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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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The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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.

 


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

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.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

24…Band Saw Rip Fence made in the Shop

“Necessity is the Mother of Invention”
Plato….Ancient Greek Philosopher…(428 BC-348 BC)

Shopmade Band Saw rip fence

Front view Band Saw rip fence

The band saw rip fence is an invaluable saw accessory that is easy to build and provides for the safe operation when ripping low profile material. This at certain times cannot be provided by the manufacturer’s band saw fence. Obviously, when working at the tool the woodworker wants to limit the exposure of the band saw blade for reasons of safety. The workshop made band saw fence provides for safety by allowing the band saw guide bearing assembly to be lowered down to just above the horizontal rip fence. This happens because the L-shaped rip fence has side clearance for the bearing assembly to be raised and lowered. As a result, there is less band saw blade exposure to the hands of the woodworker. Join me as we learn how to make a band saw rip fence in the workshop.

The band saw rip fence proved to be quite useful for Hardwood Inlays made in the Woodworking Shop.

The fence is simple to build and scrap in the woodworking shop can be used for its construction. MDF was used for this fence because that’s what was readily available. However, plywood or similar material can be used also. Make sure that your choice of material is straight and flat. It will just take you 10 minutes to create the band saw fence and once you make it you will wonder why you did not make one sooner.

1.) Rip two strips of your chosen material on the table saw to your desired width and cut them to the length of your band saw.

2.) Create an L-shape fence by adding some yellow glue and then use pin nailer to fasten it.

3.) Add a ripping of hardwood (like oak or maple) to the edge of the band saw rip fence nearest the saw blade. This will provide a usable surface for years to come.

Note: The shop made band saw rip fence can be clamped to the manufacturer’s fence or it can be clamped to the band saw table when allowing for drift of the band saw blade.

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

Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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