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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

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How to Make a Bandsaw Miter Sled

The Bandsaw Miter Sled


“I will see it when I believe it.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer…Motivational author and speaker (1940 – )


Bandsaw Miter Sled – a Wood Shop Accessory

Miter Cut on Bandsaw Miter Sled

Miter Cut on Bandsaw Miter Sled

There are many times while in the shop working on wood projects that we find a need of various woodworking jigs and then at times we also will have a need for an assortment of saw accessories. Sometimes we need to make a shop accessory while in the middle of our wood project and then again there are instances when our project is actually the building of a shop accessory. In either case here is a crosscut sled that you may find very handy at some point. Let me introduce you to the dedicated bandsaw miter sled. You’ll be glad to learn how to make a miter sled for your bandsaw.


Cutting a Miter with the Bandsaw Miter Sled

Cutting a Miter with the Bandsaw Miter Sled

One of my favorite cross cutting sleds made in the workshop is the dedicated bandsaw miter sled and the reason I like it so much is because it is great for working with smaller material. Now, often times I will use the dedicated miter sled for the table saw for the miter cutting of larger wood pieces. However, when there is a need to cut a miter on smaller material I choose the dedicated bandsaw miter sled for making the cuts because it too is very safe, accurate, and efficient.


The Beauty of the Bandsaw Miter Slde


Bandsaw miter sled front view

Bandsaw miter sled front view.

The beauty of the dedicated bandsaw miter sled is its simplicity. It is easy to make from wood scraps in just 10 minutes and you will be is ready to cut dead-on miter joints immediately thereafter. One of my favorite uses for this saw sled is miter cutting when fitting and installing bandings of wood inlay. It works especially well when cutting segments for an wood inlay pattern called “Wolf’s Tooth“.




Enjoy these Band Saw Accessories and Techniques: :

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

Bandsaw Crosscut Sled

Bandsaw Rip Fence made in the Shop

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled


“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
…Nelson Mandela, first black president of South Africa & Nobel Prize recipient .(1918- )


The Idea for the Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled


Tilting Band Saw miter sled

Tilting Band Saw miter sled

The idea of the tilting bandsaw miter sled came to me while working on creating a variety of wood inlay banding patterns for various wood projects to be built. Sometimes my choice is to cut inlay segments by using the dedicated miter sled for the table saw and for those operations the table saw technique works just fine. However, my curiosity and imagination has led me to the band saw where my first concern was about the quality of the cut for the inlay segments. It is no longer a concern as this method works very well when cutting miters on flat material. (So far I have been using a 3/8″ band saw blade with 4 teeth per inch. The cut is clean.)


Triangle segment cut on tilting band saw miter sled

Triangle segment cut on tilting band saw miter sled

There are some advantages to using the bandsaw over the table saw when cutting wood inlay segments.

1.) Less material is waste due to a narrower saw blade kerf on the band saw.
2.) It is easier and safer to cut smaller material on the band saw than on the table saw.
3.) More wood scrap can be utilized by using the tilting miter sled on the bandsaw.


The Accuracy of the Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled

The tilting bandsaw miter sled is surprisingly accurate and efficient. (I recommend using a digital angle gauge or an Wixey 8 inch digital protractor to correctly adjust the band saw bed to the saw blade.) It can be built out of scrap material and ready to use in the woodworking shop in just 10 minutes. This miter sled works exceptionally well for cutting miters on smaller flat material where safety concerns could arise if the wood was instead cut on the table saw. To build the tilting bandsaw miter sled use the same techniques as featured in the Bandsaw Crosscut Sled article.


In the photo triangular segments are being cut to uniform length with the aid of a stop block. Notice how the stop block has a 45 degree angle to match the angle of the segment being cut.


 Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled Setup


Side view tilting band saw miter sled

Side view tilting band saw miter sled

Cutting wood inlay segments on the tiliting band saw miter sled

Cutting wood inlay segments on the tiliting band saw miter sled

The bandsaw bearing guide assembly needs to be kept as low as possible for safety reasons. On the operator’s left side the bearing assembly just clears the stop block and the crosscut sled’s fence. The right side of the bearing assembly has more clearance from the sled and as a result there is more exposure to the bandsaw blade. For this reason it is a good idea to have the tilting miter sled long enough to adequately handle a stop block on the left side and long enough to support the flat material on the right side. By designing the tilting miter sled in this manner it allows for a good cutting action and also for a good margin of safety as well.


