First off with all of my projects is to make the blank. When I am in the process, I usually make up about a half dozen or so that way I can quickly grab some when I need them. This one happens to be 1-1/2" end grain hard maple made with 6/4 lumber.
This carving was one of the most complex that I have done before so I had to do many different iterations of the drawing to get the process started. I first used Adobe Illustrator to vector out some of the designs and then imported everything into Easel for carving.
The most fun (and nervous) part about an inlay board so detailed is the carving in the board and ensuring that your offsets are correct. I think I did a little big here at .015 but I now know better for next time.
One tip, if you have some design or carving that can be inserted both directions, be sure to mark the top face with a pencil or something that way you don’t get them mixed up. Not like I can speak from experience or anything……. ;)
I glued all of the inlays at once in this project, but in the future, I would actually cut out many different individual pieces and glue them in one by one so that I was able to have finer controls over everything.
I know, this is everyone’s favorite part…..sanding. But, I am fortunate to have a drum sander that takes care of all of it in just a matter of minutes. Just a few passes through and then a touchup with the random orbital sander and presto, ready for oil.
For my finishing I have a large (60 qt?) storage tote with pure mineral oil that I dunk them in and then pour oil over another time or two for a couple days. After this has fully dried, I rub a mixture of oil and beeswax on the board to seal everything up.
After that, all that is left to do is enjoy it!