This should give you an overview of all the basic steps used to do inlay.
Inlay is the process setting in shell, wood, stone, metal...etc. into a cavity that has been hollowed out of the surface. It is then glued, filled, and sanded flush. The possibilities are endless and the techniques vary, but these are the key steps to create your own inlaid piece.
(I do all my work by hand! I would love to have the option of using some laser cut pieces!!!)
All of the work I do is for custom guitar builders. It is important to have a clear understanding of the instrument before working on it. I can't interfere with the guitar's appearance or structure in any way. The fingerboards are radiused and slotted for frets. I have to be cautious of the tools I use and conscientous not to sand away any material other than the material I inlaid. Its quite difficult, but well worth the effort. There are many more steps involved in working on insturments. For your purposes, the following steps are more than enough info for creating your own personal inlaid piece.
Your first project should be fun and easy. Choose something simple, like inlaying a wooden box, or plaque. Select a dark wood as the background for your inlay design. The design will stand out beautifully and gaps will be easier to manage. Choose a simple design.
Here are a few of my completed inlaid projects, to show that inlay is more than square fret markers and plastic dots.
Step 1: Getting started
Tools and materials:
To start your own inlay project you will need the following:
-jewelers saw(get at any wood working store or hobby store)
-saw blades(size 000)
-V-block(wood block with a v-shaped slot)clamped to the edge of a desk. You can make one out of any piece of scrap material.
-router with adjustable base
-router bits(1/32 inch to get in corners and larger sizes to clear material)
-Cyanoacrylate (CA)glue (Hotstuff or Zap)
-CA remover(optional but safer!)
-pen drill(with drill bits)
-mask(shell dust very harmful!)
-sanding block(just sandpaper with a flat block)
-wood,shell,stone,metal,plastic...etc.(about 0.004 thick)
Now you're ready to start!