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Koi Fish Wall Hanging

David Strout

Project by

David Strout
Natick, United State

General Information

The design is actual the logo of the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team at Brown University. The main body is plywood which I covered in many thin maple strips and the inlays are made from walnut. I sanded the piece in such a way to leave a smooth but rippled surface.

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Hellfish Sign Inlay.svg

Inlay Pieces


Ultimate Hellfish Sign Cavity.svg

Inlay Pocket


Download Zip

from Inventables


Create the Background

The first step is to mill the plywood to 21″ × 21″. I did this using a table saw, but any other method will work.

Next I ripped all of the maple strips (again with the table saw) to 1/8" thick. I used these strips to cover the front face of the plywood using wood glue.

After the strips had dried I trimmed them all flush with the plywood.

I then added a walnut border around the edges to the plywood to hide the veneers.


Carve the Pocket

The first step is carving the majority of the pocket with a 1/4" bit. Then I swapped out the bit for a 1/16" bit and ran the program again to carve out the corners. This may be a lengthy process but it is still much quicker than trying to carve out the entire shape with the 1/16" bit.

I set the final depth of cut to 1/8".


Carve the Inlays

The inlay SVG has all of the pieces realigned to maximize space efficiency. However this does change the grain alignment in some of the pieces.

This carve only used the 1/16" bit to cut the perimeters of the inlays.


Glue in the Inlays

I used Titebond III to glue the inlays into the pocket. Make sure you have a good coat of glue on the pieces before you install them.

I took this opportunity to fill some gaps in the piece. I used the wood glue and some dust from sanding to create a wood filler. This was then pushed into the cracks and left to dry.


Sanding and Finish

I wanted this piece to feel good as well as look beautiful so I opted to create an interesting textured finish.

With my initial grit (80 I believe) I sanded off all of the glue squeeze out but also created little ruts and bumps by holding my orbital sander at an angle. I then progressed through the grits up to 220 grit. This left the surface incredibly smooth but also rippled and wavy.

For a finish I applied a few coats of Watco Danish Oil. This left a beautiful satin sheen on the wood.


Add Hanging Wire

I installed two eyebolts in the back of the piece and strung a piece of picture hanging wire between them. And I was done! Now off to play some ultimate!