Handmade Jewellery Box #4: a baby step into marquetry

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Blog entry by Flemming posted 07-19-2010 12:40 AM 3135 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: there's light at the end of the tunnel! Part 4 of Handmade Jewellery Box series Part 5: The final frontier »

This has been a challenge to say the least!!!! I have the utmost respect for the people that make marquetry look easy… damn. This has been the biggest challenge on this project, and I’ve had more than one set-back along the way, but I’m pleased with the final look of things.

first things first. The box, as mentioned is pretty much finished and I have chiselled out the slots for the hinges.


The picture above shows 2 of the 4 hinge-slots finished. 4 hinges might be a bit excessive, but they’re small and the lid is relatively heavy. After all of the work I’ve put into this, it would be a disaster if it broke one day, lol.

Right, on to the marquetry adventure… I ran into several problems along the way. The first of which was the fact that I could not find any veneer. I’m still new to this and I’m constantly looking online and asking at the shops where to find these kinds of things, so slowly but surely I’ll start finding reliable suppliers. Until then, I have to make do with what I have and what I can make… it takes a lot of work sometimes, lol.


Until the day I find the places to get the woods/veneer I need, I have to make my own… Or rather, try to make my own, hahah! The picture above shows my attempt at cutting veneer, lol. Needless to say I didn’t dare cut too thin, so it’s about 3mm thick.


After I cut through I sanded it down to about 2mm thick. Still too thick for veneer, but it was “workable”.


The picture above shows the pattern of the marquetry on the lid. 3 calla lilies and 2 leaves. You can also see the first tracing for the inlay piece.


First flower and stem piece cut. The wood is pine, i managed to find some 2mm thick plates and it sufficed :)


My first attempt at scorching the wood didn’t turn out so well… I heated sand up in a pot and managed to burn the piece too severely to the point where it turned to charcoal, warped and then crumbled… not cool. I had to cut another piece of course.


Second attempt at the first petal. In the picture above it’s already glued in place. I was too chicken to try to scorch it again… and that was a mistake… the finished product now looks sort of wrong.. I might border off the stem, heat up some more sand and then pour it on top. If any marquetry experts are reading this and think that’s a bad idea, please let me know.

I also made a big mistake here… a BIG one… I decided to carve out the entire pattern from the lid before I started cutting the inlay pieces. It was impossible to match them exactly after that… I should definitely have done it one by one and made the minor adjustments along the way.


All the pieces cut and ready for inlay.


As mentioned above, the first inlay piece was already glued in, and then I finally manned up and tried to scorch the remaining inlay pieces, which turned out ok. I should not have glued in the first piece to start with, I should have scorched it as well.


Finito :) as you can see, it looks a little wonky because the middle stem is so dark and the rest aren’t… I really do think that I have to revisit that and somehow border off the stem of the left most flower and pour some hot sand onto it to get it to look more uniform.. what do you think? any other suggestions of how to go about this? maybe cut out the middle flower and make a new piece without scorching it?

-- Flemming. It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

6 comments so far

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3113 days

#1 posted 07-19-2010 01:05 AM

Flemming you are wonderful!
I simply love your level of energy, you are a star on my sky.
It’s a beautiful motiv you have made, I’m sure your girlfriend will love you for this.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View dedalo's profile


173 posts in 2921 days

#2 posted 07-19-2010 02:56 AM

Excelent work! i really like the way you find resources…


View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3365 days

#3 posted 07-19-2010 03:05 AM

keep it up ,

you are doing great ,
it will get easier ,
then it will get harder ,
as you keep pushing yourself .

it never ends ,
the journey is the thing though ,
the destination keeps changing .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2958 days

#4 posted 07-19-2010 06:03 AM

It looks great. I have been following your box and I think it will look really nice.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View sras's profile


4810 posts in 3153 days

#5 posted 07-19-2010 06:23 AM

If you don’t tell anyone (besides us) they will never notice the difference in colors. This looks great!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3358 days

#6 posted 07-19-2010 07:02 PM

I think it looks great too! I admire that you didn’t let a lack of commercial veneer stop you. The true woodworking spirit. I’m sure someone sells it in Denmark. A web search should turn up some suppliers you can order from, and if not ‘Craft Supplies’ sells it in England. It’s light so not much postage to pay either. Good luck and keeping making beautiful stuff like your marquetry box!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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