Decorative inlays inlay kits
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Fit and Finish

WHAT you're doing:

After the inlay and void has been cut  you'll need to sand the edges of the inlay, glue it into the void, and fill any gaps.

Prefit Inlay to See If Sanding is Needed

WHAT you're doing:

  • Pre-fitting the inlay into the void to see if sanding is needed.


WHY you're doing it:

  • To see how well the inlay material fits in the void.


HOW to do it:

  • Place the inlay piece on its void.
    • Do not press to far into the void because it can be hard to get out!!!
  • Use a pencil to mark the areas that need to be sanded so the piece fits better.

Inlays prefit into the voids

Sand the Inlay if Needed

WHAT you're doing:

  • Sanding the edge of the inlay to fit the void.


WHY you're doing it:

  • You’re working with wood… of course you have to sand!
  • So the inlay fits snugly into the void.



Several factors effect the amount of sanding needed.  A quality sharp router bit cuts much better than a dull bit.  The pre-sanded picture shows an inlay cut with a bit that needed to be replaced.


Use a high quality brass router inlay kit on your plunge router.  The adage "you get what you pay for" holds true especially with woodworking tools and bits!


Properly prepare your inlay materials and make sure nothing but the router moves during the cutting process!



One type of inlay you can build has the inlay showing through on both sides. The video on this page describes the finishing process for this type of inlay.


The pictures on this page depict an inlay that shows through on one
side. The sanding for this type of inlay is easier because you can bevel
the bottom edge of the inlay piece prior to assembling the inlay.


If you bevel the edges on the inlay that shows on both sides you will
have huge gaps on one side!


HOW to do it:

  • I like to use an RO sander to quickly sand around the edges
    of the inlay
    • A rotary grinder, i.e. Dremel, will speed up the process
      for intricate pieces where the RO sander won't fit.
  • Limit the amount of sanding you do.
    • Excessive removal of material will create gaps between
      the void and the inlay.
  • Check the fit of the inlay piece to the void often and sand again where needed.
    • Use a pencil to mark the areas that require more sanding.

Inlay sanded w/ bevel

Pre-sanded inlay

Area that needs sanding marked

Glue the Inlay in the Void

WHAT you're doing:

  • Applying glue to the inlay material and pressing it into the void.


WHY you're doing it:

  • So the inlay material stays in the void.


HOW to do it:

  • Smear glue on the bottom and sides of the void and inlay.
    • Don't use excessive amounts of glue.
  • Place the inlay into the void and press into place.
    • I like a soft mallet to tap the inlay in.
    • You can use a vise or clamp and squeeze the inlay into the void.
  • Fitting the inlay to the void is a bit of a balancing act.
    • To small of an inlay piece will leave gaps.
    • To large of an inlay piece could crack the base material if forced into the void.

Smearing (to much) glue on the pieces

Sanding and Removing Gaps After Assembly

WHAT you're doing:

  • Sanding the inlay piece down to the level of the base
  • Filling in any gaps in the inlay.


WHY you're doing it:

  • Because the inlay will look stupid if it isn’t flat!!!
  • Gaps between the edge of the inlay and the wall of the void
    are inevitable for inlay work.
    • The inlay looks better with the gaps filled.


HOW to do it:

  • Old school — sandpaper and a ton of elbow grease.
  • New school — a random orbital sander.
    • I like 150 grit sandpaper myself.
  • Newest school — A drum sander is perfect for sanding the
    inlay down to the base material height.
  • After the work surface is flat, use an air compressor to
    blow the dust away.
    • This will reveal any gaps between the inlay and the void.
  • Where gaps exist, force a small amount of glue into the gap
    with your finger tip and lightly sand.
    • The dust created by the sanding process fills in the
      gap making it invisible.

Smearing (to much) glue on the pieces

Gaps that need to be filled

Glue smeared into the gap

Filled gap

© EZInlays 2018