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Inlay vs Veneer

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I'd like to try both some day and that day is getting closer. Someone asked if i could make them a backgammon board and i think it'd be a great excuse to try something new, that I've wanted to try.

My initial thoughts are inlay would allow me to use wood on hand where as I'd have to buy some veneer sheets. Veneer would probably cost more initially if i wanted to do vacuum bags but i could use those for other tasks. I don't think I'd buy a scroll saw i'd probably find another way like an inlay hand saw or using my band saw with a very fine pitched blade and trim with a shooting board or hand plane.

Between inlay and veneer which would be more or less difficult in your opinion.

Between the two which is better long term? I always feel like inlay creates the potential for gaps due to differential wood movement.

I don't have any vacuum equipment or other veneer equipment and was going to take advantage of Lee valley free shipping if i need to. I have an 1/8" and 1/16" strait router bits that i bought to try inlay.

I don't have a scroll saw that is typical for cutting inlay pieces.

I know nothing about either process so it'd all be a learning curve.

 

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I've done both a few times, and I find that inlays are more difficult. Super rewarding, but very time consuming. 

I'd take the chance up get set up for veneering. Opens up totally different builds

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Backgammon boards just have the dark & light triangles, correct? Shouldn't need a scroll saw for that. I think you can go either way on this one, without actually having to buy new gear. The inlays should be easy to do with gear you already have, and the veneer should require just a sharp knife, tape, and a clamping caul for a piece that size.

If you've ever used a bowtie on a crack, then inlay is covered. I'd take a stab at veneer. That lets you use ply, mdf, or whatever as a stable substrate. Making a solid wood game board that doesn't potato chip on you is really the hard part.

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I have seen some pretty fancy backgammon boards, but assuming  your not going overboard on the fancy end, I would try veneer first. Why?  1) Those sharp pointed triangles are nasty to cut into the substrate or inlay.   2) Straight lines are easier in veneer than inlay, IMO.  A board that size can be done without a vacuum bag.  You can use cauls and clamps or glue and and iron.

I would be glad to get you started with some tips and even some pieces of veneer that you could use, if not on the project itself, at least for practice.  Give me call.

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3 minutes ago, Ronn W said:

I have seen some pretty fancy backgammon boards, but assuming  your not going overboard on the fancy end, I would try veneer first. Why?  1) Those sharp pointed triangles are nasty to cut into the substrate or inlay.   2) Straight lines are easier in veneer than inlay, IMO.  A board that size can be done without a vacuum bag.  You can use cauls and clamps or glue and and iron.

I would be glad to get you started with some tips and even some pieces of veneer that you could use, if not on the project itself, at least for practice.  Give me call.

I need to get a rough idea of what i want to do which means some research first. I would like to know how the game is played before i dive into this too far. I'm not sure if you'll be around later this week but i'd love to trade some of my unused router bits for info and maybe a few pieces of veneer that you'd be willing to trade. I'll reach out later this week if your available.

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I have to get an injection in my shoulder a 1 pm on Thursday,  otherwise I am wide open.  I think you have my number.  If not, private message me and we can exchange nos.

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Veneer would definitely be the easier way to go for this.  As mentioned previously, cutting the opening to insert inlay needs to be very precise where as veneer is a matter of precisely cutting pieces to fit together.

As far as glue up is concerned, I don't think you'd need a vacuum bag for something this size.  My favorite go to is sheets of wax paper and a sheet of plywood to get even pressure when clamping.  

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