I am making a picture frame that has three kerf grooves about 1/8" into the
frames. The plan calls for an inlay of a contrasting wood. I don't have
the right tools to make the inlays of wood and don't want to spend the
money on the wood for such a small project. My thoughts originally was
just to leave the kerf cut there as an accent detail, but after looking at
it and much thought I was thinking of using a dark walnut woodfiller in the
kerf cut grooves. Any thoughts on this? Will this stand the test of time
and last a lifetime? What else do I need to consider with this idea? Any
suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated!!
If anybody wants I could post a Pic of the project so you could get a
better idea of my problem ( concern )
Sure, I have some thoughts, though I have to say they're not based on
experience with the exact situation you describe, just conjecture.
I'd guess the wood filler would not last as long as real wood - I can
imagine it cracking, drying out, etc., and not looking very good. Why
are you concerned about the cost of wood to fill it in? Assuming 1/8"
x 1/8" strips, a piece of walnut that was 1" square x the length of
your frame should theoretically be more than enough wood, even with
losses to kerf width. Even if you got a 1x2" piece to have a bunch of
leftover, and it was 24" long, you're talking 0.33 bd ft, which is less
than $2 worth of decent walnut. Ask a local hardwood dealer if they
have a scrap bin. Maybe someone here would even be willing to send you
a little stick of walnut.
Just rip it down (carefully, with pushsticks, on a bandsaw if possible)
a little wide, sand to fit, glue it in, and use a little walnut dust
with the glue if there are tiny gaps. I'd try a few practice kerfs on
scrap (and still have wood left over).
Just my 2 cents,
Rockler also sells 1/8" thick lumber, and I'm sure you can find enough
other stuff to buy to make the shipping less significant ;) But yeah,
there's nothing wrong with having a bit of nice wood leftover for the
> I am making a picture frame that has three kerf grooves about 1/8"
> frames. The plan calls for an inlay of a contrasting wood. I
> the right tools to make the inlays of wood and don't want to spend the
> money on the wood for such a small project. My thoughts originally was
> just to leave the kerf cut there as an accent detail, but after
> it and much thought I was thinking of using a dark walnut
> kerf cut grooves. Any thoughts on this? Will this stand the test
> and last a lifetime? What else do I need to consider with this
> suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated!!
Ditto.... wood filler will look like ....well, woodfiller. Epoxy will give
you an accent line that just a solid color of whatever pigment or filler you
add. Coffee, ground to a powder, added to epoxy will give you a nice dark
This might be easier than you think. I'm assuming you have a table
saw that you used to cut kerfs in question, right? If the answer is
yes, then all you have to do is set your fence to 1/8" for a full kerf
blade, or 3/16" for a narrow kerf, and rip your contrasting wood. You
can rip it again in the other direction to get it closer to the depth
of your kerf if you like, but it's very easy to sand or chisel off in
any case, because the kerf is thin.
Run a bead of glue down the kerfs in the frame, and press the strips
you ripped in. Sand, plane, scrape or chisel them down until they're
at the height you want them at, and then cut the miters from the
finished stock. If you've already got the miters cut, no problem- cut
the strips close to where they need to be, then sand them flush with
the mitered corner.
I've done this a number of times, and it's much simpler than it may
seem if you haven't tried it. Should even be possible with a circular
saw with a rip fence if you're careful.
I would avoid the wood filler, myself. It likes to pop out. If you
want to fill it with a chemical compound instead of wood, I'd try
tinting some clear epoxy to the color I wanted and use that. Can even
mix in some metal or stone chips for visual interest if you like.
If you use a good material it should be fine.
You can mix 3 lb shellac with wood flour to make a srned good
wood filler. Or you can do the same with epoxy and I've read
that you can use tempura paint pigments in epoxy. Or, if
grey is appropriate, use JB-weld, a metal-filled epoxy commonly
found in hardware stores.
Black walnut fades to an amber color as it ages, and it
also can take on a chatoyance that the fillers will lack.
This also sounds like a candidate for painting. For a moulding I painted
the overall molding with a semi-gloss, that added a gold paint over the
decorative grooves. I used a small brush to make sure the grooves were
filled, then used a rag to wipe off all of the gold glaze except that
trapped in the grooves. The gold color grooves really sets off the deep red
wood of the frame -- and you could go the opposite direction, with a
light-colored wood and dark red (or other dark color) glaze in the grooves.
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