How To Inlay Turquoise into Wood

Making your own turquoise design on wood makes typical wooden articles very interesting and artsy. Be it types of jewelry such as pendants, bracelets or anklets or furniture pieces, various patterns in turquoise play well with the wood’s natural grain and color. Additional texture is given and pieces tend to become conversation pieces. Wood pieces done with turquoise design are often considered heirloom pieces and kept for generations to use. The steps below will help you make your own distinct piece.

  • Sanding your wood. Before you start, make sure you sand the wood that you will be using. If applicable, sand with rough sand paper first before finishing with fine grain sanding paper.
  • Laying out your turquoise cabochons. The next step would be for you to make your design. You can try sketching this first on paper and when you are final, then lay down your turquoise on the wood.
  • Burring the cabochons. Using a wood cutter burring bit (square ended), cut into your wood roughly around the depth of your cabochons. It would be better if you could follow the outline of your design as closely as possible. Be careful not to go beyond the lines of your outlined designed. Especially if you have designs with lots of corners, you will need a bit of extra work to cut closer to those lines.
  • Cleaning the holes out with a utility knife. Once you are done carving out the outline of your design, with the aid of a utility knife, carve out the design and the corners. It is best to undercut than overcut. You can repeatedly test the fit of your cabochons as you carve along. When placing your turquoise cabochons, make sure that they fit flat on your wood.
  • Attaching the cabochons. When you are done carving and placing your cabochons, prepare an epoxy mixture. Follow the package instructions for this adhesive. Once done, place a thin layer of epoxy on each turquoise cabochon and firmly place it glue side down on each designated spot. Press firmly and quickly wipe any excess glue that may ooze out to the sides. Make sure that no dirt or unwanted material unnecessarily sticks to your work.
  • Polishing your stones and wood. When you are finished with the sticking of the cabochons, wipe them with a soft, buffing cloth. You can apply a single layer of polyurethane finishing sealing in the items. Varnish can also be applied on the wooden surface. In some cases, before you start placing your turquoise, you can stain the wood that you will use before doing the carving.

Embellishing wooden items with turquoise can be a quite unique gift, especially if you place the design in the shape of the recipient’s name. This would look good in jewelry boxes or wooden bracelets. You can include a short set of maintenance instructions for the recipients so that your gift, where you exerted a lot of hard work, would be very well taken care of. Store your wooden items away from direct sunlight since the heat of the sun will dehydrate your wood and would cause them to shrink. At the same time, keep them away from moist areas. The best way to keep them is in a cool, dry place such as closets.


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