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Jon Lanier

Swirl Inlay W/Table Saw Jig

Rating: 3 votes, 3.67 average.
Here is a tutorial on the "Swirl" inlay that I use, but with a twist, this time I made a little jig for the table saw.

As you can see it is a small simple sled. I then took the sled and marked a line of what I thought would be a good angle for most pen blanks. I don't know what the exact angle is... I just eye balled it. It is more than 45 degree's of that I'm sure of.

I measure up the blank as seen here so that a little less than half the blank is covered for the cutting. (The blank is pre-cut for length for the pen kit I'm using. In this case and Atlas/Polaris/Patriot.)

I then use a couple of clamps. One for a stop block so that I get the same cut on all sides of the blank and the other to hold the blank in place while being cut.

I use my fence for pushing the sled up against. All I need to do is line up my original cut on the sled. Now just push forward until the blank is cut all the way through. Pull back, rotate the blank and repeat. And this is done until the blank has the cut on all four sides.

Normally I cut a piece of constrasting wood for the inlay and then plane it down. This time I just took some stir sticks, they fit just fine so I went for it. (The only problem was the Paduak faded into the inlay when sanded.)

To glue the inlay in place I used Thick CA then spritzed on some accelerator. And I got this little creature afterwards.

This is what the final blank looks like after cutting off the extra's and sanding down on the disc sander.

Now, just treat it as you would any other blank that you've prepped for a pen. Like I mentioned previously, I used an Atlas/Polaris/Patriot kit. And here it is as it was getting rounded on the lathe.

After shaping, sanding and putting on a CA finish. This is my final product:



  1. Dan Lee's Avatar
    Very cool. Tried it this weekend. Sorta like learning a magic trick
  2. John Willoughby's Avatar
    very cool looking pen
  3. Jim Kountz's Avatar
    John, I just found this blog and since I just started making pens about a month ago I was hungry for some variations, THIS IS IT!! I love this, so simple yet produces a very cool result. Thanks for sharing your blog!!
  4. vaughn bradley's Avatar
    I'm going to take the liberty of trying it, thanks for question/ is the jig fastened to the sled?