On Tuesday I got a chance to see the completed flag case. It looks amazing. Once Pete glued everything together and sanded it down, the inlays are seamless. I couldn't believe it. The finish is so smooth that it looks like the dark wood inlays aren't inlays at all -- it looks like the text and the ship were printed on the light wood.
The family gathered this weekend for a wedding, so Pete was able to deliver the case to his grandmother. They inserted the flag and sent this picture:
I'm so pleased with how this turned out. I'm looking forward to experimenting with more wood in the future.
The veneer project was a success! I have a sense of victory. Pete provided more of the dark wood and after a little trial-and-error on my part, I cut the inlays and they fit perfectly!
The trial-and-error part consisted of me playing with the stroke thickness of each line. I bumped up the stroke weight, used the expand function, and cut the ship to see if it fit. A stroke of 2 was way too thick. I settled on a mere 0.5 stroke. That was enough to compensate for the material lost when the laser cut the light wood.
Pete took it home, glued it to the backer, and put it in this vacuum bag. The vacuum simulates a 1,500 lb. press.
After removing it from the vacuum bag Pete sanded it, which removed the faint scorch marks on the light wood. He promised to send me a picture of the case when his grandfather's memorial flag is in place. So glad I could help with this.
I spent a little time in the College of Architecture at Virginia Tech. It was there that I learned a thing or two about cardboard. With a little finesse, I turn something ordinary into something unique.