Tool Review: Inlay Material by Easy Inlay
Innovative inlay material takes color
Easy Inlay has introduced two types of inlay material, crushed mother-of-pearl and crystal calcite. The mother-of-pearl comes in flake and fine grades, and the crystal calcite in coarse and fine. Regardless of the grade, the materials work well as inlay, take finish well, and are a good way to add color to projects, especially since both can be dyed. This ability is no surprise with the crystal calcite, but you can’t alter the color of traditional mother-of-pearl, which makes the Easy Inlay product special. I tinted some with TransTint and shellac, per the instructions, and ended up with colors that were quite bright. You can also combine the two materials to create patterns with varying color and shimmer.
I found the coarse crystal calcite pretty chunky. And between the two mother-of-pearl grades, the fine had a more even shimmer and, when used with smaller details, required less secondary filling with cyanoacrylate glue, a necessary practice with inlay to fill voids after the first gluing. Regardless of the material or grade, though, I found at least one extra gluing necessary. To my eye, the flake mother-of-pearl lacked some of the subtle shimmer I typically get from other mother-of-pearl materials: I suspect this is due to the higher volume of glue required to hold the small particles together in the inlay groove.
—Craig Thibodeau is an inlay specialist in San Diego.