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Black Epoxy Inlay Wood

Trammel base in toward the center and install a V-dia. straight bit. The epoxy will adhere to the channel very well, so you only need to rout a Via"-deep groove. You can rout this groove in a single pass. Refer to page 28 for the details of adding the epoxy inlay.


Rout Circles with a Trammel to marks and attach with carpet


When I need to cut a circle, like the top for a table, I reach for my router and a trammel. There are a couple good reasons why I like this method. First, it's quick and easy to set up and make the cut. But, more importantly, it cuts a perfect circle and leaves a smooth edge that requires very little sanding.

THE TRAMMEL The shop-built trammel I use is pretty simple to make. You can find the plans for it on page 30, It's very stable and accurate. And unlike most other trammels, this one doesn't require you to drill a hole in the workpiece for its pivot pin. The pin fits into a base that's held in place with carpet tape.

SETTING UP THE CUT. To get started, you'll need to elevate the workpiece off the bench so you can make a through ait. I used carpet tape and a couple pieces of scrap on the bench. Then I taped the workpiece to them (Fig 1.) Make sure to place the tape so it will hold both the top and the waste in place. This way, they can't move as you cut through.

Now you need to find the center of the work-piece. An easy way to do this is to draw intersecting lines from the comers, as shown in Fig. 1. Then line up those marks with the corners of the base, tape it in position, and you'll be assured of a centered cut.

ROUTING THE CIRCLE. With the base in position, the next step is to install a V/'-dia. straight bit in the router. Then, adjust the trammel to establish the diameter of the circle. Remember that you need to measure from the center of the pivot point to the inside edge of the router bit to get the right diameter. Then you just tighten the lock on the arm.

For a cut this deep, I always make multiple passes. This way I know the router won't bog down. In this case, I made three passes, lowering the bit 14" after each pass.

INLAY CHANNEL. To cut the groove for the epoxy inlay, ail you need to do is move the adjustable arm lW

Trammel base

Materials, Supplies, & Cutting Diagram





Palets Madera

Test the color mixes on a sample board to find the shade you want for your project.

Wood Inlay Minerals

if vV

Give your projects an eye-catching inlay in minutes, not hours.



woodworking technique

Traditional wood inlays are a great way to dress up the appearance of a project. The problem is cutting and fitting small, oddly shaped inlay pieces can be both difficult and time-consuming. An easy alternative is to use colored epoxy instead of wood. Epoxy will flow into just about any shape,

Test the color mixes on a sample board to find the shade you want for your project.

saving a lot of time and effort over conventional wood inlays.

For example, the table on page 22 features a round top with an inlay near the edge, shown above. Hand fitting small, curved pieces of wood into the circular channel would be a pretty tough task.

But you can get a similar effect by simply mixing up a batch of epoxy and adding a little color. Then you just apply the mixture into a shallow recess cut in the shape of your choice. With this technique, 1 was able to add a great-looking design detail without a lot of trouble.

GETTING STARTED. Like any inlay, the place to begin is by creating a recess. For the round tabletop, I used a trammel and a router with a Vg" straight bit to cut the groove. And because epoxy adheres so well, the groove only needs to be Me" deep.

PREPARING THE WOOD. After you cut the recess for the inlay, there's just one more step before mixing the epoxy. To prevent the epoxy from bleeding into the grain, it's a good idea to seal the wood fir?t by spraying on a coat of lacquer. And to make it easier to remove any excess epoxy, rub a coat of wax on the surface of the wood.

MIX EPOXY AND COLOR. With the surface prepared, the next step is to choose an epoxy. I've found most brands work fine, but it's best to use a slow-setting epoxy. This way, you'll have plenty of time to get it in place before it starts to harden.

You can use just about any kind of coloring in epoxy, from aniline dyes to the black furniture powder I used on the table top. You'll just want to avoid colors that are soluble in the type of finish you'll be adding to the piece. For instance, if you're planning to use a water-based finish, stay away from water-soluble colors or they will

Holes caused by air bubbles in the inlay are almost unavoidable. But you can fill them using a drop of epoxy on a paperclip or toothpick. Then just sand again after the repairs are dry.

bleed when you apply the finish even after the epoxy cures.

