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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to cut out a slot in one board to lay a second inside of it flush.
The first board is 1in thick 4in wide and 24 in long.
The board I want to lay flush inside of it is 1/2 thick, 2in wide and 16in long.
I'm trying to put it in the center of the first board.
I thought about using my plunge router and a straight bit. But I'm not sure how safe it would be to make several passes with a 1/2 straight bit untill I had 2in slot.
And if I have to use a chisels I might as well throw it in the trash!
Any advice would be appreciated.
I dropped a photo to represent what I'm talking about Incase my discrimination wasn't clear
428399
 

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Have you used router guide bushings before? That's how actual inlays are done.

What is the project? An alternative: rip the larger piece into 3 with the center being as wide as your inlay, then cut the ends off the center piece, glue up, run it through a planer. Depending on the wood, the finish etc it can look great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have you used router guide bushings before? That's how actual inlays are done.

What is the project? An alternative: rip the larger piece into 3 with the center being as wide as your inlay, then cut the ends off the center piece, glue up, run it through a planer. Depending on the wood, the finish etc it can look great.
Ok, got it it. Thanks!
Looks like I need to get an inlay kit and make a template, and I'm good to go.
This it for a decorative cross I'm making. This one will be made out of pine that's stained different colors, but if I like the way it turns out, I'll be using some more exotic hardwoods for color on the next one
 

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Looks like I need to get an inlay kit and make a template, and I'm good to go.
The bushings and bit you get with an inlay kit meant for tight curves and shallow inlays, what you are doing is at a far larger scale, a general purpose bushing set like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IMORJHM/
and a 1/4" up spiral bit will do it.

But I've only done a bit of this stuff, see what some of the more experienced members say, likely to be a better way.

PS, get the bushing set anyway lol, not everyone likes bushings, they've been very useful for me.
 

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Oh and which router do you have? Your base plate needs to be compatible with the bushings, the set I linked to and most inlay kits use the Porter Cable specs, the most common standard but best to double check what your router takes.
 

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hopefully you have cutoffs from the piece to be inlaid. They can be the starting point for making a template because they're already the right width. Join them with two long pieces using the piece to be inlaid as a spacer. Pop out the piece to be inlaid and you have a template that should be just the right inside dimension. Run the router around using a top bearing bit until you have the proper depth and square up the corners with a chisel. When doing test fits put a piece of dental floss across the opening to make it easier to get the piece out In-between test fits.
 

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Oh and which router do you have? Your base plate needs to be compatible with the bushings, the set I linked to and most inlay kits use the Porter Cable specs, the most common standard but best to double check what your router takes.
Some routers require an inexpensive accessory adapter to accept the very common, standard "Porter-Cable" size guide bushings.

Routers that require adapters include the Bosch and the Makita, also others. If you want to use Porter-Cable style bushings with the Bosch mid-size routers, you will need two adapters that work together. It sounds more complicated than it is, but it is simple.
 

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My approach would be to make a template the desired opening and use a bushing. Quite simple to do, the template is made by inserting material the desired width between to longer strips and space them the desired length. You have to oversize the template to account for the space between bushing and bit when making the template.

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If the board is narrow clamp it between two other boards of the same thickness. This give a stable base to run the router.

Double stick tape the template & route taking 1/4" passes, be mindful of bit direction.

The other way would be using a pattern (top bearing) bit but for this application the template material has to be thick enough to allow for the bit length, which can be a little cumbersome.
 

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a bushing set will do what you want to do, as well as a top bearing (template) bit.

i would recommend the bushing set and a down cut spriral, it would leave a cleaner top edge. no matter what router method you choose, you will have to chisel the corners square, or round the corners of the inlay to match.

fwiw, there is no need to bury 1/2" thick board since you won't see it. could it be like 1/8" thick and accomplish the same look?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh and which router do you have? Your base plate needs to be compatible with the bushings, the set I linked to and most inlay kits use the Porter Cable specs, the most common standard but best to double check what your router takes.
I have the Skil RT1322
The manual says the the base is a 1 1/4 in opening. So hopefully that'll work. I was going to pick up the set of Milescraft template guide set they have at my local Lowes
 

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I have the Skil RT1322
The manual says the the base is a 1 1/4 in opening. So hopefully that'll work. I was going to pick up the set of Milescraft template guide set they have at my local Lowes
That sounds right. The bushings have 2 outside diameters, the body is 1 1/4" OD, and a lip that is 1 3/8". When you use a guide bushing you need to be sure the bit is centered in the bushing, if your manual doesn't tell you how ask on the forum.
 

