How to make a sinuous, tapered string inlay
Synopsis: Take traditional stringing inlay to a new level with Steve Latta’s technique, which allows for lines that taper in thickness and transition smoothly between different widths. This gives his pattern a more organic, contemporary feel. Here he shows how he worked out a design for a chest, starting on paper and then making an MDF pattern, cutting the grooves with a Dremel tool and smoothing the intersections and transitions between different widths.
Over the past several years, I’ve tried to push the limits of traditional stringing patterns, which are basically a combination of straight lines and regular arcs, into freer, more organic forms that have a lot more life. Using patterns to guide a Dremel tool with end-mill bits gave me a new design vocabulary free of geometric constraints. To add realism and vitality to these designs, I taper the lines, routing adjacent sections with bits of different…