In this article I will not show how to prepare the thin strips of wood that will later be cut to size to insert into the channels for the inlay. I will share only the router technique demonstrated to quickly and easily make the grooves.
At our Guild meeting yesterday we were treated to a demonstration on making string inlay using a small palm router and a very tiny 1/32-inch router bit:
Using a tip-and-plunge technique, our host Larry showed how the channel for the string inlay is cut, following a pattern created at the scroll saw. At its most basic, this technique involves a very steady hand to hold the router as it is is brought from a tilting position while resting on the pattern, to vertical position as the tip is plunged into the work piece:
This next photo shows the heart pattern already cleaned of the saw dust, and ready to accept the string inlay:
This is some of the labor involved, as the debris in the routed channel must be cleaned thoroughly prior to gluing up the inlay strip — a tooth brush is part of the kit:
Larry also demonstrated how to cut the channel for a bird figure. More complicated than the heart, cutting the channel for the beak does not leave much margin for error:
If you are looking for a new way to make projects that use the string inlay technique with many curves, and you wish to make quick work of the normally time-consuming traditional techniques, this is for you. Maybe it is time to put away your scratch stock!