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Use Dr Robert's diagram to make a template the same size as your inset piece. The shaded portions are the exact width of your inset, and cut from the same piece if possible. The length may be just slightly lees or exactly the same. You can use a top bearing cutter which will ride the inside of the template which you will stick tape to your final workpiece. The sides of the template support the base of the router to keep it from tipping and digging in. This is critical because you need an even depth for the best result. The template need only be 1/4" thick, it's just a guide to support the router base. Next, you rout away all material in the center of the template to the desired depth, and as suggested, go with a thinner inset dimension. It will move less with humidity changes and stay flush.
Guide bushings are cool, but there is math and measuring involved to get the right template size and the final dimension right. I'd go with a top bearing bit, no measuring required.
 

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Have you used router guide bushings before? That's how actual inlays are done.

What is the project? An alternative: rip the larger piece into 3 with the center being as wide as your inlay, then cut the ends off the center piece, glue up, run it through a planer. Depending on the wood, the finish etc it can look great.
AN inlay kit would work. Your first choice of a plunge router and a 1/2" bit will work also. Approach it backwards. DO not try to cut the mortise to fit the inlay, trim the inlay to fit the mortise. I would make a template out of 1/2" mdf the size of the mortise you want allowing for the distance between the edge of the cutter and the outside of the guide bushing. Set reference marks then attach the template to the workpiece with double sided tape (or screws). Only take 1/8" deep or so cuts. When you are down to your desired depth, remove the template and square the corners with a chisel. Rough fit your inlay. Then fine fit it using a block plane going a bit at a time. For end grain a low angle plane may serve you better. Once fit, you may clamp and glue it in, and plane it flush.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the advice guys!
Went with the Whiteside 1/8 inlay kit. Pretty straight forward. Came with a centering pin that helped as well.
Anyway, I like the idea of cutting the stock to fit the inlay. Seems WAY easier!
Only issue I'm seeing is that the corners are ever so rounded. I guess I'll have to put in some more practice with the chisels.
Speaking of practice... My first go turned out ok (pic below)
Gonna do a few more practice cuts before moving on to the actual project.
But I do have to admit... The router is pretty damn fun!
428502
 

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Thanks for the advice guys!
Went with the Whiteside 1/8 inlay kit. Pretty straight forward. Came with a centering pin that helped as well.
Anyway, I like the idea of cutting the stock to fit the inlay. Seems WAY easier!
Only issue I'm seeing is that the corners are ever so rounded. I guess I'll have to put in some more practice with the chisels.
Speaking of practice... My first go turned out ok (pic below)
Gonna do a few more practice cuts before moving on to the actual project.
But I do have to admit... The router is pretty damn fun!
View attachment 428502
Looks good! A tip for squaring the corners with a chisel. Do so similar to cutting dovetails. Get a absolutely perfectly square block of wood 2-3" high. You can clamp the block to your workpiece if you wish with the edge perfectly in line with the mortised edge. When using your chisel, put the flat against the block. That will insure you are perfectly square to the workpiece, and in line with the mortised edge. Take your time going at it, patience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Use Dr Robert's diagram to make a template the same size as your inset piece. The shaded portions are the exact width of your inset, and cut from the same piece if possible. The length may be just slightly lees or exactly the same. You can use a top bearing cutter which will ride the inside of the template which you will stick tape to your final workpiece. The sides of the template support the base of the router to keep it from tipping and digging in. This is critical because you need an even depth for the best result. The template need only be 1/4" thick, it's just a guide to support the router base. Next, you rout away all material in the center of the template to the desired depth, and as suggested, go with a thinner inset dimension. It will move less with humidity changes and stay flush.
Guide bushings are cool, but there is math and measuring involved to get the right template size and the final dimension right. I'd go with a top bearing bit, no measuring required.
So is this something you'd recommend? A top bearing 1/4 in length x 3/8 diameter but?
 

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So is this something you'd recommend? A top bearing 1/4 in length x 3/8 diameter but?
Yes, that would work, except I'd go with a 1/2" shank unless your router will not accept 1/2" bits. I'd also go to 1/2" diameter in the 1/2" shank, even larger and get both sizes, budget permitting. When you really get into routers, you'll end up with about 50 to 100 bits after a few years. I once got 66 bits on sale at www.peachtreeUSA Stone Mountain brand for $160.00 ? Good quality router bits at $8.99 each
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I can easily see how router bits can quickly accumulate.
About a month ago I bought one of those cheapo sets on Amazon. My intension was to see which bits I use most and replace them with better quality as I go... Well, turns out I pretty much need them all, lol.
I check out stone mountain brand. Seems like every project I start requires another $30 bit!
 
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