How to Install a Michigan State Inlay

How to Install a Michigan State Inlay

Jennifer Evans

The great state of Michigan has everything to offer, from freshwater coastlines and unspoiled nature to lakes, beaches, and farm-fresh produce. For those who have a love for Michigan, sharing the state with others can be a perfect gift or sentiment.

And the Michigan State Inlay from Slab Stitcher is a great place to start. These inlay systems are a fast and easy way for woodworkers of all levels to stitch together wood for various projects and creations. Add an eye-catching outline of Michigan state to any piece you're working on, from tables and cutting boards to desktops, charcuterie boards, and the bottom of bowls, for an instant beautiful wood element.

Getting started is simple, even for those who have never attempted any inlay work before. Our kits outline the process every step of the way and can make your next project very easy and undoubtedly rewarding. If you're unsure how to inlay wood, follow our simple instructions below.

Things You Will Need:

A Router

Your router should easily hold the guide brush; any router with a 1/4" shank will work. Many newer, entry-level router models lack this function, so check your specs to ensure yours can hold a guide bushing. Some manufacturers sell these pieces separately, and some third-party companies sell sub-bases to help.

Slab Stitcher has designed over 12 custom-made sub-bases to fit the exact specifications of many standard US router base plate models. We also sell generic DIY model options if your router isn't the standard size and shape. You can find your sub-base here to order.


For some of our inlay designs, zero or minimal chisel work is required to complete the process. While a chisel is great to have, we're not picky. Use what's available to you, even if that's a utility knife. The key is finding something that is sharp and safe to handle.

Wooden Block

We recommend using a wooden block to displace the pressure and give your inlay a clean install, but whatever you have on hand can work.

Slab Stitcher Starter Kit

You can't make the Michigan inlay without the Slab Stitcher Starter kit! If you don't already have yours, you can get one here. You'll need one of our Starter Kits for the best chance of success. All Starter Kits include our Main Frame (required for all our two-step template designs and dramatically assists with aligning and securing the work on all our designs), our router bit, and our router guide bushing (manufactured to our specifications). All our inlays and templates are designed to work precisely with this specific bit and guide bush, giving you the best results.

Slab Stitcher Template and Inlay

These are included in most of our Starter Kits (the exception is our Build Your Own Kit, which requires at least one Expansion Pack). Purchasing an expansion pack can add additional designs to your Slab Stitcher collection.

How to Install a Michigan State Inlay Step by Step

Step One

As you get started, the first step is to grab your Main Frame. Next, secure one of the Michigan templates into the Main Frame by laying the Main Frame on a flat surface and pressing the template firmly on all four corners into the Main Frame.

Step Two

Center the Michigan template over the desired location on your workpiece.

Step Three

Clamp down the Main Frame to your workpiece in away the clamps will not obstruct the router.

Step Four

Rout out the recess completely at a 1/4" depth.

Step Five

With a chisel and slight pressure, pry up the Michigan template, leaving the Main Frame clamped to your workpiece.

Step Six

Insert the second Michigan template into the Main Frame and ensure that the corners are firmly pressed down and flush to the sides.

Step Seven

Rout out the remainder of the Michigan recesses.

Step Eight

After the routing is complete, you can unclamp the Main Frame with the template and carve out the corners where the router bit couldn't reach.

Step Nine

Apply glue to the recess and gently place the preferred Michigan Inlay into the recess with slight finger pressure. Then, with a block of wood slightly larger than the Michigan inlay, tap the inlay into place with gentle taps from your mallet or hammer.

Step Ten

Allow the glue to dry completely. Once dry, sand down the excess dried glue to complete the process.

Finishing Touches

If you don't follow these steps precisely, that will cause failure with the inlay fitting into the pocket. We made the Main Frame nearly 12" x 12" with an off-centered hole to aid in clamping to your workpiece.

Your inlays will come to you with a mark/wood species on one face. This mark(s) is to inform you of the bottom of the inlay. The machine cuts the inlays with a slight angle, creating a smaller side of the inlay. The smaller face is the one with the mark, making it easier to insert and making for a tighter fit.

When it's time to reorder inlays, look for the name on the template.

Start Creating Your Next Project

Creating new projects and designs can be fun for woodworkers with all different skill levels. Get started on your next inlay project today and explore our variety of starter kits.