How to Make and Inlay a Star: Episode 1

How to make and inlay a star episode 1 keyframe

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Making stars for decoration is quick and fun, and will develop very specific hand tool skills you can use throughout your future as a woodworker. The sequence of making the stars will show you how to make the points and thickness of the pieces with precision, and the result is a beautiful star.


  1. redwood on 1 January 2021 at 11:46 am

    Brilliant, thanks Paul.

  2. dpawson on 1 January 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Oh dear Paul.
    Yet again, you never say why you’re doing stage X of a build?
    Clear as a bell, then you do something…. without saying why?
    To make X line up with Y? plus or minus nowt.
    Please say why you do each stage?

    Other than that, another excellent tutorial.

  3. Paul Court on 1 January 2021 at 12:39 pm

    What a nice little project. 🙂

    Perhaps when doing the sticky tape stuff, make a “H” shape on the desk with the two vertical bars sticky side down holding the horizontal bar (sticky side up) in place?

  4. Bill Hall on 1 January 2021 at 1:43 pm


    So if all I know is the dimensions of the final star I want, 3” in diameter for example, is there a calculation to approximate what the thickness of the wood needs to be?

    • Izzy Berger on 15 January 2021 at 12:14 pm

      Hi Bill,

      Paul says:

      The internal angles are determined by the number of star points; in this case we are five-pointed with ten pieces, hence 36-degrees comes by dividing the 360-degree circle by 10. The thickness of the board can determine the radius the points of the star fit into. To determine the length of the points and the thickness of the wood simply draw the three inch circle onto paper, divide up the circle by five, so 72 degrees and then split those angles. The intermittent angles, 36-degrees, can then be intersected by a smaller diameter circle at whatever distance you want and that looks appropriate to you. This will give you the thickness of your stock.


  5. Daniel Kuntschik on 1 January 2021 at 2:39 pm

    Great project Paul, Thank you for your on line school, happy new year from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina,
    Daniel Kuntschik

  6. Randy Grove on 1 January 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Enjoyed this very much. However, I was expecting Paul to joint the short angles that come together in the center of the star in a similar manner to the way the long edges were prepared prior to gluing up the individual points. Why is this not necessary, i.e. what insures that there is no gap along these short center joints on one or the other side of the star’s center? Simply the accuracy of his sawing that short side? It seems to me that even if he was able to saw perfectly perpendicular to the faces that there is potential to lose that when the points are thicknessed. Perhaps the distances involved are so small that slight imperfections are imperceptible? Or you simply make sure that any gaps all occur on the side of the star that is not going to be shown in the finished piece?

    • Izzy Berger on 15 January 2021 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Randy,

      Paul says:

      There were no gaps so why fix what ain’t broke? But the reason I did the adjoining edges on the inner joint lines and then the outer edges too is because the longer length might sallow discrepancies that would show. The, on the outer edges of the long points, the edges need shooting because they are actually forming the edges of the inlay in the wood and the centre meeting points are not, so, pardon the pun, there is no point!.


  7. willyd57 on 1 January 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Paul you never cease to amaze and impress with your skills as a woodworker and a teacher. I never would have guessed how simple the process of making an inlay like this can be!


  8. beach512 on 1 January 2021 at 4:33 pm

    For those that may not know, there is a great instructional video Paul did on this several years ago. I made 5 stars from that earlier video and the method works out great. For those who would like to see a bit more including sanding the whole star in 2 different jigs after glue up, see Paul’s youtube video from 2014:


  9. Eric Lundholm on 1 January 2021 at 5:39 pm

    If you want a three inch star the back edge of each piece which will be the center length of the arm needs to be half that or in a three inch star. 1.5 inches. measure the length then mark your angles from each end.

  10. Robert Hauser on 1 January 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Very nice little project and the video has techniques that will be used in many other projects. Bravo!

  11. jan Hettinga on 1 January 2021 at 8:01 pm

    Nice and clear demonstration

  12. Bill Klapwyk on 1 January 2021 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you for the video Paul this is a great tutorial and one I will use for some coasters I am going to make for gifts this year. I have been doing woodworking for over 30 years and I always find great golden nuggets in your videos that make me wonder how I never thought of that. Awesome teaching and most masterful craftsmanship done with such ease that it belies the difficulty of many projects. God bless and may the New Year be wonderful for you and your family.

  13. Bryan Dilks on 1 January 2021 at 11:09 pm

    Thank you. Your knowledge and skills are such a gift. Thank you for sharing that gift with us!

  14. Michael Michalofsky on 2 January 2021 at 12:04 pm

    Did you just get a haircut for the new year
    I hope the barbers scissors were sharp!

  15. Ulf Koellmann on 2 January 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Great work! One thought: I wonder whether reversing grain in both parts of the feathers might cause tear out during the thickness planing on one side. It’s probably wise to check the grain before cutting the feathers.

  16. Trevor Hosken on 3 January 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Star of wonder. Brilliant.
    Many thanks

  17. larryl49 on 4 January 2021 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Paul great project, will use this one when I make a Jewlery box for my grand daughter, the lock down locks look very smart, Happy Newyear to you and the team, Larry.

  18. Tom Ray on 6 January 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Looks as though you actually started with the 36 degree angle first at 5:05 minute point.

  19. Debra J on 3 February 2021 at 7:37 pm

    Just a minute into the video and I am already hooked. TEXAS stars! Thank you, Mr. Sellers! Much love from The Lone Star State.

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