First inlay

Full blogpost here:

Thanks for watching!


Second try: PERFECTION! :sunglasses:


well i followed the pdf guide by Paul Z that is floating around on the web. I recommend everyone to read that if you’re interested in doing V-carve inlays.
Pocket depth was 3mm
Inlay start at 1mm and cut depth 2mm.
On my first try I chose those values differently, because I thought I knew better than the guide. But I was wrong :sunglasses:
I made a mistake in logic, and I also thought the inlay cutting depth was 2mm total (so 2mm minus the 1mm start depth), which is not the case. It cutseffectively 2mm from the start depth, so 3mm total. Which is what you want since the pocket is 3mm deep. There’s a 1mm gap between the 2 pieces, both under the inlay and on the surface, which is ideal for glue distribution.

Other than that I had taken too much material off last time. I could press through the inlay piece with my fingers bc I basically planed/sanded it down to veneer thickness. And since it is a V-engrave the actual design was altered slightly due to taking too much material off, you can clearly see the difference in the fine lines.

Also, better choice of woods, hardwood as base and compressible wood as inlay. And clamp hard!

Lastly, more conservative milling, better Z-alignment between tool changes (flat clearing and V-engraving), which led to cleaner profiles.

One thing though that confuses me.
I use 3, 2 &1 mm values, the guide mentions 0.3, 0.2 & 0.1 inches, which is in fact closer to 6, 4 & 2 mm
I chose mine shallower because of shorter milling times, but obviously as long as the 3-2-1 ratio is maintained, it should always work out.
Now here’s the thing: let’s say we follow the guide precisely and we use 1/8" bits (as i did):
The bit has a stepdown of 1/16" (50% of the tool diameter), and the inlay start is at 0.1". So basically what the software does is make the first Z-depth pass 0.1625" deep, which is effectively more than the tool diameter!

That is the reason I took lower values of 3,2 & 1mm. First depth pass is now 2.5mm, which is still too deep, but relatively to the tool diameter it is much more manageable.

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here’s the original thread:

That is so funny. I did exactly the same things you did on my first inlay. Thought I knew better, etc. The only way around that extra deep first cut is to use robust clearing tools. I use a 1/4" bit for clearing and a regular 60 degree router bit for v-carving. The sharper the bit, the better. My inlays are typically walnut and it seems to work great.

yeah I figured so much about the clearing tool, but I don’t like tool changes and even less so when I have to switch collets… But I will do that in the future anyways i guess…
My V-bit was 60 degrees I think, that is the sharpest one I have atm, but I’m looking into 30 degree ones.
Thx for the tips. One more question: is there a preference in cutting order: clearing pass vs engraving? I think clearing is best done first, but I’ve seen people do it in reverse order.

new tests today, with varied success…

Holy cow - clearing pass first. Get yourself a 1/4" shank end mill and a 1/4" shank 60 bit. Easy peasy. The nesting function on v-carve is also a godsend. It will auto fit all your inlays to the smallest piece of wood. Do them all at once. Then, I can cut them apart on the bandsaw and clamp them all into place.

yeah that is the way I’d work too. But when it is all spaced close together I like to leave them in place and in 1 piece for easy alignment.


oh no that would have been a nightmare. :confounded:

little bit of info here:

roughing with 6mm flat endmill, V-carving with 1/8" 60° bit

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