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Thread: Inlays/butterflys/pewas question

  1. #1
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    Inlays/butterflys/pewas question

    For folks using butterfly inlays across cracks and such- at what point do you carve out the recess? When you rough turn? When you final turn the outside after itís dried? After youíve turned the entire piece?

    Also, Iíve got a kit to make inlays but it gives me rounded edges on both the recess and the inlay. Iíd rather have sharp edges. Someone at a demo once me they buy their butterflies online but I canít seem to find the source. Any ideas?
    Where did I put that?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Lummi Island, WA
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    Check stebbinsstudios.com - they sell pewas in various sizes with the template to install. They also have good info/videos. I just finished a piece that needed large inlays, and wanted them thick enough to show on the inside - used a template and a CMT inlay kit to cut both the mortises and the inlays. As for the process, I turn the outside to finish, sand to 220 or so, then cut the mortises and glue inthe inlays before turning the inside.
    Thereís a good article in the current issue od Woodturning magazine that describes the process.

    You can buy inlays with either square or round corners. Its pretty easy to cut the corners square with an exacto knife and clean up with a small chisel.
    Last edited by Jeffrey J Smith; 05-12-2018 at 12:21 AM.

  3. #3
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    After the blank has dried, true up the outside to finish as Jeffrey said. I only sand to 120 or maybe 180 because the process of putting in the pewa (pronounced peva) will leave burnish marks on the bowl where the template is glued on and then the glue is scraped off when done. Also you have to sand the pewa flush and I do that with an 80 or 120 grit disc (with the machine off of course). Make sure you don't sand the pewa too much and create a flat. Now you can power sand the outside of the bowl to blend and smooth everything in.

    Pewa's only need to be recessed 1/8" or a bit more to do their job, never full depth unless it's just for show (which I've never done). When full depth the only glue surface is around the edges of the pewa which is a weak bond. When recessed there is a lot of glue surface because you have the whole face and sides of the pewa. If you recess 1/8" deep you can still cut 1/4" wall thickness which is pretty thin for a utility bowl.

    I prefer round corners because the fit is better. When squaring up the corners if you aren't precise chiseling them straight and at the correct angle then when you glue in the pewa there will be little gaps that need filled. Round corner pewa's match the router template exactly. If you put 6 pewa's in a bowl that's 24 corners that you have to chisel which is a pain.
    Last edited by Pat Scott; 05-12-2018 at 9:50 AM.

  4. #4
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    If you get the butterfly pewas from Stebbins, they have sharp corners. So you would need to chisel the corners. It's not that hard with a sharp chisel. Only takes a few seconds each. I sharpened a 1/8" chisel so it has a very small angle, just to get that corner. Of course this chisel is pretty useless for anything else since the point is so thin. He does make a good kit, the template and pewas fit very well. You usually need a little mallet to get them in. Another turning project!

  5. #5
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    Perfect. Thanks!

  6. #6
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    When you order pewas from Stebbins, just write in the comments field that you want radius or round corners and he'll send them. I believe he mentions this in the FAQ section on his website.

    I should have explained the process a little more. Finish turn the outside and sand to 100 or 120 grit and no more. Cut and glue the pewas. When the glue is dry and with the lathe stopped, chisel or sand most of the excess away. Remember that the bowl is curved so don't get carried away and sand too much and create a flat spot. Do not try to level them by turning the lathe on and thinking you can cut them flush with a gouge as all you'll do is rip them out or rip a chunk out.

    Now turn the inside of the bowl. When done with that, then you can finish sand the inside and outside. The reason I don't sand to 220 before cutting pewas is because the bowl is still thick at that point and sanding creates heat. With a thick bowl the heat has no where to go and can create micro cracks or heat checks. Normally when making a bowl the inside and outside are sanded at the same time, and adding pewas doesn't change that.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the detailed instructions. I guess I can make my own with rounded corners, I'll have to decide which way I want to go. I thought I could use my porter cable bushing set but I need to get the bushing with the collar around it. I think I saw one at harbor freight, I have an 1/8" bit already.

    I made some practice pieces with my full size plunge router, I think I'll need a trim router for doing this on a bowl on the lathe... It's a lot of force to plunge the router, I'd be afraid of damaging the bowl by pressing down or even just the weight of the router.
    Where did I put that?

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