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Stringing and Inlays


When we come up with these ideas in the first place, we are never sure if the only people who will turn up are the two members who suggested it.

So, from a presenter’s point of view, I was pleased when we had more than 27 people attend to find out what we had to say.





I started the session talking about the use of stringing to add decoration on what may be a plain piece of furniture or box, traditionally ebony or beech would inlayed using hand tools such as the Veritas String Inlay tool and an Inlay thicknesser.

Tools and Samples of String Inlay

Pictures of a hall table recently completed by Jeff Kenny with inlay that really lifts the piece to a higher level.

Once you are familiar with the process you can move on to cutting your own inlay from thin timber or multiple layers of veneer, together with using a trimmer and router bit then you are not restricted by size or thickness or even colour.

Once you go down this path you can include many of the commercial inlays, Paua shell, mother of pearl, gold leaf plus many more.

Jewelry Boxes with Inlay



Roger showed us an inlay test that he had created to demonstrate the different options available, how he mitres commercial inlay and his corner cutter that cleans out the rebate before you fit a mitred inlay.

Corner Chisel and Pens with Inlay

He uses a trimmer router for this work or alternatively, wherever possible, his CNC machine which will consistently provide a better rebate for the inlay.

Roger uses MOP in a lot of his work and normally makes his own from Abalone or pearlshell using diamond core bits with a water dispenser, he also uses brass inlay with resin, Banksia nut and Red Morrel.

He used to make chopping boards with a resin inlay, but these are no longer popular, however he still uses resin when making pens and turning.

Inlay Test Piece and Pen Blank

He has a dedicated mould where he combines resin and timber to make a blank for turning. When turned, embellished with MOP and finely sanded (including with car polish), the results are outstanding!



Martin brought along a variety of the tools he uses to provide a rebate for his inlay strips, all hand tools including a range of marking gauges, often modified with a scalpel blade or hack saw, including two sizes of wheeled marking gauges, router plane and carving chisels all different shapes, including a nail bent and sharpened.

Various Inlay Tools

He always mitres corners using a sander. Martin’s preferred finish is polyurethane, frequently as many as twenty coats or more are needed to get the finish he likes.

The options for inlay are endless, Martin will inlay earrings, glass beads or MOP in different shapes and sizes, he even uses eggshell, powders, or gold dust. He showed us how he used a small poly pipe and gauze to get a consistent spread pattern on top of a wet polyurethane finish.

Circles are created using a trammel point and cutter.

Various Inlay Pieces


Veritas String Inlay tool -

Veritas Small Router Plane -

Australian Mother of Pearl -

Andrew Crawford Boxes -

His books: The Book of Boxes, Fine Decorative Wood Boxes

Veneer Inlay -

DVD – “Fundamentals of Inlay” with Steve Latta – a copy is available to members in the FWWA Library

Check out the many “You Tube” videos covering stringing and inlay.

We hope this has given you an insight into the wide world of stringing, inlay and embellishment that will enable you to take your project to the next level.

Melville Wood Turners

Morris Buzzacott Reserve
51 Williamson Rd
Kardinya WA 6163