How To Make Designs In Wood Inlay Banding

By elamon | Band Saw Basic

Jul 11

Creating a wood inlay makes every project extra special because it adds a decorative element to the surface. It works best for projects such as furniture, guitars and more. Wood inlays indeed look very good and attractive and people may think that it is complicated to do but in fact, it only involves the most basic techniques of cut, measure, cut, and glue.

There are various patterns of wood inlay that you can create and play with depending on the materials or wood that you are going to use. You can go for complex designs, geometric shapes, linear techniques, and more. For this project, you will learn the basic wood inlay design similar to that of the chessboard.


The Materials

  • Two kinds of wood with different patterns of layer
  • A crosscut band saw sled
  • Wood Glue
  • Sander
  • A thin piece of plywood

The Procedure

  1. For this project, you will need two kinds of wood that contain a different pattern of wood layers. The first one, must have a light-dark-light wood layer pattern while the other one is dark-light-dark. You can create it from scratch but there are available decorative plywood that you can buy for this project.
  2. Cut the wood with the right measurement for the length. For this project, try at least two and a half inch lenth.
  3. Set up the band saw and attach the crosscut sled. Then, measure the width that you would like for the pattern to have and attach a stop block at the crosscut sled. A half inch width is usually advised since anything thinner than this may cause some chipping.
  4. Start cutting the light-dark-light patterned wood. Slowly and steadily cut the wood into pieces. Repeat this process of cutting making sure that each piece is of the same size until the whole blank is consumed.
  5. Then, proceed to the dark-light-dark patterned wood and keep in mind the same instructions for cutting. Be sure to make equal cuts and even surfaces.
  6. These pieces will serve as the wood inlay and will be sandwiched within two pieces of thin plywood.
  7. Grab the thin plywood and cut in the same measurements in terms of the overall length and width.
  8. Take the inlay pieces to the sander to smoothen the edges and make them flat for a better finish and a more prefect inlay pattern.
  9. Carefully glue the inlay pieces to the thin plywood one by one. This should be done in an alternating pattern so that what you see is dark-light-dark or vice versa.
  10. Once all of the inlay pieces have been glued to the plywood, add another layer of plywood on top of the pieces to sandwich them. To make a tighter and accurate inlay finish, apply clamp while the glue is drying.
  11. After the glue has dried up and the wood inlay looks solid, you can now use it for your projects by cutting it thinner and finishing it with some spray lacquer.


There are many purposes for creating a wood inlay and when it comes to the patterns, your imagination is the limit. You don’t need to buy expensive materials in fact, you can use some scrap from your previous projects. Now, you can do it all on your own from scratch and still make it look like an expensive piece of art. Always remember to be safe and read the instructions and manuals that come along with your power tools. Furthermore, avoid having accidents by using safety devices such as gloves, goggles, and ear plugs.

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