Various shenanigans #14: How I double bevel sea shells

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Blog entry by JeremyPringle posted 12-04-2013 09:29 PM 1663 reads 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Round two.... Part 14 of Various shenanigans series Part 15: Planing a table top by hand »

Here is a small write up and brief description of how I do my double bevel sea shells.

A note before I start:
This is how I do it. In no way shape or form am I saying this is the way to do it. There are tons, and tons of ways to do this stuff, I did my own trial and error and I found a way that works for me.

First, I start with a pattern, and I also found that using the pattern on some clear paper comes in handy as well.

Then I gather all the pieces that I am going to be using. Here is some pre sand shaded figured maple and some black stuff. Because this is just for blog purposes, I am not going to be using the good black stuff. This black stuff looks like its not going to cut very nicely. Close, tight grained stuff works best for me. This is just standard sliced veneer, some where in the 1/32 range.

Using a knife, I cut out each individual piece that I will be cutting out, depending on the pattern, it could take up to 4 to get all the pieces cut out.

Then I use some OBG and I stick the paper patterns strategically to my veneers.

Notice how I left lots of room around the pattern?

I use green masking tape and lay rows to cover the back side of the background piece. I tried using veneer tape for this, but I found that it likes to come off too easy during the cutting. The green mask helps things from splintering really bad.

Then I use some tape and I tape a clear pattern to the black.

Using the pattern as a guide, I tape my first piece to the background

Then I use a jewellers drill and a tiny bit, to drill a hole so I can feed the blade through

I made a sawing platform that I use for this, I made the table sit at 13° and I hold my saw straight up and down.

Blades: I buy my blades from Lee Valley, marquetry blades, they are 5” double skip tooth 2/0 blades. The backs of the blades have been rounded so you can do tighter curves. If you live in the US, I am sure woodcraft or rockler will carry something similar.

Once I have feed the blade through the hole, and tensioned it in the fret saw, I always start in the waste portion of the veneer. Because of the tilt on my table, my keep is always on the inside of the cut. I try my best to keep to my line… but I am really only concerned with the lines that will be touching the black background. The portions that will be touching another piece of cut veneer that I have not cut yet, I make sure I leave extra material there..

Once I have cut out the back ground, I place a small piece of tape back, so hold in the new piece.

The reason I leave extra material there, is so when I cut the next piece, I am cutting it so it matches perfectly, and not trying to cut an already cut line that I cannot see.

Here are the first three piece cut from the back side with the tape removed.

This is the same pattern I used on the string inlay box.

Some other things to keep in mind while doing this…

When I start working with a new pattern, I take a few min and dissect all the components into layers. This helps me figure out which pieces to cut first, and which one to cut last. This can be a little confusing and complicated at first, but trust me… once you have done a few practice pieces, it should all fall into place, and so should your veneer.

The surface that I am working on is the show surface. Once done cutting the pattern, I use veneer tape and tape the entire surface, then I remove all the green tape from the back, and its ready for gluing.

I usually let my left hand index finger nail grew a few mm longer than normal when I know I am going to cutting, I use that nail for extra support and its is really, really close to the blade, and sometimes becomes a zero clearance plate. The one time I did not let the nail grow longer.. I hooved my finger tip.

I go slow, and take my time.

I keep some tallow or paraffin wax handy and touch up the blade when I feel it dragging.

Here are two more examples of shells that are ready for use.

Thanks for checking in,

3 comments so far

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3483 days

#1 posted 12-04-2013 09:56 PM

Wow, Thanks for the post. Very interesting.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2060 days

#2 posted 12-05-2013 12:36 AM

That takes some serious attention to detail and an eye for shades/colors/grain etc. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

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View sscartozzi's profile


64 posts in 1782 days

#3 posted 12-05-2013 02:13 AM

Thanks Jeremy. This was very helpful. The sequence was explained well and the need for the tape on the background.

-- Steve, Malvern, PA

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