Hello, my name is Larry Tarter, the creator of Multiple Layer Inlay Stencils or for short M.L.I.S. I would like to tell you how that came to be.
Above you see a project that I made for my Grandson Ian before he was born. The designs for the toys are from Wood Magazine and the rest is my design. I desperately wanted to inlay his name in the shelf. As a truck driver and woodworking hobbyist, I didn’t know how to accomplish this task so I got on the internet to learn how. While trying to use the techniques of master craftsman, I failed miserably destroying a lot of valuable material.
After that I tried to find templates to use with my router inlay kit. I was amazed to find that they do not exist. So I did what I thought was the next logical step, I set out to make my own.
Well that was when I discovered how difficult it was taking into account the bit offset and the limits of the tool. I tried for weeks in my spare time to come up with a workable design, but could only come up with balloon letters with the center of the “A” routed out completely. I eventually found the font that you see in the shelf and set out to make the template even though I did not like it much, I ended up settling for it.
After multiple tries, I had made what I thought was a good enough template but I found it difficult to clamp into place. Some parts of the template were too thin and bent when trying to use it. With dogged persistence and loss of valuable lumber and time I finally succeeded in creating the inlay in the shelf.
As I drove my truck around making deliveries over the next few months, it really bothered me that something that seemed so simple, was so difficult.
That’s when it came to me that if I use multiple layers then the possibility for inlays like this would not only be possible but somewhat limitless in what you can do, not just for letters and numbers but for artwork to be added to signs, furniture, or whatever you can think of.
So, in 2010, I started building a shop to work out of and Tarter Woodworking was born.
I hope you all enjoy using your stencils as much as I did creating them. Please send us pictures of your finished projects, and any ideas for inlay projects you would like to have in the contact us section. We will post the photos on our website for everyone to enjoy, and work to bring the most popular designs to you.