Latta Slicing Gauge
For slicing veneer into thin strips. Extends out 2". Cutter is .020" thick. Left-handed configuration available upon request.
Our collaboration with Educator/ Cabinetmaker, Steve Latta, began in 2006, when he approached us about designing a selection of inlay tools based on the tools he’d developed over many years of studying and creating 18th century furniture. Our inlay tools are the first commercially available tools designed specifically for stringing inlay. These tools cut precisely and are easily adjusted.
The Slicing Gauge is for slicing veneer into thin strips to form pieces of stringing. The veneer should be around .9mm (.034") - just a little bit thicker than the standard .030" cutter that comes with your radius or straight-line grooving tools. If you are cutting thicker grooves, you will want to use slightly thicker material. To extend the blade, loosen thumbscrew and slide beam forward. The blade can be extended to cut up to 2" (5.08cm) wide strips. When disassembling, be careful not to lose the spacer & pressure pad under the thumbscrew that locks the beam. A single bevel blade is available for other inlay applications.The slicing gauge also serves well as a cutting gauge or marking gauge when used with the single bevel blade.
Materials:Hard Maple body and shaft. Blades are made from Swedish Spring Steel. Other parts are Brass and Steel.
Blade Specs:The blade is made of .020" Spring Steel hardened to RC 52.
Study the illustration and make a fixture for slicing off your stringing. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) works well for the main surface and a hardwood such as maple or cherry makes a great edge strip. The strip should rest above the surface by about 1/32" and lip below about ¼" so that it can be butted to the edge of a workbench.
This strip will serve as a guide for the slicing tool. As the MDF surface becomes worn and scored, it will lose its ability to serve as a chipbreaker for the slicing tool. When that occurs, simply remove the strip, cut off the rough section of the MDF and reattach.
To slice off a piece of stringing:
Hold the tool as indicated in the illustration. Your thumb and forefinger should encase the body of the tool, with the outermost knuckle of the finger positioned at the crest of the slope. The remaining three fingers are simply held out of the way and make no contact with the tool at all. Hand pressure should be used to hold the tool against the bearing surface. Minimal pressure should be required for the actual cutting process.
Using a block plane or a jointer, true the edge of the veneer. Butt the veneer up against the strip and hold it in place with a strip of wood or a steel rule. Holding the slicing gauge, place the steel post on the edge strip and starting near the bottom of the veneer, pivot the blade lightly into the veneer and pull the cutter towards you. It should take two or three passes to slice through the veneer completely. Work your way up the full length of the veneer until you have completely removed the stringing. For difficult materials, I sometime slice half way through and then flip the veneer over and come in from the other side. If necessary clean up the edge of your veneer with a block plane.
A note on Stringing Material:Veneer, despite its thinness, is still a board and paying attention to grain direction is essential. The grain of the veneer should be oriented as shown in the illustration. Having it positioned as such prevents the stringing from fracturing and pulls the slicing tool tight against the guide strip. I often re-cut sheet veneer to guarantee such an orientation. For more information on using the Slicing Gauge and how to use stringing inlay in your work, we recommend Steve Latta’s DVD Fundamentals of Inlay: Stringing, Line & Berry.
Sharpening:The slicing Gauge has four bevels per blade. Start by painting each bevel with permanent marker or layout fluid. Hold the blade so the bevel registers fl at on the stone (medium or fine grit). Position the cutting edge of the blade so it’s parallel to the edge of the stone. Run the blade up and back along the length of the stone, using your fingers as a fence to brace your hands in the right position. Hone until the ink has been removed from the bevel. Repeat until all bevels have been honed.
Maintenance:Keep tool clean and occasionally coat with oil. A 50/50 mix of boiled linseed oil and turpentine is what we use.
Materials and workmanship are guaranteed for the life of your tool. Call for repairs or replacement parts. We are available for advice if you ever have a problem using your tool.
Proposition 65 Notice:
Bronze and brass alloys contain lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.