Wood floor inlay instructions for making your own pattern

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Re: wood floor inlay instruction On Tue, 17 Feb 2004 22:56:05 -0800, "Steve" said:

> Franklyn.
> I am currently planning to replace the carpet in my living room with
> hardwood flooring. I am interested in instruction on techniques involving
> creating inlays for my floor, but am having trouble finding any info on
> this subject to create any of these items. There are plenty of sites
> offering them for sale, but none with any instruction. Can ya help me out
> here.
> Thanks, Steve


Sure I can help you there. I'll run you thru the process that I followed.

When I did the goldfish inlay I started by going to the library. I found a book on goldfish and in that book was a black ink drawing which illustrated how goldfish propelled themselves thru the water. It was an illustration of looking at the goldfish from overhead which was exactly what I wanted to inlay.

I photocopied the illustration and enlarged it using a photocopier at Kinkos. I did a slight reduction 99%, 98%, 97%, 96% and so on. I glued the full size photocopy to some 1/2 inch birch plywood and let it dry. I then cut out the picture on the paper with my scroll saw. This cut the wood in the same shape. I then used a drum sander attachment on my dremel tool to smooth out the cut. This made the template.

I fastened this template to a scrap piece of plywood and using a bushing on my router I cut the shape into the plywood. The cut is slightly smaller than the template is. This is where the reduced images come in. I found which reduction most closely matched the actual cut. I used a 1/4 inch router bit with a half inch bushing. I adjusted the depth of the cut to 1/4 inch.

I repeated this process for the second template. I was pleased when I realized that my two templates actually could produce four different goldfish because I could flip the template over to produce two mirror image fish as well.

OK so at this point I have two templates that will cut the pattern into the wood.

I then used a technique I had watched my wife use when she did stained glass. I took the reduced image. I think it was the 97% reduction but I'm not sure. I cut this image on the paper into individual pieces. I then glued each piece onto the wood so that the grain in the wood was in the direction I wanted it to be. Because the pieces of paper fit together on paper the resulting pieces of cut out wood fit together as well. They also fit together in the cutout on the floor.

I did have to use the drum sander attachment to do some minor adjustment on the cutout pieces to fit tightly. I then glued them in place. After the glue was dried I sanded them flush with the surrounding wood and pickeled them in place.

I have used this same idea to inlay treble clef signs made out of rosewood into a wood floor, the Broncos football team horse head logo and an oval which I inlaid a quilt design into.

I would suggest getting a book on doing stained glass work for some ideas. This is a great place for patterns as well as techniques. I found the treble clef patterns in a craft store that had them as a party sign. A quilt shop is also a good place to get ideas.

Study the goldfish pictures on my website at http://woodfloorist.com

The possibilites are endless and are only limited by your imagination.


I hope this has helped