It all begins with the materials. I select wood for beauty and character and for the presence of natural voids in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. For inlay materials, I look for colors and patterns that I like and will show up well in wood. They also must not be too hard for me to work with.

I consider the character and figure of the wood as well as the patterns of natural voids during the design phase. Because of the natural variations in wood and the wide variety of inlay materials I use, my work is one of a kind. I often duplicate shapes and use the same combinations of stones, but no two pieces will be exactly the same. Usually, I design a completely new piece around a particular piece of wood.

After cutting out the rough shape, I refine and shape the edges using a variety of hand tools including spokeshaves, planes, rasps, files, and steel scrapers. Unlike the uniformity produced when using a router or power shaper, my methods further enhance the one of a kind nature of my work.

My inlay procedure is time consuming but I believe the results are superior to using colored resin, crushed stone mixed with epoxy, or stones beneath poured epoxy. I place the inlay materials individually within the voids in arrangements and patterns - some random and some of which I have carefully worked out. I use an adhesive to hold the materials in place but what you see and feel at the surface of the inlay is entirely stone, shell, or metal. I do my best to prevent and eliminate the adhesive from pooling at the surface.

I begin with larger stones and add smaller pieces around them to fill the voids. I sand and grind the inlay and then repeat the process with increasingly smaller pieces each successive time, continuing to place and sand the inlay until the entire void is filled.

Once the inlay is complete, I begin sanding with a coarse grit to remove scratches introduced during the inlay process. I then proceed through eight additional grits to produce a very smooth surface. Finally, I apply a suitable finish that will bring out the natural beauty of the wood. I use a food safe finish which includes mineral or walnut oil and beeswax on all my serving boards and cheese slicers.

Built on Pixpa