Inlaying

Tooth the surface of the lower veneers after the glue has set. Do not have the iron too hot or it may soften the glue of the lower veneer and cause it to rise. In caul veneering both inner veneers should be put down simultaneously with two cauls. The face veneers are then added in the same way. it is possible to apply all four veneers in one operation, but it is safer to do it in two stages. In any case it is not practicable when there are joints in the lower veneers, because these have to be taped, and the tapes have obviously to be removed before the face veneers can be put down.

Inlaying

Nowadays this is generally confined to strings and banding. These are obtained ready-made in a wide variety of sizes, woods and designs, and the work consists mostly of cutting the groove or rebate to hold them and of gluing them. The scratch-stock is mostly used for working the groove, the cutter being filed so that the inlay makes a finger-tight fit in the groove it forms.
Having filed the cutter to size, its edges are square across so that it cuts in both directions it is fixed in the scratch-stock so that it works at the required distance from the edge of the work. Its projection should be such that when the inlay is pressed in it stands slightly proud of the general surface of the wood showing how it is worked with the notch of the scratch bearing tightly against the edge.

Working with the grain presents no difficulties, and if care is taken and the cutter kept sharp a groove can also be taken cleanly across the grain. For a large inlay, however, it is advisable to cut the sides across the grain with the cutting gauge. The chief points to watch are corners where, the groove has to be stopped. The safest plan is to mark the extent of the groove with a pencil, and work the scratch as close up to the corner as can be done safely.  A thin chisel can be used to cut right into the corner, the waste being removed with a small bradawl, after which the scratch can be worked carefully into the corner.

In the case of a fairly large inlay line to be fixed right at a corner, the rebate can generally be cut with the cutting gauge. Set the cutter to slightly more than the inlay thickness and cut deeply in each direction. When the rebate is wide and shallow as for a banding, the width can be gauged and the bull nose plane used for the bulk of the waste. The scratch-stock will finish it off and make it of equal depth throughout.

Fitting the inlay.

To take an example assume that a line is to be inlaid around a panel. With the mitre square mark one end of the inlay and cut it off at 45 degrees. Place it in position and mark the over-all length. Mark in the 45 degrees at this end and cut it with a keen chisel slightly full. Try in position and cut off a little more if necessary. Go round all four sides in the same way.

  • Right Using scratch-stock to cut groove for inlay.
  • Corners marked with pencil to enable scratch-stock to avoid over-running.
  • Fitting inlay line at edge. A line of rebate cut with cutting gauge.

Gluing. Place each inlay close to the groove in which it is to fit. Have the glue really hot and apply it to the inlay by drawing it with a single movement across the brush. Without loss of time place one end in position, press in with the cross-peen of the hammer, and rub straight down from end to end.  Avoid loss of time because the glue chills rapidly. If the groove is the right width there will be enough friction to overcome any tendency for the inlay to spring upwards.

Generally, the glue is tacky enough to hold even a wide banding, but a thumbscrew applied locally will do the trick. In this case put a piece of gummed tape over the inlay and adjoining surface to prevent any tendency for the pressure to cause the inlay to drift outwards. This may easily happen when the inlay is being applied to a rebate rather than to a groove. When an inlay has to go around a curve it is bound to spring and, to hold it in position, two wooden battens with a series of nails in each can be held on either side of the wood with thumb-screws and string threaded around them. After the whole has been tied on the string can be dampened, so tightening it.

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