The Easiest Wood Inlay Ever

  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
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This is The Easiest Wood Inlay Ever. By the end of this post, you will know how to make awesome looking easy inlays that are just too easy to be true. Enjoy.

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Woodworking and Inlay Work

The-Easiest-Wood-Inlay-EverWoodworking and doing inlays are part of the same larger family, but in a lot of ways are also very different. Just because you’re good at woodworking doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at inlay.

However, there are some inlays that you can do that are super easy. In fact, there is one and I’m going to show you in this post that is about the easiest thing you can possibly do, and odds are you already done half of the process before.

This will open up a new world of accenting your woodworking projects with inlays. This is a lot of fun, it adds depth and beauty of your projects, and thankfully it’s also really easy.

Here it comes, the easiest inlay you’ll ever do.

See Also: Inlace for Easy Wood Inlays

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Round Inlays are the Easiest

The round inlay, which looks like a flat circle, is the easiest inlay that you’ll ever create. If you can drill a hole, you can do it. Since you are a woodworker, odds are you drilled lots of holes already, which means you are already well practiced.

The only thing that you need to make the round inlay process successful is the material that you’ll embed into your project and sand flush. Once you have that other side of the coin, you literally have everything you need to create the look.

Even though this is a very easy process, don’t overlook the potential for your projects. Round inlays can be done in a number of different sizes, and you can really create a tasteful inlay especially when you see all of the different materials to choose from.

See Also: 5 Super Easy Inlays You Can Start Doing Right Now

Selecting the Dowel Material (wood, metal, plastics)

Just because you’re inlaying into wood doesn’t mean that your inlay piece itself has to be made from wood. To the contrary, there are so many different inlay material types available that you’ll never run out of awesome ideas.

For example, you can use plastic, bone, shell, and metal in your round inlay work. It’s the easiest thing in the world to inlay these materials, because the process is exactly the same no matter what you choose to work with.

A round hole is a round hole. If you plug it with bone, wood, shell, or anything else, the inlaying process is still the same. It’s still super easy, and you’ll get a great looking decoration for your woodworking project.

Even if you can’t find the material that you like in a dowel, you could just make them yourself following the directions in the next section.

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See Also: Inlay Materials For Ring Making

Make Your Own Round Inlay Pieces

Odds are that most of the material you would like to inlay in your woodworking project is not going to be round. Some of the best materials to work with are sold as blanks and they are typically squares and rectangles.

That doesn’t matter though, because with a plug cutter you can create your own round inlay pieces very easily. These come in a number of different diameters, and they allow you to drill into your material and create round pieces.

Once you free these little cylinders from your original blank, they are easy to hack off into small discs that actually become inlay pieces. You can get quite a few pieces from even a small blank, and it will let you work with a lot of different amazing materials.

If you’re into doing round inlays, you definitely need to pick up a plug cutter. Pick up several in fact, because this is super addicting and you’ll really love the process.

See Also: How to Make Fret Dots

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Use the Best Drill Bits

Once you have your inlay pieces created, you need to turn your attention to your drill bit. Not all drill bits are the same, as evidenced by the different looks and the different types of drill bits that you can buy for woodworking.

When you’re doing an inlay, you need the hole to be very clean and crisp on the outside circumference. This makes the inlay tight fitting, which is a key part of the look that you’re going for.

For this, the best drill bits that you can possibly use are Forstner bits and brad point drill bits. These both cut on the outside very cleanly, and they leave a hole that is absolutely perfect for an inlay.

If you don’t have either of these types of drill bits, pick up a set of Forstner that are in the sizes that match your plug cutters. If you only have a few plug cutters, then you can also just buy those three bits.

Now, you’ll have a matching set of inlay tools that will allow you to create both the cavity and the inlay piece for any type of round inlay in several sizes. The tools are inexpensive too, which is great.

See Also: Inlace for Easy Wood Inlays

Gluing the Easy Inlay Piece

The process for making these inlays is really simple. Simply drill a hole that is at least an eighth of an inch deep, though it may need to be a little bit deeper if you’re inlay material is more see-through and not as solid.

Then, cut off a piece of inlay that will fit inside of the hole with a little left over the top for sanding later. If you’re doing wood on wood, then use wood glue to hold them together. If you’re doing anything else, use two-part epoxy.

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Coat the hole and inlay really well, and give the piece a little bit of a twist as you press it down into the cavity. This will spread the adhesive, and help create a really good bond between the two pieces.

Once the piece is all the way in, leave it to cure for the full drying time that is recommended for the glue you are using. Resist the temptation to go to fast, because the sanding process coming up doesn’t work well if the adhesive is gummy.

See Also: 16 Awesome Reasons to Use Titebond Wood Glue

Sand With a Sanding Block

Once the piece is totally dry, break out the sanding block and start leveling out your inlay. It’s very important to use a sanding block for this process and not use your fingers, which will make a really big difference in the final look.

The sanding block creates a flat surface behind the sandpaper, and it helps to isolate the higher parts of your project. In this case, the inlay will be sticking out higher than the surrounding wood, and you need to sand that area only.

The block will help you direct the sanding pressure at the top of the inlay piece, bringing it down level to the surface before you start sanding the surrounding area. This will make your sanding more efficient, faster, and a lot easier to follow through with.

See Also: 17 Important Tips on How to Sand Wood

Use Your New Powers Wisely

Round inlays are super easy, and they’re actually pretty addicting. Things can get out of hand really quickly once you start doing this process on the regular, so watch out for a couple of things in your designs that can get you off track.

First of all, less is more. You don’t need to go absolutely nuts with inlaying round pieces on every square inch of your project. Inlays are supposed to be accents, and it’s through not having very many are you add value.

Think of it as a garnish, not the main dish. The project itself is the main attraction, and the inlays are used to dress up or accent that. Keep them simple and you will be happier with your overall look.

See Also: How to Make a Sandpaper Stick

Round Inlay Tips and Tricks

Here are a few tips and tricks that make inlaying even easier:

If You Like My Posts, You'll Love My Books

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  • It’s all about the material that you use to create the inlay, to spend time finding a really nice looking pieces.
  • A great place to find inlay material is a wood turning catalog.
  • Another great place is the scrap bin at your hardware store, or some of the exotic wood scraps that you have in your shop.
  • Unless it’s wood on wood for your inlay, definitely use two part epoxy to hold those pieces together.
  • Buy a nicer set of plug cutters, because you’ll be using them quite a bit.
  • Invest in a good set of drill bits that match those cutters as well.
  • When you find a nice piece of material, you can pre-cut several inlay pieces just to have around.
  • Inlays also good for covering up screw heads, and brad nail locations that you want to conceal.

Your Action Assignment

Now that you know how to do the easiest woodworking inlay ever, and you probably already have most of the tools as well, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. Find a couple pieces of wood, and start making inlays.

You will be so addicted to this process that you’ll end up doing these tasteful inlays on a number of different woodworking projects. They create fun accents that beautify your projects, and make you look like an amazing woodworker.

If you have any questions on this amazing type of inlay work, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.

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  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.

 

You Can Find My Books on Amazon!

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