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4 Hand Tools for Stringing

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4 Hand Tools for Stringing

Find out more about using hand tools to make stringing inlay.


Stringing reached its peak as an art form way back in the late 18th century, long before power tools. In those days, both the grooves and the strips were made by hand with great precision. You can use those same methods today with these four hand tools. They're specifically designed for stringing work.

Straight line cutter. This tool is used to make grooves parallel to a straight edge. Its beam is adjustable. The cutter works like a saw blade, forming a kerf the full width of the groove. Cutting a groove to its full depth requires a number of passes.

Radius cutter. This tool is used to make circular arcs. Mastering it requires patience and practice. You must pay particular attention to how the grain runs. As with the straight cutter, making a full-depth groove takes several passes. Blades of three different widths are available for both tools.

Slitter. I made this tool to slice stringing blanks into strips. It’s just a maple block with a rabbet cut into it. The cutter is a standard utility knife blade. The slitter is used in conjunction with a special cutting board, which supports the blank. This board is rabbeted, too. The offset between the board’s rabbet and the slitter’s rabbet determines the width of the strips.

Thicknessing and tapering jig. I built this tool to make stringing easier to install. The jig’s blade is skewed at a 10° angle. When I pull the strips through the jig, they come out exactly the right thickness and with a slight taper, top to bottom. I made the blade from a piece of 1/8" thick tool steel.


Source

(Note: Product availability and costs are subject to change since original publication date.)

Lie-Nielsen, lie-nielsen.com, 800-327-2520, Straight Line Cutter, IN-SC; Radius Cutter, IN-RC.


This story is a companion piece to "Stringing Inlay," which originally appeared in American Woodworker, December/January 2012, issue 157.


Click any image to view a larger version.

1. This straight line cutter works like a marking gauge to make grooves parallel to an edge. It’s made by Lie-Nielsen (see Source).


2. A radius cutter works like a trammel to make circular grooves. It’s also made by Lie-Nielsen.


3. This slitting tool cuts stringing material into narrow strips. You can buy a slitter, but I made this one.


4. This shop-made jig shaves the stringing to exact thickness. It also cuts a taper on the stringing, making it easier to install.