Woodturning a Platter with Thick Inlays

What really interested me about structure and utilizing a machine was the idea of having the ability to cut complicated inlays that I could then wood turn. I've done a number of tasks with this in mind, however in these jobs I've constantly used a straight router bit to get a deep inlay. In , the inlay needs some density to be able to have a curved surface area. What I've been attempting to do over the last couple of months is to do v-carved inlays where you utilize a bit that has a point on it to carve the favorable and unfavorable of the inlay. What this permits is more pointy inside corners. You can use the tip of the tool to carve that corner. But I have actually found this becomes far more complicated as the inlay is now a three-dimensional object and not just a straight extrusion. There are numerous videos online about doing the sculpt inlays however none of them really speak about doing deep or thick inlays as many people are doing inlays for cutting boards or surface work. The first error I made early is that I need to specify the bit that I'm utilizing extremely precisely in the program. The bit I was using had a 30 second of an inch size bullnose at the suggestion and I had actually been specifying it as simply a pointed bit with an infinitely pointy point. This small information made the inlay not fit correctly. After cutting the piece that I had dealt with gluing together, and had actually done lots of lots of tests, I believed whatever was working well. However, when I cut the pieces to see how they had meshed, they still did not fit together correctly. I put the job aside for a few weeks and I thought about why I was having a problem. I believe what I had actually done was I had actually made a design that looks balanced however I hadn't rather drawn it symmetrical. When I put the pieces together I simply didn't have them oriented correctly and they didn't quite fit completely. So in my last model, I redrew my shapes to be completely symmetrical and hence it would not matter which method they entered. And in this last piece it seems to be working fairly well. I believe the other concern that I need to overcome is that it takes a great deal of force to glue the two angled inlays together. So I need to make some type of press for gluing up the pieces.
After all of my try outs inlays, I finally woodturned a basic platter on the lathe. The form was a small bowl in the center with an extremely large rim. I could put the thick inlays in this broad rim. This was a first step in trying to make a not very complex job to practice with inlays.

Passionate :
Carter and Boy Toolworks:
Rip-it Fence:

Tools used in this job can be discovered at

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0:00 (intro).
1:13 (glue up).
3:33 (testing inlays).
6:19 (glue up).
8:08 (CNC).
15:00 (2nd effort).
21:33 (woodturning).
24:36 (conclusion).

Woodturning a Platter with Thick Inlays

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  1. That’s fantastic, Frank. The only problem for me is that since I don’t do CNC work, my head is spinning from all the explanations lol. That doesn’t detract from how amazing it turned out, though.

  2. Gave up on clamps long ago. I just screw the work to the machine bed. Easy and quick. No obstacles. Inlays are about the bits and the depths. You should make a wood “press” to glue the inlays (like a sandwich). That will help the inlay to go down nice and straight. Nice work on a pretty sophisticated project. Thanks for video!!!

  3. It’s fascinating to watch how you work through the issues. Thanks for sharing all the thought process..

  4. Stunning piece, Frank! Really beautiful work! 😃
    Sometimes all the work and headache pays off!
    Anyway, stay safe there with your family! 🖖😊

  5. i have really enjoyed watching the production value of these videos increase over time. they’re just fun to watch.

  6. So great that you were able to get on top of the bit-radius factor which has been such a strong snag in your design process. The result is exquisite.

  7. This was a awesome video dude! You should look into a arbour press if you looking for something inexpensive. They are small but have a range of forces (1/2 to 5 tons???!) and would be perfect for the inlays. The throat of the press could potentially be the only limiting factor.

  8. Great work as always Frank! I am also struggling using a tapered ball-nose (TPN) bit instead of a ‘pointy’ V-bit. Could you share how you have set the TBN in Aspire? This would really help me out.

  9. Your animation and stop motion film making is now almost on par with your wood working skill, which is outstanding, lovely bowl Frank.

  10. Your perseverance and patience are incredible! Nothing seems to frustrate you so much that you throw everything in the corner and give up! My respect!

  11. Always a pleasure to see your work come together. The ability to create, program, figure out the right material, and then make all that work out time after time is a great thing.
    I used to run CNC milling machines in the 90’s, so I am not sure about the software you have today. Couldn’t you do the tool path for one quadrant, then mirror that in the c axis and the y axis? That should ensure symmetry.
    Great work Frank, thanks for sharing.

  12. When pushing the plugs in place you’re trying to compress air and glue (you have a pretty tight fit of your pieces, the glue is a good sealant for trapping the air) so a tiny hole somewhere in your plug or your main pieces might help with clamping, because then the air can escape.

  13. Frank – I love the stop motion and animation in this video. Great job letting us see what’s going on inside the piece.

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