a tendency to lift out of the throat opening. Add a small finish nail to the end of the insert farthest from the operator.
4.) If you make a zero clearance table saw insert for a single table saw blade that will be used for ripping material be sure to always have a splitter in place. The splitter keeps the saw blade kerf open and helps to prevent any binding or table saw kickback.

An assortment of zero clearance table saw inserts can prove to come in handy. If you work with dado blades it’s a good idea to have a number of table saw accessories already made. This way you will have an insert to use with various dado blade combinations. Also, if you work with a dedicated dado sled for the table saw you will be glad to have different sized zero clearance table saw inserts.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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