Inlays for Woodturnings
This article is going to show how I do drill press inlays for woodturnings. The picture below is what I will be building in this article. This looks much more difficult than it actually is.
The picture below shows the layout for the inlays. I started by drawing a line the length of the board perpendicular to the edge. This line should be 1/2 the diameter of the inlays plus about a half inch away from the edge. I'll be using 1.5" inlays so the line needs to be 3/4" plus 1/2". So I will draw the line 1-1/4" from the edge. Next the inlay centers need to be marked. With a 1.5" inlay the centers need to be 1-3/4" apart. This will leave a space of 1/4" between the inlays for mitering later. Be sure to make the board longer then is need so when your mitering you have something to safely hold on to when the board gets short.
The next picture shows the holes for the inlays already drilled. Both the holes and the inlays are 1.5" in this ring. The best drill bit for the job is a Forstner bit because it will drill a clean hole.
Heres a picture of a Forstner bit for those who have never seen one.
The picture below shows a couple of the inlays (plugs) and the plug cutter used to cut them. This type of plug cutter is very aggresive. Be sure you clamp your work to the drill press base. You CAN NOT hold the board with your hands. You must secure the board to the base.
Now that all the holes are drilled and the inlays cut they can be glued in. Be sure to orient the grain the same direction as the board. This will look better and also will prevent the turning from cracking. If you put them in with the grains perpendicular to each other they could cause the turning to fail when there is normal expansion and contraction. I have also added the lines where the mitering will be done. These lines need to be inside the circle slightly. This makes the pattern continuous. Also we need to do this because we will be cutting the ring in half. I number each inlay so they can be glued together in the same order to keep the grain in the board lined up.
I cut the segments with a miter saw moving the blade back and forth. With a normal ring I wouldn't move the blade at all but flip the board. With this type of ring I don't flip the board so I must move the blade. The picture below shows some of the segments already cut.
Now glue the segments together into two halves. We do this so we can correct any errors in the ring.
After correcting the two halves glue them together to form a full ring. Next we need to split this ring down the middle. If you have a bandsaw large enough you can do it that way. My bandsaw isn't large enough so I mounted the ring on a plywood disc connected to a faceplate and parted the ring in half on the lathe. Now that they have been split they need to be corrected so we can glue them back together. The picture below shows the ring split.
Now that we have split the ring it needs to be corrected. I did this by running it thru the performax. If you don't have a performax you can do this with a disc sander. I took quite a bit of material off all four edges. I wanted the ring to be a bit shorter in height. I also took a bit off the two centers of the ring to make the pattern more oval rather than just being round. You don't have to do this but its what I wanted for the turning I'm using the ring for. Now you need to glue the two rings back together but not in the same orientation. Turn the rings slightly and you will see the pattern form. This is one of the only times I ever use a clamp in segmenting. The picture below shows the rings clamped back together.
Once the glue dries you should have a ring like the picture at the top of the page. Now all we need to do is add a woodturning to the ring.