I love to make personalized items with routed inlay designs. Objects such as hearts, clovers, etc. are very easy to do with a router inlay kit. My problem is trying to inlay letters that are not a continuous form, such as an “A” or “B” or “P,” etc. Is it possible to use a router to inlay such items where the internal part of the “A” or two internal parts of the “B” are considered? – Don Winslow
Chris Marshall: Inlaying with a router, tiny straight bit, guide collar and a special bushing (which comes packaged as a kit) really does depend on a template that is one-piece and with a completely open interior. The guide collar and bushing need to be able to trace the whole shape. And, it has to be possible to reposition the template without altering its shape in order to rout an infill piece that will match the outline perfectly. As you point out, Don, the trouble with some letters is that they have a “captured” area inside the letter’s shape. In order to accomplish that with a router inlay kit, the template would have to block the captured area but still be traceable all around. In other words, the captured portion would essentially have to “float” inside the main template as a separate piece. Since inlay requires exact positioning of the template for the whole process, it would be difficult to reposition the captured piece precisely when switching from routing the outline of the letter to the infill piece that fits the routed outline. You can use ordinary letter templates, but for those letters such as “A,” “P” or “B,” the captured area(s) will require that the letter be broken up so a single piece of template material can form the whole letter. And remember, the proportion of the final inlay you’ll produce is smaller than the template opening (twice the bit’s diameter smaller), which will exaggerate the distance between parts of letters and the spacing between letters. I don’t think this is the effect you probably want.