It's a good idea to mix up a few-batches and test them on scrap pieces first. Then you'll get a feel for how well the epoxy works into the grooves. You can also experiment with different coloring agents to find the right mixture for the inlay. For information on the types of epoxy and colors I used, refer to Sources on page 49.

APPLYING EPOXY. When you've found the shade you like, you're ready to start filling in the inlay. You can see the step-by-step process in the box at right. If the epoxy mixture is thin enough, you can draw it into a syringe and then simply squeeze it into the recess. I like this method because it gives me better control. And it also makes cleaning up the excess a lot less hassle.

If tine mixture is too thick for a syringe, you can press it into the recess using a thin piece of scrap wood or plastic, just be sure to add enough so the epoxy remains slightly proud of the surface,

CLEANING UP. Since you waxed the surface, the overflow will come off pretty easily with a sharp chisel. The bottom two photos at right show you how to clean up the epoxy and fill in any exposed air bubbles. You can remove the wax with mineral spirits. Then, after a final sanding to remove the sealer coat of lacquer, you're ready to add a finish. Using this simple technique, you'll find even the most intricate inlays are possible. 159

How-To: Working with Epoxy

There are a couple things to keep in mind when working with epoxy. First, it will bond to just about anything, including your skin. So I always wear rubber gloves when mixing and applying epoxy. Second, the resins not only smell bad, but can cause allergic reactions in some people. So it's a good idea to work in a well-ventilated area. The same rule applies for sanding the hardened epoxy. The dust can be a real irritant, so use a good dust collector on your sander and wear a mask.

Start by mixing the epoxy according to the manufacturer's instructions {usually, equal amounts of resin and hardener). Then mix in the color. Stir the epoxy gently to minimize air bubbles.

A disposable plastic syringe makes it easy to apply the epoxy. You can cut the plastic tip to fit the size of the groove. Make sure to overfill the groove a little bit to allow for some shrinkage.

After about an hour, use a chisel to remove most of the overflow. At this point, the epoxy is rubbery. After it's cured (usually 8 hours) move on to a hand scraper, then sand the inlay smooth.

To make removing the excess epoxy easier, first apply a coat of lacquer to seal the grain and then rub on a coat of wax.

Router Trammel Jig

Router Trammel Jig

Cutting the round top for the table on page 24 is an ideal job for a router and a trammel jig. It not only cuts a perfect circle but allows you to rout the groove for the inlay. The problem is, most trammels require a hole in the center of the workpiece for the pivot point. The design of this trammel solves that problem.

If you look at the photo, you'll see that the trammel is made up __of a slotted

- ' -hole i fits over a base. The base is secured to the workpiece with carpet tape. A pivot pin in the base allows the adjustable arm to rotate (see the drawings below).




Cut groove for index block

INDEX block

FIRST: Drill hole



NOTE: Spacer, index block, and clamp block are made of hardwood. The rest of the parts are 3M" plywood.

NOTE: Baseplate is made of clear acrylic






NOTE: Index block is reversible








NOTE: Base attaches to workpiece with carpet tape

NOTE: Router baseplate and spacer must equal thickness of base


Woodsmith tips from our shop

Tavola Protezione Inforcamento

Routing A Pencil Tray

The desktop message center on page 16 wouldn't be complete without a place to store pencils and pens. So I added the pencil tray you see in the photo at right. It's easy to make at the router table. And it only takes three steps and two router bits.

I started with a long workpiece so I could trim it to exact length later. The first step is to rout the two outside edges of the tray, as shown in the top photo on the right. I used a core box bit because I wanted a radiused groove, like you see in the bottom photo at right. Fig. 1 below illustrates how this is done in two passes on the router table.

