Vcarve inlays depth for thin parts


I’ve been in this quandary. I’ve tried all the YouTube tutorials on how to make inlays. however the biggest problem i get is when on the male part it needs to machine thin hairline parts the whole chunk of that part breaks off.

I’ve tried all bits from 60degree v bits to 15 bit engraving vcarve bits. Any pointers on what depth I should go to ideally? and what kind of vcarve bit is best?




I am in a similar boat - I found that when I do the vcarve first then the pocket clearing you have more support for the smaller pieces. I also did a rough pass before my final depth so that I wasn’t digging my v bit in straight to max depth and that seemed to help. I think it’s about finding the sweet spot where the angle of your bit isn’t chipping out all your small pieces. I know I have seen some people use tapered ball nose bits down like 6 degrees maybe that helps, but if you’re on CC I heard its not supported.

I am working on something now where the pocket for some small letters is coming out to around .14, but if I set the max depth of my male at .2 then its blowing out parts of the letters. I am going to try .15 and see if that will help…

The nature of wood is for small parts it splinters off. There are a couple of things you could try. Put several coats of Zinsser Universal Sanding sealer on. That helps harden up the wood. The other thing is some Minwax Wood Hardener.

The wood is brittle and small pieces tend to get snapped off.

Another thing you could try in conjunction with the above is masking. I use the EasyLiner Adhesive Shelf Paper. You can get it at Walmart and Lowes as well as other places.

The picture is clear but any color or pattern will work. The key is it is adhesive and helps keep the wood fibers supported.

Another choice is oramask. You can get that from art supply or Amazon.

Any masking you use be sure to use a J roller to press it down to get good adhesion. Simply pressing down with your hand will not make it stick as good as a J roller.

However if the pieces is very delicate it may never work because of the nature of wood. Make sure your bit is sharp to give you the maximum result. There is a lot of force being applied to the wood from the rotating router bit.


I have just started experimenting with vcarving. My artwork has widths of some parts down at 0.25mm in places, most at about 0.5 to 1mm. i cut to a depth of 1mm with 1mm start depth (the cut line) with a 15degree bit and cut these thin male parts on the end grain. It worked but it is right on the edge. I think 0.75mm is the safest min width. I will take some pictures.

End grain and choice of wood will be a factor. Cherry was worked best for me vs Ash and maple. My pockets have been in Oak, a few in Walnut.

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So question, the 15 degree and 30 degree bits are mostly engraving bits that you get. if I use these in V-carve paths it basically balloons machining time to like 20 hours? any tips on that?

A couole of thoughts: Mill flat areas with a flat end mill and a pocket path and as we are not interested the finish of the flat areas you can back off on the stepover.

Here a picture. Text is about 0.5mm wide. Aside:. Oak box with Maple inlay not the best contrast.

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