How to Create an Easy Inlay in Wood with Solder

CNC & Machining Craft & Design Digital Fabrication Woodworking
How to Create an Easy Inlay in Wood with Solder

Caution: Many types of solder are lead-based. Before replicating this project, double check that you are using lead-free solder. Sanding anything that contains lead is a really not-fun, not-safe idea.

“You can’t solder wood, can you?” Asks Warren Downes of the One Wood website and Youtube Channel. Although these materials don’t generally go together, Downes presents a a simple solution in his video below. Although he’s using a CNC machine for this build, he’s quick to assure viewers that you can use a drill press, hand router, or many other woodworking tools for a similar effect.

solder inlay

For this project, Downes carved a Superman emblem 3mm deep into a small piece of wood using his X-carve router. He then used a torch to melt solid lead-free solder into this recession, forming a very messy looking shield. To rectify this situation, he then used a belt sander to make the solder and wood even, then filled in any gaps with a soldering iron.

After filling in the gaps, it was again belt-sanded, then the wood was burned with a torch for an interesting effect. One could also use a random-orbit sander to finish the piece off, or even use stain or urethane.

YouTube player

As with any project involving power tools, one should use the proper protective equipment, especially for your eyes, though lung and hearing protection might also be needed.

solder inlay

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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook