The Joy of Precision Inlaid Lettering. See for yourself!

Last weekend I taught two inlay classes. At the end of each class I did a little class extra for the students. Actually, it really was for me! I really enjoy the precision, detail and challenge of fine marquetry. I have often questioned myself and find it interesting that I go from splitting wood and roughing out chair parts to cutting extremely fine pieces of wood that I can barely hold in my hand. I suppose one extreme has a way of balancing out the other!

making packet

So I put together a packet with a single letter, I picked the hardest font I could find, mostly to show that it could be done totally by hand with a hand held fret saw.

cutting with the fret saw

In fact if you tried to do this with a scroll saw, chances are the pieces would be in the trash. The scroll saw does not allow you the precision that you can get by doing it by hand. I am not sure if you can see from the pictures but these pieces are extremely small–tweezers are the only way to handle some of the pieces!

tweezers for placing parts

I started by making a packet and then cut it out using a handheld fret saw and a little birds-mouth support. I used the double bevel method, which allows you to be able to make a perfect cut with zero gaps. I then demonstrated using the Chevalet to cut the outside of the packet out. This could have easily been done with the fret saw but I wanted to show off the Chevy! I plan to write an article on this entire process and I will keep you posted on that as well. It really is not that difficult to do this and you can personalize any project with a few simple tools and a little practice.

finished letter upside down

I hope to do a marquetry class in the future. I have had several requests for a class. If you are interested in taking a simple marquetry class from me, then please leave a comment below. I will do my best to pull one together and will keep you posted on the progress. I am posting a couple pictures below showing some samples of what you can do with marquetry.

In the mean time you can check out our one-day inlay course.

And if you are interested you can see some more intricate marquetry here!

5 Responses to The Joy of Precision Inlaid Lettering. See for yourself!

  1. Mike Morgan July 30, 2014 at 4:41 PM #

    I attended the inlay class last Friday and so got to watch you go through this process. Yes, I would be very interested in a “simple marquetry” class.

  2. Dick Bigler July 31, 2014 at 8:08 AM #

    Hi Frank,

    I have enjoyed taking your one day in-lay course and would love to take a simple marquetry class. Hope you are able to put a course together.

    Also enjoyed your blog about the Oklahoma Professor who makes violins. I met him at a Mark Adams course when he was just getting started in woodworking. He had bought every single Lie Nielsen plane they made and was intent on learning to sharpen.


  3. Mike August 9, 2014 at 7:59 AM #

    I would be very interested in a marquetry class.

  4. Mike August 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM #

    Do you start with a drilled hole and insert the saw blade? If so what size drill bit are you using to match the blade?

    • Frank Strazza August 11, 2014 at 5:54 PM #

      HI Mike,

      I am using a very fine drill bit to drill several entry holes. I actually got them from a guy that sells scrollsaw blades. They measure just a hair over .5mm. I use a little hand held twist drill from Rio Grande Jewlers supply in New Mexico. You can also get the drill bits from them too.