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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

How to make Bandings for Wood Inlay…Part 2

In Part 2 we continue to learn how to make decorative wood inlay bandings.

Once the banding segments are organized we can now focus on creating the interior design. We’ll need a few outer rippings that will sandwich the segments together and keep them in alignment. You’ll notice in the picture that the outer hardwoods are walnut and maple glued together. In this case the walnut will be on the inside with the maple on the outside. The reason for this is to create contrasting colors within the wood inlay bandings. This will stand out nicely once laid into the mahogany picture frames.

Here you can see the completed wood inlay bandings as they appear after gluing. 1.) Notice how the triangular segments nestle and align with one another. 2.) Also, take a close look at how the maple, walnut, and cherry contrast one another within the pattern’s design. 3.) The length of the wood inlay bandings are a greater than the longer side of the picture frame to be inlaid. This means a full wood inlay bandings length can be inlaid into the frame which eliminates smaller banding pieces being fit and glued. 4.) Two for the price of one…The two wood inlay bandings pictured are of similar design, however their interior designs have opposite color combinations. (Remember that we organized the segments into two separate piles in Part 1.)

The block plane has jointed one side of the wood inlay banding being held in the bench vise and now the designs for the wood inlays are clearly revealed.

The two wood inlay bandings pictured are a result of our work in this tutorial. Each of the wood inlay bandings shown above will be more than enough for a picture frame.

The first wood inlay banding pattern has been ripped on the bandsaw and we have (6) bandings of 1/8″ thickness. The second banding pattern will produce the same.

A simple mitre jig clamped to the workbench and a fine toothed dovetail saw are all that are needed to cut mitres for our wood inlay bandings. You will notice in the companion video, How to install Wood Inlay that a sanding block is used to trim the decorative wood inlay bandings for proper fit. The sanding block is simply a fine grit sanding belt from a belt sander tightly wrapped around a block of wood.

Now it’s just a matter of trimming and fitting the inlay into the project. Note: When sanding the finished project remember that the banding is fairly thin and that the wood veneer can quickly disappear.

Once you acquire the skill of creating wood inlay bandings you’ll more than likely develop a desire to create more banding designs. You’ll likely find yourself making “wood jewelry” in your woodworking shop. Moreover, if you are a woodworker like me you’ll soon have a family of inlaid frames on your walls as well. Good luck with your inlay and fine woodworking projects and be sure to let me know if you have any questions. I hope you enjoyed this inlay how to and if you would like to share your wood projects be sure to send them to this link.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

How to install Wood Inlay Bandings

How to Install Decorative Wood Inlay Bandings

Decorative Wood Inlay Bandings on a picture frameThis woodworking video offers a tutorial of how to install decorative wood inlay bandings into the face of a mahogany picture frame. The workshop made wood inlay bandings are comprised of maple, walnut, and cherry veneers.

Note: The woodworker in this video demonstrates a highly effective and accurate method of installing wood inlay bandings into picture frames. The craftsman uses a shop made miter box along with a dovetail saw to cut the miter joints of the bandings by hand. The sanding and fitting of the wood inlay bandings is performed with a large sanding block that has a sanding belt from a belt sander. Once the the wood inlay is fit, it is then glued in place. When the glue sets, the picture frame is sent through an open drum sander so that the bandings and the face of the picture frames are leveled with one another. As you will see in the later wood inlay videos, the woodworker cuts the miters of the wood inlay bandings on the band saw using a band saw miter sled.

Picture frames with decorative wood inlay bandings

You know how it is when you have a special photo of family or friends and you want to have an equally special frame for it. We as woodworkers have a tremendous advantage because we can create the picture frame to match the occasion. Also, we can select the woods that we want to set the mood for the picture as well as create the style that we want for the picture frame. On top of that we can even embellish our woodworking project with a custom made wood inlay banding if we choose. A custom wood inlay just takes a little thought, desire, and patience. The end result to create wood inlay bandings with wonderful designs. It is within the reach of all of us.

Recommended Video:

Creating bandings for wood inlay

How to install Wood Inlay

Learn How to Make Wood Inlay Bandings

Let’s Install Wood Inlay Bandings

Making Wood Inlay on the Bandsaw

Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Wood Inlay Banding – How to Make Barber Pole Banding

Wood Inlay…the Bandings are ready

More information about Wood Inlay

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

The Splined Miter Joint

How to Make a Splined Miter Joint

Splined mitre joint jig used on the table sawThe woodworking video shows how to make a splined miter joint on the table saw using a splined miter jig that is made in the woodworking shop. The jig for the table saw is easy to make and yet very accurate when cutting miter joints that include a spline. Notice how the plywood miter jig is slid along the surface of the table while sliding also against the table saw fence. Also, an 8 inch dado blade is used to cut the slot for the spline while a clamp secures the picture frame to the miter jig.

Walnut spline miter joints for a mahogany picture frame.The Splined Miter Joint is a decorative yet very strong joint. The addition of the spline and glue makes a regular miter joint all the more stronger while aiding in keeping the miter joint nice and tight. By using a wood spline that is of a contrasting wood, the woodworker can achieve a very distinctive appearance at the miter corners. This is why it is a favorite woodworking joint used when making a picture frame. (This joinery was cut on the table saw with the aid of a sliding woodworking jig. The splined miter joint can also be cut on the router table as well.)


Walnut splined mitre joint in a mahogany picture frameNote: The grain of the wood spline needs to be in the slot at a right angle to the miter joint when glued in order to give the splined miter joint its full strength.





 Recommended Videos:

Let’s Make Splined Miter Joints

Let’s Make Picture Frames with the Dedicated Miter Sled


How to Make Perfect Miter Joints

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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