Inlay Kit for the Router

I’ve always wanted to do inlays, be that detail for boxes, or adding that something extra to other projects, but it always did seem to large a mountain to climb to work out how to do it, and more precisely, to get the templates just right to make it work.

There is a secret (not a very well kept one mind!), and it actually comes down to the template guide moreso than anything else.

In a collaboration with Woodpeckers and Whiteside (and Professional Woodworkers Supplies who are bringing them into Australia), there is a kit available which makes doing an inlay a breeze.  And I mean really, really easy.  This is my very first attempt to ever do an inlay in a contrasting coloured timber.

Poker Template Inlay

Poker Template Inlay

Now before I get into the “How”, lets have a look at the “What”, as in “What are we actually looking at here?”

On the right side, we have an inlay of a contrasting timber (which in this case happened to be approx 3mm thick), which is completely flush with the pine. Pretty clever eh, even if I did do it myself!

On the left, you can see a cut out, and that is simply because I used this test piece as the backing for cutting out the contrasting heart.  There is a video btw, and it will be on Stu’s Shed in a couple of days.

So that is the “What”, now the “How”

There are a few bits n pieces to this puzzle. Firstly, and most obviously, we need a template. This can be shop made, or commercially purchased. The one I am using for this is the Poker Inlay Template from Woodpeckers, which is 1/4″ thick phenolic, which means it is strong, and dimensionally stable through a significant temperature range (well beyond shed temp ranges!)

Poker Inlay Template

Poker Inlay Template

As you can see there are 2 of each pattern, and to give a rough idea of sizes, the smaller ones are approx 3″ high, and the larger 4″.

You don’t use both of the sizes for the male and female parts of the pattern – the template guide takes care of the sizing requirements.  You just have to choose if you want the smaller or larger design. There are other templates available from Woodpeckers – a butterfly template which is for butterfly key joinery

butterfly-joint (which is both a mechanically strong, and decorative panel joinery method), and a circle template for ….. um….. circles! Particularly beneficial for both contrast inlays, as well as simply producing accurate, larger diameter holes.

Imagine, for example, making a computer desk, and using the circle template to not only cut the hole for the cables, but instead of using one of those commercial plastic caps,

H3864you could, with a little thought, produce your own in timber – so much nicer!

Hmm – getting a bit sidetracked.  We still want to know the answer to the big question “HOW?”

Tempted to make you wait for the video……. oh, all right – here’s the short version.

Whiteside Inlay Kit

Whiteside Inlay Kit

The kit comes with a 1/8″ diameter solid carbide spiral router bit (on the right) with a 1/4″ shank. Next to it is an alignment pin so you can accurately centre the template guide.

Finally, you have the template guide itself. It is a pretty standard size (unless you are using a Triton router for example, which uses the 50mm or so templates) so fits a number of routers.  If not, as was the case for me, it didn’t fit my router, until I added the Woodpeckers router base that is! Update – not exactly true – as revealed by Hugh, and further clarification in this post.

Woodpeckers Universal Adapter Plate

Woodpeckers Universal Adapter Plate

There might seem to be a LOT of holes in this phenolic plate, and in fact the one I have has even more! It is so the plate can fit almost any router, and definitely includes the Triton router.  I’ve added this to my 1400W router, and will probably leave it on permanently, so I can continue to use the different template guides. The centre hole is perfect for the brass guides.

Back to the template guide.  It is designed specifically to work with the 1/8″ router bit.  There is a brass disk in the earlier image.  When cutting out the cavity, this disk is fitted to the template guide. An O Ring inside the ring ensures it stays in place.

Next, this disk is removed, and the same template is used to cut out the contrasting timber.  That’s about it – a really simple evolution in the end, and a classy finish.

The Poker Inlay Template will be put to good use in an upcoming project, when I make a poker table. (If you couldn’t guess!!)

So as mentioned, there will be a video out in the next couple of days so keep an eye for that.

6 Responses

  1. I’m glad you’ve show the guts of how this thing works – I’ve always wondered how these are guided without destroying the template.

  2. Hi Stu,
    The Triton Router Template Guide Kit TGA 001 alignment bush “i” is also a Porter Cable Adapter for the common type brass bushes.
    I don’t know if the 1400 watt router can use this kit.
    Regards Hugh

  3. […] Comments Hugh Hutchinson on Inlay Kit for the RouterStuart on Laser Cut Inlay Kits for Pen…Roy Featherstone on LinksJay on Laser Cut Inlay Kits […]

  4. […] 53 Contrast Timber Inlays using a router.  As originally detailed here, this kit is available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies, and includes Woodpeckers templates […]

  5. […] first came across the concept of template inlays back when I was working on a poker table concept, back in 2009.  This was a pretty basic form – a simple shape and a contrasting […]

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