String inlaid box #6: Marquetry fail.

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Blog entry by JeremyPringle posted 05-04-2013 03:29 PM 3488 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Bent stringing Part 6 of String inlaid box series Part 7: Inlay in the lid »

First, a note on my new favorite tool… a Chisel point brad awl! Where has this been all my life? This makes installing hinges crazy easy. You need one too.

Ok, now back to the marquetry for the top of the box.

1. Selected veneers

2. Draw my pattern, which I tried to copy from a picture in Pierre’s book.

3. Glue newsprint to the fronts of all my sheets

4. Press in air pump vac, with sheets of newspaper in between

5. Make packet

Picture of my birdsmouth

6. Use fret saw to saw out the individual pieces of the pattern.

7. Reassemble and tape the face side (backside)

The next step would be to use mastic to fill the gaps, and then glue it to a sub. But… I do not like the outcome. I will not be using this panel. For several reasons:
1. The kerf left between the pieces is too big. Even though I used a super tiny 2/0 marquetry blade, the gap is too big.

2. I think my packet was too thick. There was a 1/8 ply on the top and bottom of the packet, and this made the sawing too slow (in my opinion), and I felt that it put quite a bit of stress on the blade (see #3) if I do this again, I will do it with .8mm ply.

3. My free hand fret saw skills are not good enough, they are ok, but not great. My arm got tired after a while and then started to sag, and then I was not cutting at the proper angle, and this puts lots of stress on the blade. This also messed up the layers of veneer so there are slightly different, not noticeable to others, but to Mr. Edwards (that’s right, I called him Mister), Paul Shipwright, and Patrice, my errors would be very noticeable.

4. I was frustrated by the whole process. This is one of those places and stages in woodworking where you know what needs to be done, you have the skills to do it, you want to do it really bad, but you just do not have the resources or tools to do it. I have done some really nice double bevel stuff, but those have been small, like little sea shells. It has basically come to the point where I cannot move forward in the techniques and styles that I want unless I make myself a chevalet. I am sure someone somewhere out there will tell me other wise… but that is just what I want.

So my conclusion to this part of the build… the process just got bigger, because now when I am done making my next batch of corporate commissions, I am going to build a chevalet. WOO HOO!!!!

Thanks for reading.

4 comments so far

View molan's profile


142 posts in 2247 days

#1 posted 05-04-2013 03:40 PM

You are to hard on yourself! From the picture above it looks like it turned out very nicely. Especially if this is a first attempt,

your going to build this?

Thats ambitious

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2823 days

#2 posted 05-04-2013 03:48 PM

You did very well Jeremy, considering you did it by hand. IMHO it would take a tremendous amount of practice to get to the point where you could maintain 90 degrees well enough for packet cutting. The chevalet will give you that part free … as a given once set up and adjusted, leaving you free to concentrate on following the line.

I applaud your attempt, first for the ambitious choice of motif and second for giving the hand method a try.

This was no failure. It was a step in your development, a learning experience that led to a decision that will make it work better in the future. ............. That’s called a success.

(anyone interested in what a chevalet is … visit the chevalet clubhouse.)

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#3 posted 05-04-2013 04:51 PM

I’m really impressed with what a wonderful job you did with this, especially done by hand cutting. Nevertheless, you are right to say it is not good enough because YOU are not satisfied with it. That kind of attitude is good because it can only result in you constantly improving your work, but maybe not your contentment. It may be that you will never be satisfied, but again a great motivator. I agree with Paul though, about considering it a learning experience. Personally, I would glue it up if for no other reason than to document your progress and I’m sure someone else would treasure it even if you don’t.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View JeremyPringle's profile


321 posts in 2499 days

#4 posted 05-04-2013 09:51 PM

I think mostly, I do not like the colours I picked, or how they are working together.

And I really want to make a Chevalet.

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