Christmas Gifts                    2014

The personal touch will be an inlay made out of cocobolo in the shape of a cross. I'm roughing out the cross here and the chips are flying as I took this picture.



Here is the finished shape of the cross but not the final look. Notice the knot at the top of the cross. This knot runs at a slight angle through the board that I used but I wanted it centered when it was finished. To compensate for this I machined the knot in the cross off-center but when I cut the excess off later, this should be closer to the middle than you see least in theory. This is also why the cross isn't centered in the piece of wood either, but you already noticed that...right?



The pocket for the cross is only .004 larger (twice your hair thickness) than the inlay which makes for a really nice fit. The pocket is .250" deep but the inlay is .300" tall. The reason I made the inlay taller is because once the inlay gets inserted into the pocket, I wanted to make sure is was bottomed out once it was glued in.



This is the inlay for the medium size board which is made from purple heart. I thought this would make a nice contrast against the other species of wood when complete. But after working with it I'm not a big fan as it has a very open grain to it and doesn't machine well. It's a good thing I bought more than enough wood here because while I was machining it, a corner chipped off and I had to cut another piece and start over.



The clearance and depth are the same as the other board but I'll have to be extra careful when I assembly this one as the stem of the wine glass will be easy to break (kinda like a real one).



After all the CNC machining was finished at my work, I went home to do a little more cutting. What I'm doing here is removing some material from the back of the inlay. The cocobolo thickness when I started was 3/4" so I'm removing as much material as I can here before gluing it place. The reason for this is because when the inlay is glued in, there isn't as much clamping force holding it compared to what my vise has so now's the time to get aggressive with the cutting. Just thinking ahead here.

Just to let you know, coco bolo machines great, probably better than any other material that I've ever dealt with. The grain structure is very dense making this wood very heavy but has a musky odor while it's being cut.



I removed over 1/4" of material and now I'm almost ready to glue the inlay in place.



I cut most of the excess material away with my hacksaw which will make quick work of the machining process once it's glued in place. The reason I used my hacksaw in place of a wood saw is the amount of teeth per inch on each saw. My wood saw is very coarse but my hacksaw has a nice fine blade (24 teeth per inch) which may take a few extra strokes to saw through, but it makes a nicer cut and is more forgiving.



This is what the large cutting board looks like after machining the inlay. Now it's time to start the sanding process which will be a challenge because you try to sand with the grain and not against it. That means I'll be using some small pieces of sandpaper for the inlay and taking my time here.


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