Next, I mounted a straight bit in the router to clean out the groove (Fig, 2). The key is to rout down the center of the workpiece at the same depth as the first cuts. This way, you'll avoid any "steps" or ridges in the bottom of the groove.

Now all -1

that's left to do is a little sanding to make the bottom of the tray nice and smooth. I made a narrow sanding block, like you see in Figure 3, and wrapped sandpaper around it. Then I made long strokes on the bottom of the groove until it was smooth. Finally, you can cut tire tray to its finished length and glue it in place.

All you need to make this pencil tray are a couple of commonly available router bits.

Sand bottom of tray smooth

W'-dia. l.raight bit


Rout one side

Turn workpiece end-for-end and rout other side

Sanding block>

Routing A Stopped Chamfer

The trick to routing the stopped chamfers on the tool chest (page 32) is starting and stopping at the right spots. I wanted the ends of the chamfer to line up with the panels in the doors, like you see in the photo. The drawing on the right shows how I did this. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ two stop

SECOND: Push panel forward to rout chamfer

Door assembly

Routing direction

Stop block J

FIRST: Pivot panel into bit

NOTE: Blocks determine start and stop points of chamfer

Shop-Made Bead Molding

The small bead molding on the tool drawings below show the two steps chest on page 32 adds a classic detail. I used to get around this problem. But creating such a small molding You'll find it a lot easier to work on the router table is hard to do with extra-wide workpieces that safely and still get good results. The are planed to final thickness. Then you can use a %2"-radius bull-nose bit in the ;

router table to ^^fcfo. shape both long edges (see Fig. 1).

Before you rip the beaded edges from the workpiece, go ahead and smooth the profile over with some sandpaper. The next thing to do is to rip the bead moldings free from the workpiece. Then it's just a matter of cutting them to length and fitting them into place on your project. 09

%;"-rad. bullnose bit iip bead finished —width

You'll find the perfect spot for just about any tool in one of the eleven, leather-lined drawers. There's a size to fit almost anything.

Jewelers Tool Chest

Tool Chest

This beautiful, traditionally styled chest will make the perfect home for your most prized hand tools.

You'll find the perfect spot for just about any tool in one of the eleven, leather-lined drawers. There's a size to fit almost anything.

Some of the hand tools I own are priceless. Maybe not to a collector, but they are to me. I've worked with them for so long they're more like old friends. They've certainly earned a special place in my shop and you might say this traditional tool chest is my answer.

One look will tell you this wasn't meant to be just a simple, utilitarian tool chest. Two things immediately catch your eye. The first is the wood — curly and birds-eye maple enhanced by a rich, grain-popping dye. Now look past the wood and you start to notice the details. The frame and panel doors (and back) and all the delicate moldings give the chest a classic look.

But when you open the doors and look inside, you quickly realize that tool storage is the goal here. Behind each door you'll find a shallow recess, perfect for hanging a few often-used tools. And that's just the start. The chest holds eleven graduated drawers diat provide a spot for just about any small tool.

And no doubt, other uses for this chest come to mind —jewelry, keepsakes, or a special collection. But whatever the contents, this project will hold them in style.

Dovetail Tool Chest

Shallow recess — behind doors creates hanging tool storage

Drawer side groove - fits over runner _ mounted in case,,

Ogee with fillet — on edges of top ana bottom

AfOTE: Hinges, pulls, and chest lifts are burnished solid brass

NOTE: See page 49 for sources of hardware and supplies

Large chest lifts make carrying easy

Door side stiles create shallow recess behind doors

Door panels are birdseye maple

Case constructed from curly maple

Applied bead molding frames door panels


OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 24s/a"Wx 13s/s"Dx 149/16"H

Eleven graduated drawers provide -versatile storage

NOTE: Case back is frame and panel construction

NOTE: All parts are solid wood except drawer bottoms

Drawer runner

Knob with escutcheon plate

Recess behind door holds chisel rack or other holders

Cup type magnetic catches hold doors closed

Drawers are lined with leather —

Drawer fronts are birdseye maple

Drawers are built with locking rabbet joinery

note: To avoid screw interference, runners on one side of lower vertical divider are flipped end for end.

building the CASE

note: To avoid screw interference, runners on one side of lower vertical divider are flipped end for end.

building the CASE

Building die basic, solid-wood case and preparing it to hold the drawers is the place to get started. When you look at the drawing above, you'll see that it consists of two sides, four horizontal dividers, and three vertical dividers.

