Slicing Veneer Inlays With a Swiveling CNC Blade

By Bill Esler | Posted: 01/07/2013 1:22PM


A unique CNC drag knife swivels to cut square corners or sharp acute angles with no over-cutting into adjacent material. Launched at the IWF 2012 trade show by Donek Tools, the drag knife blade tool fits in any CNC machine and is used for precise cutting in thin materials with no tear out, no dust, and zero kerf waste.

The drag knife was demonstrated at the show cutting out wood veneer patterns for inlay, but it can also be used for cutting thin plastics, cardboard, gasket materials, leather – basically any material that can be cut with a utility knife or detail hobby knife.

There are two models: one for cutting the fine details in thin materials (1/16-inch radius cuts in materials up to 1/16-inch thick), and another that can cut materials up to 1/4 inch thick. The cost is $229 at

Because of the unique way the drag knife works, both models cut square corners or sharp acute angles with no over-cutting into the adjacent material.

Besides reducing waste, this approach to precision cutting also means that the positive and negative parts of an inlay can be cut out following the same programmed tool path. No kerf allowance is required as with cut outs with a rotary CNC bit.

“There is a lot of interest in a precise yet affordable drag knife tool that allows the CNC machine owner to really expand the capabilities of their machine by adding to the materials it can cut,” says Donek Tool founder Sean Martin. “For woodworkers, there’s really nothing else like this tool available for inlays, marquetry, and other veneer cutting.


About the Author

Bill Esler, Woodworking Network, WMS

Bill Esler

Bill Esler, Editorial Director, Woodworking Network Bill is responsible for overall content at Woodworking Network magazine, and related newsletters. Bill also manages event programs for Woodworking Network Live conferences at the Woodworking Machinery & Supplies Expo in Toronto and Cabinets & Closets Expo. He developing audience engagement programs using custom digital printing, live lead-generating events, custom websites, and custom digital and print content. Read Bill Esler's woodworking blogs. He can be reached at or follow him on Google+.

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