Inlay Details

FlowerInlayAs I was working on the small petals, some of the inlay on the front of the sugar chest (coming to members of 360 Woodworking at the end of the month), I wondered how small changes would impact the overall look. On the full-size chest built in our hands-on class – I’m building a chest that only 40% of the original size – we made the petals using a #7, 25mm carving gouge. Working on the smaller chest I’m using the same #7, 25mm gouge, but instead of gouge being a quarter of the petal cut (four stabs to turn out a single petal), I’m getting a full petal with only two stabs – the arc and width of the tool produce half the design.

From the original, three petals make up the inlay (shown in the B&W photo below). The center petal is right off the gouge, but the two flanking petals are further trimmed to fit around the base of the center piece. How you cut those two flanking petals influences the look of the inlay.

FlowerInlay_2In the opening photo, you see two arrangements. On the top set of petals, the added cut of the two outside pieces uses about 1/2 of the overall length of the petal. The result is that the inlay looks more open, or laid out. In the lower arrangement I used about 1/3 of the overall length to cut the matching arc. The bottom inlay looks tighter and more compact; I think this set looks more like cone flowers on a card table, whereas the open look is more flower-like.

I’ll decide what to use as I move forward. Which do you think looks best? Leave me a comment. (Don’t forget that our photos enlarge when you click them.)

— Glen D. Huey

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3 thoughts on “Inlay Details

  1. Open is much better in my opinion. Looking at the original petals the outside of the leaves have an ogee appearance that gives a little extra pop.

    1. Dan,
      That’s another aspect that I’m not sure I’ll add. At times I like the extra curve, but other times it doesn’t do anything for me. What’s cool about those tips is that they are also cut in using the same gouge, so the outer petals are reversible when placed against the center piece.

  2. I love the gracefulness of the three petals arching in a soft triangle

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