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Creating your own Wood Inlay Bandings…The Secrets Revealed

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot…and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s precisely why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan…(1963 – ) Former professional basketball player, active businessman, and majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Wood inlay has a mystique about it. Some of the finest furniture created by craftsmen have custom and intricate inlay designs that cause onlookers to pay special attention and take a closer look. There are times that a simple stringing of wood inlay can make a lasting impression. Then again there are instances when intricate inlay patterns make one stop to try to figure out how in the world the craftsman ever created such a magnificent design of varying colored woods. The problem that remains for many woodworkers is that there is little information to be found on how to create bandings for wood inlay. Here, we begin our journey in how to craft decorative wood inlay bandings.

Consider this article as a preview. In following articles we are going to take an in depth look at how different wood inlay designs are made. We are going to simplify and set aside the mystique of wood inlay. In the woodworking shop we are going to create wood inlay bandings of unique designs that will adorn furniture, jewelry boxes, picture frames, and more. These articles about creating wood inlay in the shop may pleasantly surprise those who decide to follow along. Get ready to take a closer look at creating your own custom wood inlays.

Note: The following is the cut pattern for “Barber Pole” wood inlay. The Tilting Band Saw Miter Sled is used to cut this pattern. The angles are 45 degrees.

Barber Pole Pattern for wood inlay

The following band saw accessories will be used in creating shop made wood inlay bandings:

Band Saw Rip Fence

Band Saw Crosscut Sled

The Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

The Dedicated Bandsaw Miter Sled

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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  1. Vincenzo says

    Hi! I want to sincerely congratulate you for this wonderful tutorial!
    It is very comprehensive and revealing secrets that until now I did not know!Thank you for that.
    Can you explain how to make diagonal band? Those seen in the bottom of the first picture.
    Thanks very much!
    Best regards


  2. Vincenzo…

    Thank you for your interest in wood inlay bandings. The diagonal band that you refer to is called barber pole. ( It used to be more common here in the states that barber’s had a post outside their shop that had this alternating pattern…red, white, & blue. When a man needed a haircut, he would look for the barber pole.)

    You ask a very good question and I will attempt to answer it in a future post. I will demonstrate the technique using sleds on the bandsaw. Showing you by photo or video may be better for understanding.

    Thanks again,

  3. Vincenzo says

    Hi Bob,

    thank you for your reply! Anxiously await your video!
    I have alrady built the Band saw crosscut sled. It’s a great idea!!
    Maybe I have found solution to band inlay, but I want to know what you think.
    If I use a crosscut sled with stop block in a tilting bandsaw and I cut a piece of maple for example 4 x 1 x 40 cm lenght, I get bits of maple diagonal. Is right thi reasoning?
    Of course I would do the same with a dark wood pieces and then would join the sandwich between two maple Lystra.
    Wath do you think?
    Happy new year!!!

  4. Vicenzo…

    Congratulations on building the band saw crosscut sled. You will enjoy it. I think you are on the right track for creating the barber pole pattern of wood inlay. Good job!

    If you return to the posting you will see that I added a picture to clarify the “barber pole’ cut pattern. The angles are cut at 45 degrees by using the tilting band saw miter sled. Choose 2 contrasting woods. Make their dimensions the same. In your case…(1 x 4 x 40.) Cut the segments. Create two layers for the outer sandwich. Carefully glue the segments to the bottom layer while alternating the segments. Make sure of alignment. Brush glue on top of the segments. Add the top layer to create a sandwich.

    Now it is time for clamping. Use plastic or wax paper between the sandwich and cauls. Check alignment and clamp. (white glue will give you more working time than yellow glue!)

    Clean up the “rough banding” and make parallel so thin bandings can be ripped on the band saw.

    Expect to improve as the become more experienced. You will become comfortable with the process once you do this a few times. Keep working at it until you get the appearance you want.

    Hope this helps to clarify the process for you.
    Happy New Year!

  5. Vincenzo says

    Great! Just as I thought! I am very glad to know you!!!
    Ok! I’ll do the tests on scrap pieces before doing the final work!
    I hope to see soon your other brilliant ideas!

    Thank you!

  6. Vicenzo…

    Great to know you as well! One of the great things about creating our wood inlay is that we can make wonderful, ornamental designs out of scrap wood. This is especially true when working with the band saw as there is very little waste. Be creative and use your imagination to find patterns that look good to your eye. Enjoy the process!
    Always welcome…

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