I have a poker table design that I have started CNCing components for. There are walnut sides with blond diamonds inlayed. In the blond diamonds, there are some engraved letters that I am going to inlay with resin. In the solid model, these are outlined with black--and I really like the way that looks. Is there any way to get this effect with an inlay?

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  • Hi, I don't think such a detail is possible.
    – Volfram K
    Mar 6 at 6:15
  • You might research how luthiers do inlays, though in that case the resin is often floated around pearl or wood inlays. There is some chatter online about how they'll scribe around the inlays deep enough to hand-paint a light or dark colour before inlaying or pouring resin. Not an answer because what the hell do I know?
    – user5572
    Mar 6 at 15:24
  • 1
    I think your main difficulty here will be in creating incised/milled marks this thin, after that filling with black would be a snap. But, I would be concerned that whatever you use would hold sufficiently well that you could trust it over time, since you'll almost certainly be working with a V-shaped groove.
    – Graphus
    Mar 7 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I've never done this before. I've never worked with inlay or resin, either. This answer is based solely on intuition.

Use your CNC machine to rout out the full size of the blue letters and black outlines into the light diamonds, then fill them with blue resin.

After the resin has cured, put it back into the CNC and route out just the black outline, then fill with black resin. Aligning the resin filled piece back in the CNC machine to ensure the black outlines are carved out properly is an exercise left to the reader.

How well the black will hold with wood on one side and more resin on the other is way above my pay grade. The resin manufacturer may be able to tell you how well their product will stick to a cured version of itself.

Obviously, this may require some experimentation and test pieces, and end up with somewhat thicker black outlines than you'd desire in order to get the resin to flow and to stick. But, that's what the testing is for.

  • I hit on this same answer driving home from the shop. I haven't tried it yet so I don't want to mark the answer. I think this is going to work, because resin machines pretty good. The only trick is going to be how small can I make the letters. Also, it will have to sit on the machine until totally cured. Mar 7 at 16:26
  • @MajorMajor, there is way more to consider here than just the milling of the black outline as I tried to get across to you above (not that milling such thin detain is trivial). Correct me if I'm wrong but the thinness of the black lines you desire I think means you have to use a super shallow V-groove which gives no undercut for the resin to key into. Given this I would have zero confidence this will last; you've got to remember that the resin, while flexible, is not responding to seasonal changes in RH like the wood. This very slight movement the resin must withstand continually [contd]
    – Graphus
    Mar 8 at 19:23
  • .....through the year, every year. Edit: and thinking about it, the post-fill flushing operation strikes me as highly risky by itself, with a high chance of some chunks of the resin just flaking out as you scrape or sand.
    – Graphus
    Mar 8 at 19:25
  • @FreeMan, +1 because it Answers the Question, but I think this is a losing proposition from the outset.
    – Graphus
    Mar 8 at 19:26
  • As we've both noted, @Graphus, it's a way of doing it. There was no requirement in the question that it be a lasting solution, so I have that going for me. :) I did suggest that there be some experimentation to see how well it would work.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 8 at 19:29

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