View Full Version : Inlay Q from a fresh fish

Mitchell Andrus
04-29-2006, 11:32 AM
I make Mission (Arts and Crafts) style funiture. The 'big boys' in the business add some truely georgeous inlay designs to their work (chair rails, cabinet door panels, etc), see below. I know that wood veneer can be cut with a CO2 laser. How about veneer-thin brass, copper and pewter? Not an absolute necessity, but I know I'll be getting inquiries about adding metal. This is being done now, and it was done in 1910's (when everything was cut by hand)...

Any ideas? I'd like to hook up with a sympathetic craftsman or firm to give the whole inlay idea a 'go' before I invest some big bucks...

ALSO - any ideas about how to go about getting designs into the computer in the first place? I saw a thread that mentioned a problem or two with Corel...?

I'm truely impressed with the pics shown in the forum.

Thanks, all.






Gary Shoemake
04-29-2006, 11:53 AM
Can't do that with a CO2 laser which most of us have. Yag maybe depends on the thickness.

Joe Pelonio
04-29-2006, 1:44 PM
Can't do that with a CO2 laser which most of us have. Yag maybe depends on the thickness.
Gary's right, unfortunately I get people in all the time wanting metal cut, but not nearly enough to justify a yag. I send them to a waterjet cutting shop, +- .005 tolerance. CNC routers will do it but with small detail you won't get the sharp points due to the round bit. The problem is for short run jobs the waterjet people charge a lot. This place will give free quotes and have no setup if you send a good vector file.


As for getting designs into the computer, it depends on what you start with. Something hand drawn would have to be scanned, and converted to vector with a tracing program such as Corel Trace or Adobe Streamline, or hand (mouse) traced with Freehand, then cleaned up to remove extra points. There are people that do this for a charge such as:


Dave Jones
04-29-2006, 3:26 PM
Some machine shops with abrasive waterjets will charge less if you come to them with a finished CAD file (like AutoCAD or SolidWorks).

If you are doing a lot of copies of the same design, that will lower the cost of using abrasive waterjet.

One thing the CO2 can do is to mark the surface of metal (after adding a coating) which can give you a pattern to follow for hand cutting. Not a perfect solution, but better than doing it by eyeball.

Mitchell Andrus
04-29-2006, 6:39 PM
Another option is to finish the inlay work on the panel and engrave the metal areas, and fill with metalic filled epoxy. Two or three trips through the process can get as many "metals" inlayed.