My son-in-law, more or less a beginning woodworker, wants to make a
coffee table with a thin border or trim line (not sure what the right
term is) in a contrasting color about 1/4" in from the edge of the top
and the faces of the legs.
I may not be describing this very well. The top will be made from
rails about 3" wide, joined at the corners with 45 degree cuts, with a
glass insert for the center. He would like a thin line (1/16"?) like a
border about 1/4" in from the edge all the way around and a similar
border on each face of the square, straight legs.
I suggested that he get some veneer in the contrasting color and
"inlay" it into a groove cut with a router using a bit of the same
width as the veneer. Is this the best way to do this?
1/16" is very thin, a bit wider might be more easy.
There exist special tools to do that, they look similar to a marking
gouge, and they cut two parallel cuts into the wood and remove the strip
in the middle. You could also make a cut with the table saw and glue a
strip of contrasting wood into that. Its rather easy to do if you make
a strip that is as wide as the groove you cut but somewhat thicker, so
that after the glue has dried you plane the part that stands proud of
the surface away, so that you get a perfect surface.
BTW: If you want a fancy light inlay that looks like ebony: Make a
good flesh soup and keep the bone, dry it, cut with a hacksaw into
strips and use them. Its work, it stinks like burning hair while
doing so, but the result is amazing! (Once done it gives no odour at
There is an article in the Dec 03 (#166) issue of Fine Woodworking that
describes "Stringing and Banding" (which is the term for what your son wants
to do), how to make a simple scratch stock that cuts the grooves, the use of
a spaghetti cutter to make the stringing, and gluing tips.
You really need to search out this article, as it will answer all your
questions regarding this operation.
Michael Fortune uses fine line inlays in many of his pieces. He's
got a simple tool for cutting the groove for the fine line inlay.
He starts with a cabinet scraper and modifies it with files.
Here's the url to some info I put together after attending one
of Michael's demos on fine line inlaying,
inlays with the grain can be any length but acrossed the grain
is where expansion/contraction become an issue. You can break
up those line inlays to avoid cross grain line inlay problems.
If he wants to spend some bucks, a good plunge router, an
appropriate router bit, a fair to good dial caliper AND the
Micro-Fence (www.microfence.com/) will really get him into
it. The Micro-Fence was invented by a furniture maker whose
dad is a machinist. Between them they came up with a
wonderful precision wood working tool.
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