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How to Create Barber Pole Wood Inlay Banding

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”
Carlos Casateda…Peruvian-born American anthropologist and author…(1925-1998)

Decorative wood inlay...the Barber Pole Design

The Barber Pole Pattern of Wood Inlay

The barber pole wood inlay banding is one of the more common banding patterns that we see adorning wood projects. While the design may be somewhat common there are numerous ways in which the basic design can be varied. For example a woodworker can simply enhance a project with the basic design or he can add an additional barber pole banding to create a “mirrored” pattern.

The barber pole pattern can be also be doubled to create a feather pattern as well.

Feather wood inlay banding pattern

Feather wood inlay banding pattern

The Buffard Freres of Paris employed variations of the Barber Pole theme to create bandings 1150-1155. With a bit of imagination and patience the possibilities seem endless.

Variations of the "Barber Pole" wood inlay banding pattern

Variations of the \”Barber Pole\” wood inlay banding pattern

Creating the Package:
To create the package for this example we are using contrasting woods of maple and walnut. The finished package will be 4″ wide x 16” long x 2″ thick. (For this example the strips are 1/4″) The walnut and maple strips can be ripped on the table saw or the band saw. Rip long strips that are about 1/4″ x 2″ x about 25″ inches long and glue them together in an alternating manner so that the veneer strips contrast one another. Consider gluing smaller bundles of 2 inches and re-gluing them together to make a wider bundle of 4 inches. Clamp the strips securely with wax paper and cauls to obtain nice, tight joints.
Once the glue has set it is time to clean up the package and dimension it. It can be sent through the open drum sander to create two flat surfaces that are parallel to one another.

Now, we cut a 45 degree angle on one end of the bundle. We then use a combination square and measure 4 inches perpendicular to the 45 degree cut we just made. Make a mark with a pencil and cut another 45 degree angle. Repeat this process and then glue all of these cuts together edge to edge. The finished package should look like the illustration at the top of this page.

Slicing Barber Pole Wood Inlay Banding:
When the package is dimensioned the barber pole section can then be sliced on the bandsaw. In my workshop a thin rip jig with a roller bearing is used along with a band saw rip fence.
Recommended Video…Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Adding the outer veneers to the barber pole:
Once the barber pole sections are sliced from the main package it it time for us to add veneer to the flat sides of the barber pole sections. We create a sandwich of two outer veneers with an interior core of the barber pole sections. We carefully glue and clamp the sandwich together using clamps along with cauls.
Once the glue of this sandwich is dry it is time to clean up the sandwich. Joint an edge and make the other edge parallel by ripping the sandwich on the bandsaw or table saw. Clean any excess glue off from the sandwich.

Ripping Wood Inlay Banding on the Band Saw:
Use the same technique as we did in the above step,”Slicing the Barber Pole.” Set the roller bearing of the thin rip jig to 3/32.” (or your desired thickness.)
Once the bandings are ripped we are ready to install Barber Pole wood inlay that we have made in our own shop!

Note: Barber Pole wood inlay banding can also be created on the band saw with the Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled.

Recommended Article…How to Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay

Watch… Let’s Install Wood Inlay Bandings

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


A Study of Creating Wood Inlay Bandings

How to Make Decorative Wood Inlay Bandings


“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”
Mark Twain…American Author and Humorist…(1835-1910)

Ornamental Wood Inlay Bandings #1

Ornamental Wood Inlay Banding #1

We will refer to the banding in the illustration as “Banding #1” for the convenience of identity.

For this example the dimensions for the inlay package are 4″ x 10″ x 3/8″. For this instance the length of the sliced wood inlay bandings would work well for a typical picture frame that houses a 5″ x 7″ picture. When creating wood inlay bandings we need to keep in mind that the longest length our project will require us to make the banding a bit long. By making the hardwood inlay banding longer it will allow us leeway for cutting and fitting the banding into place to our liking.

A few items of importance with this study of decorative wood inlay bandings:

1.) Notice the direction of the wood grain for this pattern. (The line and arrows indicate the grain direction.) There is no end grain that will be exposed in the finished product.

2.) See how the design is created by using contrasting wood colors. (Example…walnut and maple.)

3.) Notice the sandwich of woods. The thicker walnut on top and bottom has a 1/16″ veneer of maple in between. This smaller sandwich was produced from a longer sandwich and was cut on the band saw using the crosscut sled with a stop block. All the smaller sandwiches have a length of 1-1/4″.

4.) The intermediate blocks of solid maple were cut on the band saw utilizing the band saw crosscut sled and a stop block. These maple blocks measure 4″ x 3/8 x 3/4″. By using the bandsaw crosscut sled they can safely be cut from dimensioned material that has a length of 7″ or so.

