One of the crafts that I have picked up is wood inlay, specifically metal wired inlay into wood. While I have used a variety of tools in the past for inlay, I determined a while ago that it is necessary to make my own tools. The groove cutter that I will show today is the basic tool for straight lines.
You need a saw blade, 1/2″ diameter wood dowel (I used poplar), and a saw blade for the raw materials. For the tools, you need diagonal cutter, wood saw, a rasp, a file, sandpaper, and a whetstone.
First, you cut a 6″ length of the dowel, then file one edge rounded. On the other end, use the rounded rasp to create a finger groove 1″ wide as shown below. Use the sandpaper down to 200 grit to create a smooth finish.
Jigger with the groove until it feels good in your hand.
Then, cut a 3/16″ strip out of the saw blade using the diagonal cutters, bending the groove until it snaps. File off the saw blade, then file 1/2 of the blade length down to the cutting width desired. In this case, we want a 1/8″ strip for cutting straight grooves.
Saw blade cut to size.
Now, jam the wider end of the blade into the flat end of the handle. A small dab of wood glue help to hold the blade in place. Use the whetstone to carve a blade edge; I prefer a 30 degree angle equal on both ends. Finally, use some mineral oil to protect both the steel blade and the wood.
A shiny and functional tool!
And below, the first practice cuts that I have done with the tool. It works well on the flats, but not very well for the sharp angles. I have a variety of length tools for various corners and pieces, which works pretty well.
A practice monogram.