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Decorative Wood Inlay Bandings with Checkers…A Step by Step Process

Decorative Wood Inlay Bandings with Checkers

Decorative wood inlay bandings are something that woodworkers appreciate. However, there is very little available information on how to create decorative wood inlay bandings in the woodworking shop. Having been inspired by the works of the Buffard Freres, I would like to share with you the techniques used to create decorative wood inlay bandings that have worked for me. The following is one of the wood inlay banding tutorials that I have created for the purpose of sharing with you. It is specifically for woodworkers who desire to bring the lost art of creating decorative wood inlay bandings back to life. Please enjoy and freely share with a friend.

“Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn’t then it is of no use to us.”
Carlos Castaneda…Peruvian-born American anthropologist and author…(1925-1998)

Decorative Wooden Inlay Bandings #2 with Checkers

Wood Inlay Banding #2 with Checkers

(This banding design will be referred to as Banding #2 for the sake of convenience.)

Decorative Wood Inlay Bandings #2 with checkers

Learn the wood craft of how to make decorative wooden inlay bandings in your woodworking shop. Make woodworking inlays for furniture, picture frames, jewelry boxes, and other wood projects.

Decorative wood inlay Bandings #2 with Checkers can easily be understood and made in the woodworking shop if we take a few minutes to understand the basic layout. The challenge of understanding this design becomes clearer when we are able to recognize the various components of the banding and isolate them. This banding has three essential components. We will call them Stripes, Checkers, and Outer Veneers.

Decorative Wood Inlay Bandings #2 w checkers- TheStripe

Stripe

The Stripes:
1.) The Stripes consists of three strips of wood that are dimensioned equally to one another in length, width, and thickness. Of the three strips there are two of the same color with a contrasting color sandwiched in between. A long section of the Stripes is easily created by applying wood glue, using cauls, and clamping securely.

2.) The Stripes will be crosscut to their necessary lengths. (more information on this to come.)

Checker design for decorative wood inlay bandings

Checker

The Checkers:

1.) A Checker consist of three vertical sections. These sections are crosscut from two Stripes of the same design, but opposite color patterns. Let’s look a little closer at a Checker. The center vertical section is just like the main Stripe. (light woods on the top and bottom with a dark wood sandwiched in between.) This interior Checker member is crosscut to the thickness of one Stripe member.

2.) The left and right vertical members of the Checker are crosscut from opposite Stripes. Notice how the left and right vertical members consist of a dark member on the top and on the bottom with a light color in between. These members were crosscut from a Stripe which consists of dark wood for the top and bottom with an lighter colored wood sandwiched in between.

The Outer Veneers:

The Outer Veneers are simply dark strips (top & bottom)that serve to sandwich the Stripes and the Checkers. The Outer Veneers have the same width as the Stripes. The Outer Veneers cover the length of the Stripes plus the Checkers. The thickness of the Outer Veneers is based on the proportion that we think looks best.

Milling:

We need to dimension both of our contrasting woods to the same width, length, and thickness. The woods will make up our Stripes and our Checkers.

We can dimension the Outer Veneers to our liking at this time also.

Note: All grain direction is to be along the length of the banding.

Buffard Freres...Stripes and Checkers Wood Inlay p10 - Decorative Wood Inlay Bandings

Buffard Freres…Stripes and Checkers Wood Inlay p10

Gluing Stripes and Checkers:

We need to create two opposite Stripes. One Stripe will have a two light members on the top and bottom with a dark member at the interior. The opposite Stripe will have two dark members on the top and bottom with a light member at the interior.

Create each Stripe by brushing on equal amounts of glue. Use cauls and clamp securely. When the glue has completely set it is time to clean up each stripe by removing any excess glue. Joint an edge of of each Stripe and them make the opposite edge parallel by ripping it on the table saw or bandsaw.

We create the Checkers by crosscutting sections of the two Stripes. We will cut these sections by using the band saw crosscut sled. (A clamped stop block will ensure uniform repetitive cuts.) We want to cut a test section and check it with a dial caliper to ensure the width of our cut is equal to the thickness of a Stripe member. This measurement is critical to the overall design and balance of this banding pattern.

When all of of Checker section are cut to dimension is is time to glue them. We add a light coating of glue and carefully align the squares of the pattern. We then add small clamps and allow for the glue to set. Once the glue has set we clean off any excess glue.

Recommended Video…Bandsaw Crosscut Sled

The Layout:

1.) Let’s say we want a finished banding that is 10″ long. If we want an even number of Checkers we then divide total length of the Package by an odd number.
(Example…Our overall banding length is 10″. If we divide the overall length of the Package 5 we will have (5) 2″ sections. this means we will have (4) Checkers will be centered every 2″ along the length of the banding.)

2.) Create a story pole that is 10″ long. From one edge make a mark at 2”, 4″, 6″, and 8″. These marks represent the center of our Checkers.

3.) Cut the Outer Veneers two inches longer than the length of our desired banding. (The Outer Veneer will 12″ long in this case.) Find the center along the length of the Outer Veneer and make a mark on the edge. Now we can center our story pole on the mark we made on the edge of the veneer and layout the centers of all our Checkers. (Use a combination square to transfer these centering marks across the bottom Outer Veneer.

4.) Our Checkers will be centered at these locations and the Stripes will fit in between them. Measure the length between two Checkers and cut all Stripes that are needed to the same length.

Decorative wood inlay bandings

Buffard Freres …Wood Inlay design similar to Stripes and Checkers

Gluing the Package:

1.) Brush glue on the lower Outer Veneer and glue all members to the proper positions. Glue on the top Outer Veneer, add cauls, and clamp securely.
2.) Clean off excess glue once the glue of the package is dry. Joint an edge and then rip the other edge parallel on the table saw or band saw.

3.) Find the center along the length of the package. We then measure 5″ to each side to create the 10″ finished banding package we are looking for with this example. Make a mark at each location and cross cut both ends to achieve our desired length of 10 inches.

Ripping the Bandings:

Recommended Video… Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

1.) At the band saw we set a thin rip jig in the miter slot 3/32″ from the band saw blade. The bearing will be set 1/2″ in front of the blade. We will set a thin rip fence on the left side of the blade. This needs to be inline with the angle of the band saw blade’s ”drift.” (Test to determine this angle beforehand.) Also, make a test cut to determine the accuracy of our 3/32″ thickness of our banding.

2.) After our test are completed it is time to rip our bandings to a uniform thickness. With the band saw in the off position place the right edge of of our Package against the bearing of the thin rip jig. Now slide the thin rip fence alongside the left edge of our Package and secure the fence. Turn on the band saw and rip a banding. Repeat and enjoy the process.

What are your thoughts on making shop-made decorative wood inlay bandings?
What patterns of decorative wood inlay bandings interest you?
If you create your own decorative wood inlay bandings, what techniques do you use?

Recommended Reading… Buffard Freres…The 1926 Wood Inlay Banding Catalog



The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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.

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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

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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.
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Variations of the "Barber Pole" wood inlay banding pattern

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

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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

 

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

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