Submitted 7 years ago by rogerbean
Value for Money:
I first had the opportunity to use the prototype for this jig at Andrew’s workshop in Shropshire. I was there to learn, and when we got to the topic of inlay, Andrew produced a small flute case with a routed inlay groove pre-cut to use as a demo. He produced the prototype jig and said “Here, try this.” He dropped the jig into the corner (which retained a rounded corner from the spiral cutter he used) gave it a solid rap with a very old hammer, and voila, much to my delight, a perfect square corner, ready for the inlay band!
He proceeded to explain that he was working with the Veritas folks to make the jig available commercially. Well, after more than a year, it’s finally here. And, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. I’ll try to give you a verbal and visual idea of just how it works.
The first picture shows the jig itself. It has a quality feel to the hand that’s not at all obvious in the picture.
The second picture shows the alignment ribs on the bottom which precisely align the chisel to remove the corner. It is this exact alignment, combined with the small magnets which hold the chisel perfectly vertical that make the jig so accurate.
I began with the lid panel for a document box I’m making for my wife (to hold the clutter of papers she keeps next to her laptop). The panel is of 1/8” Baltic birch ply, veneered with a four-way match of pippy yew. This particular inlay will be on the underside of the lid.
I cut the groove for the inlay band on my router table. The cut was made with the panel upside down, using simple marks on the MDF fence attachment. The important thing here is placing the pencil marks on the fence for the stop points. These need to be very accurate, but once marked, one simply lowers the panel onto the cutter somewhere in the middle, then moves the workpiece up to each mark, then lifts it off. In this example, the cutter is set at about .025, or just enough to cut through the veneer layer, making room for the inlay band.
NOTE: I laid up this banding to fit the groove cut by a standard 3/8” Whiteside carbide spiral bit (spiral downcut is better, but I didn’t have one handy). This particular banding is of figured Asian satinwood, sandwiched between veneer layers of black/maple/black.
I’m not going to go into the process of making banding, but many varieties can be purchased in pre-made form, or you can acquire Andrew’s books which also describe the process. Steve Latta has a DVD on making banding available from Lie-Nielson which is very helpful and well done. When you make your own, you get exactly what your want; the combination you feel works best for your particular project. Takes a little time, but it’s not difficult.
With the groove in place, I am ready to place the banding inlay. In the corner close-up (Picture 3) it’s easy to see the rounded corner remaining after the cut of the router bit.
The rest is pretty simple with the aid of the jig. The jig is simply placed in the corner, letting the registration ridges on the bottom drop into the groove. The jig is run snugly into the corner, and given a good rap with a small hammer. Picture 4 shows the jig in place, ready for the hammer tap. Picture 5 shows the finished square corner left by the jig operation.
Now the banding is placed into the clean groove and glued up. The finished product is shown below after being scraped and lightly sanded level with the veneer. A perfect corner!
Picture 6 shows the finished corner, scraped and sanded level and ready for sanding sealer.
Of course, this inlay can be done without the jig. But unless you’re pretty sure of yourself, it’s really easy to overcut, undercut, or slip with the chisel or scalpel when removing the corner. It’s easy to do. (I speak from experience here.) Andrew’s jig makes the process nearly foolproof. Using the jig a novice can easily finalize the corners of his inlays without a lot of practice. In this case all four corners were removed in about 20 seconds.
As a final note I should mention that there are many more uses for the jig than the inlay I demonstrated above. It can be used to clean up grooves as small as 1/16th inch on up. It also works for cleaning up the corners of the small inlaid lines I use around the lid/base openings of my boxes. Virtually anyplace you have that little rounded corner.
It’s a great product, designed by someone who completely understands the problems of banding inlay, and the solutions. At £49.50 perhaps it’s not for everybody, but it’s a well-made product that does precisely what it is intended to do. I rated the value as 5 because if you need it, it works. If you don’t, you wouldn’t buy it anyway.