By following router based inlay techniques you're guaranteed to build an inlay that looks like something only the highest skilled craftspersons could make.
Best of all you don't need to be a master crafts-person, much less a woodworker, to build this inlay. All you need is a few basic tools that are inexpensive as well as safe and easy to use. Click here review the Router Based Inlay Tool List.
Never built an inlay before? Click here to Learn How To Build Any Wood Inlay.
When selecting the inlay materials you want to keep a few things in mind. The first is contrast. You want the inlay to stand out against the backing material, in this case Padauk.
You want the base material to be at least 3/8 of an inch thick, much thinner than that and there is a real good chance your inlay will warp!
INLAY MATERIALS* Padauk 7" x 8" x 5/8" - Base material (the lid)
The main thing you want to pay attention when selecting the material for any type of decorative inlay is contrast. There are two type of contrast to keep in mind, color and grain pattern / direction.
It's possible to get decent contrast from two similarly colored woods as long as there is a sharp contrast in grain patterns and direction. Without this contrast your inlay will not look it's best!
Here are two examples of how and why contrast is so important. The first time I added the eyes I used Yellow Heart in Olive wood. The amount of contrast just isn't there so the eyes seemed to blend into the face and disappear. This wasn't the look I wanted so I replaced the eyes with Purple Heart.
The same thing applied to the inner ears except that the colors were reversed. In the case of the ears the Purple Heart kind of blended into the Rosewood so I replaced them with Yellow Heart inlays instead. Now I think about it I probably should have replaced the nose too.
To fix any gaps in the inlay smear a small amount of glue into the gap, wipe off the excess glue, then sand over the area. The sanding action will cause sawdust to mix with the glue in the gap blurring it out.
After all the gaps have been filled sand the entire inlay until it's flat. This process is best done after the glue has completely dried!
Once sanded apply the finish of your choice. Personally I like to apply three coats of Tung Oil followed by three coats of a polyurethane finish that has a UV inhibitor in it. The UV protection will help keep the woods from changing color over time.
Click here for more information about Sanding and Finishing Tutorial.