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Slice Wood Strips on the Band Saw

Thin Wood Strips Cut on the Bandsaw


Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Thomas Edison, Inventor and Scientist (1847 – 1931)

Thin Wood Strips for Wood Inlay Banding

Often times in our woodworking shops we need to cut thin wood strips for our projects and in many cases the table saw is often considered the tool of choice by woodworkers. However, the band saw is proving to be the winner in my workshop especially when very thin wood strips are needed for my wood projects such as wood inlay. The way it is done in my workshop is very simple, safe, and accurate. Plus, less wood becomes sawdust. Join me and learn how to cut thin wood strips on the band saw.


wood strips of wood inlay

Woodworker ripping hardwood veneers for wood inlay

As you can see in the photos there is a band saw rip fence and a Rockler thin rip jig that has a roller bearing. The shop made rip fence is clamped to the manufacturer’s band saw fence and the thin rip jig is secured in the miter gauge slot. For the purpose of this woodworking tutorial we are slicing thin wood strips 1/16″ of hardwood veneer. To do this we first set the roller bearing of the thin rip jig 1/16″ away from the band saw blade. Next, we slide the jig along the miter track so that the bearing is an inch or so in front of the blade. Then we simply turn the knob to lock the jig in place.



Bandsaw blade cuts wood strips of veneer

Bandsaw blade cuts wood veneer

Next, we take our surfaced and parallel board to be cut and place it alongside the roller bearing. We then we slide our thin rip fence next to the opposite edge of the board and lock the ripping fence in place.

Wood Strips of Veneer cut


The Simplicity of Cutting Thin Wood Strips


The beauty of this operation is that it is very simple. The L-shaped rip fence allows for the band saw bearing guide assembly to be lowered so that the saw blade is very well concealed. The rip fence also allows room for a hand or push stick to direct the material past the saw’s blade. As a result, this is a very safe way of cutting thin wood strips. Also, keep in mind that a band saw blade will not kick back like that of a table saw’s blade.


Walnut wood strip of veneer and dial caliper
Walnut wood veneer strip and dial caliper

The veneer being cut in this demonstration is being sliced at a uniform thickness because it is sandwiched between the rip fence and the roller bearing of the thin rip jig. The two slices of veneer are about 30″ long. When measured with a dial caliper along the lengths of both veneers the variance was only 1/64″.


Keep in mind that there is also less waste when ripping thin strips on the band saw because the width of the band saw blades kerf is less than that of a table saw blade. As a result, we are able to utilize more material for our wood projects. The real joy of working with this band saw technique is that allows us to work with confidence knowing that we can make repetitive uniform cuts of thin strips safely and accurately.


More Related Videos:
How to adjust for Band Saw Blade Drift

Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Band Saw Rip Fence made in the Shop


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25…Bandsaw Crosscut Sled

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin…(1809 -1948) English Naturalist

Cross cut band saw sled

Cross cut band saw sled

Sometimes as woodworkers we face a variety of situations that require some versatility and a little thought. This occurred to me one day while making wood inlay bandings in the woodworking shop. There are times that I feel quite comfortable making crosscuts on the 10 inch table saw using one of my cross cut sleds. However, there are other times when the material is small and I feel better using the bandsaw instead because the saw blade cuts at a lesser speed and also has a narrower kerf. Since I have found great success using sleds (miter sled and dado sled) for the table saw I decided to make a crosscut sled for the bandsaw and I am glad I did.

Band Saw cross cut sled with stop block

Band Saw cross cut sled with stop block

The crosscut sled for the bandsaw took only 10 minutes to build. Scrap MDF was used however, plywood could be used just as well. Just make sure that whatever material you select is flat. A piece of hardwood like maple or oak works well when making a runner that will fit inside the miter gauge slot as it will resist the wear of sliding back and forth. A snug fit that slides is what we want. It is important that the runner is cut to just below the table’s surface as we will want the sled to slide flatly on the bandsaw table.

After the runner is correctly dimensioned we take a combination square and mark a 90 degree line from one edge of the MDF to the other edge. We make sure that this line for the runner is at a location that allows for a good crosscutting operation as we want to allow enough length for the body of our stock to lay. We also want enough room for our stop block to be positioned adequately. The next step is to glue and pin nail the runner alongside of the scribed line that we made on the underside of the sled.

Now, the sled is ready to be run 3/4 the way through the bandsaw blade. Next, we pull the sled out and head over to the workbench where we take a 90 degree drafting triangle or a square and line it up against the bandsaw kerf. We then mark a line square to the saw kerf and this will accurately line up the fence for the sled. Now, it is time to glue and pin nail the fence in place. We want to take the time to allow for accuracy as it will pay off handsomely.

Note: On my bandsaw I currently have a 3/8″ blade with 4 teeth per inch and I am quite satisfied with the quality of the cuts I am getting using the crosscut sled. For small pieces it is much safer than using the table saw. As a bonus I am able to use a lot of my smaller wood scraps more often when using this sled.

Learn about the Bandsaw Rip Fence made in the Shop.
See how the rip fence is used for Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw.

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