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inlay into plywood.


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#1 lmccullin

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:59 PM

Is other any difference when it comes to doing inlay with plywood?Over hard wood?

#2 EG2011

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 10:15 AM

I have done a lot of inlay on hardwood, and have never attempted it on plywood for several reasons. Not to tell you not to do it, but here are a few points for you to consider:
First, I would be concerned about tear out and other ugly things that would happen trying to use the router for very precise cuts.
Second, more importantly, are you sure that you want to do inlay in plywood? Inlay is a very time intensive and precise, beautiful art form, and it seems to me as though it is not necessarily appropriate for a piece made of plywood. Like, if you want to go to the trouble of doing inlay, don't you want the finished piece to be solid?

Just my 2 cents... (and bear in mind this is for inlay more along the line of what Marc does with the leaves in his video on inlay, as opposed to just a thin decorative strip, or something)

- EG

#3 higtron

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:11 PM

I've only done inlay a couple times so for what it's worth, my method is to score the outline of the inlaid piece with an exacto knife than routed the majority of the inlay area, than cleaned up the the rest with a chisle. If you score the ply first tearout shouldn't be a problem I'd try the method out on some scrap plywood that should tell you whether you want to proceed on the project, work the bugs out first.

#4 Imdanuts

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 01:17 PM

You would have to have your inlay depth perfect. No way to sand if you wind up a little high or low.
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Darrel Hunter (dlhunter)

#5 Rob Horton

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:48 PM

Certainly doable. EG points out it's not the sort of love you would normally lavish on plywood. But if plywood's not worthy of a Hokusai tableau, I could see embellishing it with some modest borders: stringing, trebles, etc.

It would have to be high quality plywood. You want the thickest possible face veneer to keep from burning through when levelling the inlay. And it goes without saying that higher quality plywood would have prettier face veneers anyway, making it more suitable for adornment.

I say go for it. What'cha making?

#6 TRBaker

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:57 PM

I think Darrel and Rob have hit on the real issue with plywood. The veneer thickness on most plywood would make it very difficult to sand the inlay flush without burning through the face veneer on the ply. You might have more luck using a cabinet scraper, but it seems to me that you risk having a lot of work go down the drain with one little slip; not to mention an eighty dollar sheet of plywood.
Troy

#7 Chris H

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:02 AM

I think Darrel and Rob have hit on the real issue with plywood. The veneer thickness on most plywood would make it very difficult to sand the inlay flush without burning through the face veneer on the ply. You might have more luck using a cabinet scraper, but it seems to me that you risk having a lot of work go down the drain with one little slip; not to mention an eighty dollar sheet of plywood.


I agree. If you have the tools, (Table saw, Planer/Joiner, and Biscuit/Domino joiner) I think its more economical to machine actual hardwood to use. Depending on species, you are looking at spending more on the plywood than 4/4 hardwood. I would forgo the plywood if possible. It will be a bit more work, but I think you will get better quality results for less $.

#8 longahc

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:33 PM

I've done this before with fine results. I built a corner desk that used cherry plywood that was essentially three pieces joined together and edged with 8/4 walnut (think two pieces to make an L shape and then a triangle within the inner portion of the L). To hide the seams I routed a half inch dado into the plywood and inserted a piece of walnut. I planed a walnut board until it fit tight in the 1/2" dado and then used the TS to cut off strips that I put in the dado. Then I used a scraper to even this up (being very careful not to touch the ply) - used 180 grit sandpaper to finish it all off.

It took a lot of time - and I'm sure a more experience WW would have a better approach - but it worked and the results were worth it. And I don't think I could have made the configuration I did with solid wood due to seasonal expansion.

#9 duckkisser

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:46 PM

you wouldnt be able to sand down much you would burn through the ply. but it can be done if your carefull

#10 lmccullin

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 08:31 PM

Thank you all for the great help. I will try inlay in hard wood first. This way i can see how much time it would take and decide if I want to try it in plywood.

#11 jHop

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:33 PM

I don't see a problem. Just takes a little extra time and care, that's all. If you've never done it before, aren't you going to be spending that much extra time and care anyway?

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#12 Particle Board

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:58 PM

Its not any harder in plywood as long as you get a good plywood. You dont want voids. Dont get me wrong Im no pro at inlaying I have a plotter for veneer inlaying so I cheat.

Don

#13 duckkisser

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:04 PM

are you doing a wood inlay or a stone/metal inlay of powdered material.

#14 higtron

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:51 PM

Hey Don what's a plotter? I've never heard that term before.

#15 jHop

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:14 AM

My uncle had one years ago. It had a carousel of 6 felt tip pens that the "claw" would grab. It ran like a CNC machine, back and forth across a fixed axis, while the paper runs front to back like a printer. They typically use AutoCAD (or some other CAD software) to draw out images for use. Some use them for art, others use them for work.

(I used it for play, but that's beside the point.)

They have probably advanced beyond that point that I'm familiar with, but the concept is the same. I'd hazard that the CNC machine is based off the same concept, with tool changes being done instead of pen changes. (The pens were various colors, but my uncle used a set that was all the same size. Of course, he went through three times more black than the other colors. It seems to be used far more often.)

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#16 Particle Board

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:41 AM

Hey Don what's a plotter? I've never heard that term before.


Yup jHop hit it on the head. Today they are still old school but are affordable replaced by wide format printers. Primarily I use it to make big shop drawings instead of little 8.5" x 11" I can make them 24" x unlimited. Makes it easy to see details like joinery, wether a joint uses a hoffman can be seen at a glance rather than reading fine print because you dont get those details in small drawing. Machining details like querk sizes and elevation details make it easy to see exacly how many thousanths of an inch the shaper cutter needs to be raised and and same goes for fence push.
Today we reverse plot real life cutter cross sections with the regstration laser. This allows one step machine set up and repeatability.
As far as veneer goes the pen is replaced by a cutter that rotates with the cut. The cutter is a very tiny razor and the bevel on the razor can be adapted for different materials. We have all seen those vinyl letter on signs and trucks those are made on a plotter. Veneer is cut the same way with a twist you can make premade inlays. You can make just the inlay male portion or both the male and female allowing you to just press the full panel in one shot in the vacuum press.
I also cut finish mask for two tone or blending finish masking operation. I can full scale a shop drawing, cut a mask full size apply and spray. Normally you mess around with blue tape and paper. Masking come in rolls 24" wide x 100 yards long. Think of masking as a giant roll of masking tape. Also works for template making you dont have to have shop walls covered in templates when you have a full size vector of your prototype. Simply cut it out on finish mask, place on hardboard and cut out as you normally would no glue, tape or staples to mess around with.
I can go on and on but you get the point how they are used in a shop. The best part is they are cheap along with increased productivity.

Don

#17 higtron

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:03 PM

Thanks Don & jhop sounds like a useful machine I would love to see one in action.

#18 Particle Board

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

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Thanks Don & jhop sounds like a useful machine I would love to see one in action.


Here ya go im out of thin veneer and dont know how to make a video.

#19 higtron

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:34 PM

Thanks Don I missed ya man, You could teach us all a thing or two. Is there anything you couldn't make in that shop of yours I for one wished you could make a video or two.





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