5.) The banding is ripped on the band saw to a thickness of 3/32″.

The wood inlay bandings are ideal when applied to furniture, jewelry boxes, and picture frames to name a few woodworking projects.

Recommended Videos:

Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Recommended Reading:

Buffard Freres…The 1926 Wood Inlay Banding Catalog

The Band Saw Sleds:

1.) The Bandsaw Crosscut Sled
2.) The Dedicated Band Saw Miter Sled
3.) The Tilting Miter Sled for the Band Saw

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


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.


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

How to Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay

Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay


The Problem…
When you want to apply quality wood inlay to to make picture frames, where will you get it? What designs will you get? How much will you have to pay for it?


The Solution…
We use our woodworking skills. We also make picture frames with our own shop made wood inlay.  (We will make  picture frames too with shop made mouldings!)


Make Picture Frames that are Decorative


In this post we sharing how to make picture frames with wood inlay. As you seen in previous postings we have been busy creating bandings of shop made wood inlay. There are a variety of wood inlay designs now available for our use at this time. So now we are in the process of creating picture frame moulding that has a dado which will house the wood inlays. The picture frame moulding was created on the tablesaw and on the router table using a 3/4″ round over bit with a ball bearing guide.


The gallery of pictures reveal the set up to make mouldings for picture frames on the table saw and for the band saw. (The router table was set up with the fence and featherboards as well.)

Make Picture Frames with Shop Made Bandings


All the wood inlay bandings are cut to a uniform thickness of just a hair over 1/16″ as measured by a dial caliper. The set up that you see allows for control of this uniform thickness. The shop made bandsaw rip fence has been adjusted for band saw blade “drift” and the Rockler thin rip table saw jig with a roller bearing is set to the desired thickness for the wood inlay bandings. Note: The jig remains stationary for this operation and the rip fence is adjusted before each rip cut is made. Simply slide the material over against the bearing on the right and then slide the rip fence alongside the left side of the material to be ripped. This technique works wonderfully. 1.) Maximize the material as there is very, very little waste! 2.)All ripped bandings are of uniform thickness!


The pictures of the table saw operation reveal a sacrificial fence for the dado blade. Notice how the featherboards control how the material will be maintained during the cut. The is no upward or lateral movement. The only direction for the wood is forward. (This is also applies to the band saw ripping technique…just one direction of movement…forward!)


We can also see the variety of wood inlays in the dados of the picture frame moulding. It’s nice to have a variety of choices to make picture frames. (The mouldings are made from a tropical wood called Cumala.)


Recommended Videos…Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

Making Wood Inlay on the Bandsaw

Check out exquisite wood inlay designsBuffard Freres…The 1926 Wood Inlay Banding Catalog


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


Buffard Freres…The 1926 Wood Inlay Banding Catalog

Wood Inlay Banding of the Buffard Freres

“Never underestimate the power of a single thought.”
Ender…(1966 – ) Salesman and Friend

Buffard Freres wood inlay page10_01...1134...1144

Page 10 of the Buffard Freres wood inlay catalog…1134…1144

I first learned of the Buffard Freres and their creative wood inlay banding through the article entitled Inlay Banding and Buffard Freres. The wonderful and informative article was written by Joseph McDermott. The original postings of this article can be found on Joseph’s site, Fine Fettling. It is here that Joseph relates the finding of a 1926 Buffard Freres trade catalog which contains hundreds of their art deco wood inlay banding patterns.

Decorative Wood Inlay Banding


When I first saw the beautiful wood inlay banding of the Buffard Freres,  I felt excitement. The desire to learn was similar to what I first felt when serving my woodworking apprenticeship. Obviously, these wood inlay banding patterns are so remarkably unique. I thought to myself that these are truly great designs of highly trained craftsman who took the craft of woodworking to a much higher level. The Buffard Freres offered so many exquisite wood inlay designs from which to choose. Then another thought came over me. How are these designs actually created in the woodworking shop?

Suddenly, these wonderful wood inlay bandings became like puzzles to me. It’s as if these works of art were calling and teasing the woodworker in me to figure out how they could be accurately reproduced in the woodworking shop. Needless to say, I have scratched my head a few times along this journey and I feel like I am only at the beginning.


Decoding Wood Inlay Banding

Since many of the wood inlay banding patterns shown on page 10 of the Buffard Freres catalog appear quite complex I thought it would best to start figuring out the process of how some of the simpler bandings could be duplicated.

