This is a hard question to answer because inlaying means different
things to different people. That said, here are some comments:
If you are thinking of applying a bit of marquetry to a project, then
you would cut the thin veneers with either an X-acto knife (#11 blade)
or a fret saw (like a jewlers or coping saw with a deeper throat and
very, very thin blades). Straight cuts on veneers can also be made
with a veneer saw. All these tools are very inexpensive and are
www.constantines.com (I am so sad they left the Bronx)
If you want to cut into a surface to "let-in" another piece of wood,
then there are a couple of approaches. You could make a frame to
contain the travel of an electric router or use a pattern and the
router with a bushing. You can also remove material with a manual
router (hard to find) or sharp bench chisels. I sometimes use an
X-acto knife with the chisel blade that works very well on small areas.
Some years ago, I was reworking a banquet table (i.e. a piece of 3/4
plywood with steel legs that gets covered with a table cloth) and tried
an experiment. I made a two piece marquetry assembly (a siloutte of a
lion) which I cut with a X-acto knife. I then made a diamond shaped
frame out of 1 by 2s and clamped it to the new plywood tabletop. I
routed out a recess (inside the frame) to contain my marquetry assembly
and then glued it in place. Worked fine. I can send you a picture or
two if you like. Email me at: bill-at-leonhardts-dot-com.
If you have any other, more specific questions, I'll try to answer
The Zachary Taylor "Inlaying" book has some good descriptions of making
You have a kitchen stove and enough workbench space for a clamp on vice?
That's all you need. Taking small bits of tool steel and hand-grinding
them is enough - even just masonry nails. You can heat treat on a stove.
Most of them though are just woodworking / woodcarving tools in the
You might also find a gunsmith supplier like Brownell's to be useful -
that's were my checkering tools came from.
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