All but the upper center opening in the case will hold two "stacked" drawers. This works because die drawers slide on "side-mount" runners installed in the case.

GETTING STARTED. The first task is to glue up and size the panels for the sides and dividers. For the sides, I used some choice curly maple. But only the front edges of the dividers will show. So you can save some figured wood by "edging" these parts with narrow strips of curly maple.

Make a note that the sides are diick, while the dividers are just V thick. And the two sides are 14" wider than the dividers. This extra width is used to create a tongue along the back edges that help hold the frame and panel back in place.

THE JOINERY. With the panels cut to size, you can start on the joinery. This is all pretty straightforward so

How-To: Case joinery

How-To: Case joinery

Narrow Rip Auxiliary Fence

Narrow Dadoes. A 1U"~wide dado at each end of the side panels will capture the tongues on the top and bottom dividers.

Full-Width Dadoes. Use the rip fence to accurately position the wider dadoes in the sides and horizontal dividers.

The Tongue. I used a dado blade buried in an auxiliary rip fence to form the tongue on the back edge of the case sides.

Narrow Dadoes. A 1U"~wide dado at each end of the side panels will capture the tongues on the top and bottom dividers.

Full-Width Dadoes. Use the rip fence to accurately position the wider dadoes in the sides and horizontal dividers.

I'll just offer a short summary. The fine points are shown in the box at the bottom of the opposite page.

The tongue along tire back edge of the sides comes first. This is formed along on the inside edges of the sides (detail 'a' at left).

Next comes the case joinery. The upper and lower horizontal dividers are joined to the sides with a tongue and dado (detail 'b'). This will start you off with a very rigid "box". The two remaining horizontal dividers and the vertical dividers fit into full-width dadoes. The key here is to make sure all the joinery is spaced accurately and aligned from side to side and top to bottom.

DRAWER RUNNERS. Next, before assembling the case, you'll need to make and install the drawer runners. The openings are too small to do this after the case is glued together.

There are 22 identical runners to install — two per drawer. Centered grooves ait in the sides of the drawers will fit over the runners. The illustrations at right show how to make and install the runners. But a little explanation will help.

When I made the runners, I gave myself some "wiggle room" by drilling oversized counterbores and screw holes. This adjustability makes fitting the drawers easier.

Accurately positioning the limners is the real challenge here. My solution was to dry-assemble the case pieces and then use a set of spacers to take any guesswork out of this process. It worked great.

The front ends of the runners should sit Vg" back from the front edges of the case. As you'll see later, the drawer fronts will conceal them and act as drawer stops.

One final thing. The upper, center opening holds one drawer. So it only needs one set of runners.

ASSEMBLY. With the drawer runners in place, you can start putting the pieces together. First, I assembled the two upper horizontal and vertical dividers. Then I added the lower vertical divider and horizontal divider, using the sides to keep things square. Last come the two sides and the bottom divider.



Counterbores and Screw Holes. After cutting the runners to size, first drill a shallow counter-bore, followed by an oversized shank hole.

runner spacer

Build Toy Castle

Reverse Them. The runners on one side of the lower vertical divider need to be reversed so the screws won't interfere with each other.

It's easier to screw the runners in place before the case is assembled. You can still adjust them later.

#7 runner spacer


Set square -against face of dividers

Front of-_ runner against ruler

Runner spacer

Spacers. Three different sized spacers allow you to easily and accurately position the runners in the case.

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A Course In Wood Turning

A Course In Wood Turning

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    How to build a tool cabinet?
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