Bandings 1134 – 1145 are pictured and here is where I’ll begin my interpretation of the woodworking process that I have used in my attempts to recreate these bandings.

Picture frame with wood inlay

Picture frames with wood inlay

Note: Keep in mind that all of the exposed wood grain is either edge grain or side grain. In essence all end grain is concealed.

Bandings 1134 – 1141 are all similar in that all interior segment widths are crosscut and sandwiched between contrasting outer veneers. I interpret this group of bandings as being made using the same essential technique which is applying a horizontally grained segment next to a vertically grained segment within the banding core.

I’ll now use the design of 1140 as an example. Imagine that this wood inlay banding is about 10″ long, 3/8” tall, and is 4″ wide.

The Red Segment:
Let’s say that this segment is 1” long and 1/4″ tall. To make this segment I set up my crosscut sled for the bandsaw and clamp a stop block 1″ from the saw blade and make repetitive crosscuts from a strip that is 1/4″ x 10″ X 4”. (The grain runs along its length.)

The black and white segments:
Let’s say the white segments are 3/16″ long x 1/4″ tall x 4″ wide.

To achieve these segments…Dimension two veneers of the white material that are 3/16″ thick x 10″ long x 4″ wide. (These are the finished dimensions so add a little extra for the length and the width in the beginning. Maintain a thickness of 3/16″. The width and length will eventually be properly sized.) These two veneers will have the grain running along its length. Also, these white veneers will also sandwich the black segment to form a white/black/white segment.

Let’s say the black segments are 3/8″ long x 1/4″ tall x 4″ wide.

The finished dimension the black material will be 1/4″ thickness and 10″ long and 4″ wide. (Make the rough dimensions of the length and width a bit larger.) The grain will run along the length.) The black material will be sandwiched inside the outer layers of the white veneers.

Gluing the white and black segments:

We want the black strip inside of the two outer white veneers. Brush on white glue evenly across the interior surfaces and align all edges. Now use cauls and plastic to cover the outer white veneers. Clamp securely and allow for drying. When the sandwich is dry cut to a finish dimension of 3/4” thick x 10″ long x 4″ wide.

Wood inlay sandwich and segment

Wood inlay sandwich and segment

Crosscutting the white/black/white segments:

Use the band saw crosscut sled and clamp a stop block on the fence 1/4″ from the saw blade kerf. Make a test cut on scrap and use a caliper to make sure that this dimension is equal to the 1/4″ thickness of the red segments. Make adjustments to the stop block as necessary. When we have the dimension equal to the thickness of the red segment we can then make repetitive crosscuts to create the white/black/white segments.

The two Outer Veneers:

The finished dimensions will be 1/8″ x 10″ x 4″ with the grain running along the length. Slightly oversize the outer veneers for now. (Allow for a bit of error as the segments are fit and glued within the sandwich.) The finished dimensions will be cut after the entire banding sandwich is glued and dried.


Gluing the Wood Inlay Banding Together:
Let’s say the two outer veneers are 1/8″ thick x 10″ long X 4″ wide. Take the bottom outer veneer and evenly brush on a light coating of the slow setting white glue across its surface.
1.) Place a red segment on the glue at one end of the outer veneer. (The grains will run in the same direction.)
2.) Brush glue on the sides and bottom of the white/black/white segment and lightly press it against the red segment. (The grain of the vertical white/black/white segment will be perpendicular to the grain of the horizontal red segment. The end grain of the red segment will be glued to the face grain of the white segment.)
3.) Spread glue on the two end grained sides and bottom of the red segment and align it alongside of the white/black/white segment.
4.) Repeat the process for the following segments and end with a segment that is opposite of the starting segment.
(By having opposite segments at the end this will allow us to add continuous bandings strips and maintain the same pattern.)
5.) Once all segments are glued in place on the bottom outer veneer apply a coating of glue on top of all segments and brush on a coating of glue to the top outer veneer. Place the top outer veneer onto the segments to complete the banding sandwich.
6.) Make sure the segments are in alignment. The next step is clamping the wood sandwich. Make sure that you have plastic between the sandwich and the cauls.
7.) When the sandwich is dry it is time the cut it to the finish dimensions of 3/8″ x 10″ x 4″.
8.) Strips of banding can be ripped to 3/32″ on the band saw when our projects call for them.

More Articles and Videos…

Making Wood Inlay on the Bandsaw

The Band Saw Sleds:

1.) The Bandsaw Crosscut Sled
2.) The Dedicated Band Saw Miter Sled
3.) The Tilting Miter Sled for the Band Saw

Also important…The Bandsaw Rip Fence for Cutting Thin Strips

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University


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