Heavily inlaid round box

Greetings, my name is Davos.

I decided to really go for it with inlaid edges. I was shooting for something that would just take the whole inlaid edge concept to its logical conclusion, and this is where I landed.

I had to develop several techniques to deal with this. I actually failed to make this twice before I got a success, I had to refine my methods to get it right. I’ll talk about it in the main body.
All hardwoods 1/8" thick
Sanded to 600 grit
Wipe on Polyurethane finish

The concept was that I wanted a smoothly progressing gap so that the density of inlays would gradually descrease/increase. To do this I had to work out an equation to figure out how much to rotate each spoke in my design to make a 90 degree spread. The 90 degree spread is then flipped and rotate to make a circular radiant pattern.

(Walnut, Maple)

The edges are a really good illustration of why we flip-mate inlays. You can really see the keystone shape of each maple piece. So, of course, inlaying each piece of the edge is insane, nobody can do this and keep it aligned at this scale. The trick is to inlay entire layers as one large piece, essentially each layers is like the lid – you cut the parts, inlay them all, sand the inlaid board, and then insert the entire inlaid board into the GF. Cut the final layers out of the inlaid wood, and pray that your glue holds. The overall box is very strong, but be careful until you glue the layers together. The face-to-face glue between the layers is really where the bulk of the strength comes from.

(Walnut, Maple)

I decided to make the bottom inlaid as well – I usually don’t. I just liked the idea of having some symmetry on this one. The idea was to dazzle the eye, so this really completes the look.

(Walnut, Maple, Brass pins)

That’s about it. I’m not out of ideas for these small boxes, but I’ll admit this one was enough of a pain that it slowed me down. I could reproduce it again without a hitch, but the two false starts were just disheartening.

Want more? Here are a couple bonus pics.

All images in here are raw, not processed, you get what you pay for here.

The interior is interesting.

And this is how I cut the inlaid pieces:


Now cut out the pockets and inserts (pockets in walnut on right, inserts in maple on left, though that’s arbitrary, you could do it either way.

Inlay the entire board

Reinsert that inlaid board into your jig and cut the layers out. It’s a pain to do, but it’s the only way to get it right without having to inlay a million pieces. This way, you only do ten large inlays, and you’re done. It’s still tricky to get it right, but it’s a whole lot less tricky than inlaying each piece separately, which would be… minimum… Hmm… 360 inlays. Yeah… no way, do it this way.


I’m a sucker for click bait from you :slight_smile:


This is just insanely gorgeous.

Honestly your method of doing the layers is brilliant - I would have been the id10t throwing it across the room after trying to do the edges as individual pieces!


Oooomama, that’s some excellent work. (per usual)

I appreciate the process shots with the jig, I surely would’ve dreamt it up the hard way and gotten frustrated halfway through the 300+ inlays.


Discourse wouldn’t let me just say “WOW!!!”


:exploding_head: again. I must remember to wear a hat when looking at your posts of your amazing creations!! Gorgeous work and inspiring that there are really no (well, very few) limits to what can be done!


And I’m back, soooooo worth it!


Okay, would you just stop already? You are making me just give up even trying to make nice edges. I just can’t even.

Kidding, of course. Where are keeping all these museum pieces?


Davos does indeed dazzle the eye. I am so grateful for this eye candy. Your skill and patience is inspirational.


I actually have another one already complete that I’ve never posted about, I got ahead of the queue with some of the others.

Stashed, ready to be sent out as holiday gifts. I’ll probably do a family portrait roundup post before I do. It’ll be a good way to keep all the posts crosslinked so that all of the technical details are accessible from one spot.


Which one am I getting??? :wink:


Holy crap, man, that’s awesome! So much work, but really cool. I’ve been considering trying something similar with that woodworking trick of making a board and then re-cutting it, this is an amazing example!


Seriously, I have zero time to try any over the top cool process, and turn out the most amazing boxes ever.

I find myself thinking about your boxes, thinking about inlays, sanding, sanding, and more sanding. Brass pins, wipe-on poly, etc., etc. seeing the shots of your jigs will only make me think about it more.

Almost like a nightmare, but no, I see your beautiful Davos, and realize it’s really a beautiful dream. :: sigh ::


Tricky, tricky. I like the idea of the jig set up to create the inlays.

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Thanks :slight_smile:

Here’s a little bonus bonus:

You can see that I made all the inlays the same size for simplicity’s sake. I just cut different size layers for the overall shape.


That’s also a great idea, it’s also the same idea I use for vinyl prints that are then sent to a plotter…

As I typed that I realized that is the process most productions would use….bleed. I think it’s time for some sleep haha.


This is a beautiful piece.

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Wow. I have some understanding of what I see, and what you’ve described. But I cannot fathom actually doing it!

You’re incredible, Sir Davos!


Well caught! He’s got layers, see? :slight_smile:


Liiiiiiiiiiike… an onion? :slight_smile:
My first thought, actually, was… “Oh… He can keep his finger bones in the box!” :slight_smile: