Considering what stipulates a ”Blog Entry” this one hits them all! The Marquetry Wine Box Saga is ”a project in progress”. Through numerous queries,fascinating discussions, encouraging comments and most definitely … awesomely beautiful contributions regarding the Art of Marquetry from fellow Lumberjocks … the ”inspiration” for me to work a Marquetry design felt like a dormant seed taking sprout! After numerous years with interests running along the path of Intarsia, Marquetry had been placed upon the back burner of my life … until now … therefore giving reign to another of “Blog Entry” suggested requirements … “a challenge”!!
There are so many ways to work a Marquetry design … but you already know from my previous tutorial blogged on the subject … I’m into the “Window Method”. That particular blog was only a taste of involvement … this one will be the whole meal deal!
And on that note, whether it’s considered a form of tutorial for some, or hilarious entertainment for others over my somewhat unorthodox methods of ’bas-ackwardness’ as you follow the challenging path I trod … at least enjoy a glass of wine while looking at the pretty pictures!!
It took many hours scouring the Internet, browsing through my own vast filing cabinet of ideas, piece-mealing, blending, chucking out and starting all over again before I finally was satisfied with this ‘art nouveau’ design. It took just as much time to ‘whip up’ a box base for this design to be mounted upon, but you’ve thankfully been spared my big issues over trying to get everything squared up!
I scanned and printed off the completed design, so I could have a total overview of all four sides. Of course I scanned the second page incorrectly and ended up playing front to back, upside down and inside out in order for all four panels to line up properly! In ‘real life’ the Marquetry panels should only need reversing to have those decorative motifs meet properly.
Veneer knives really come in handy for cutting across the grain. I’ve chosen Brazilian Rosewood as the background veneer, which was cut into 4 panels and held together using masking tape.
The scanned design for the front panel was glued and pressed onto cardboard … because I was too lazy to yet again draw this intricate design as I normally would have, transferring with carbon paper to cardboard. My fingers have become as old as my eyes!! I found it much harder to cut through this paper/glue/cardboard template with the pen styled Exacto knife … but on the upside, I found I could cut through this template on the scroll saw and save myself the torment of arthritic joints!! Happily, this was discovered shortly after hand cutting the hole portion of the template.
Before I go farther, I should explain the ‘set-up’. I use a ‘self-healing’ cutting mat as my work surface. You can purchase them in varied sizes at fabric shops if you can’t find them elsewhere. Because it’s necessary to hold things in place while working the design, I cut a strip of masking tape (seen along the bottom edge of the cutting mat) into squares. This is not a moment for perfection! Slice the tape lengthwise then quickly score to end up with fairly small squares. As the template transforms into veneer, these little square help secure your work (on the front) until you’re ready to flip it over and adequately tape the underside of that particular section. The square pieces once removed from the front allows open viewing as you continue cutting.
Another part of my preparation applies to the scroll saw. There will be tiny pieces within this design that would otherwise fall through the open portion where the blade passes through the scroll table. To prevent this from happening I attach a piece of arborite (with band-saw blade kerf line) in place. I like to cover most of the table area to prevent veneers from ‘catching up’ ... and they do on smaller table coverage! Held in place with clear packing tape, this is easily removed later. The kerf is larger than the scroll saw blade width, making it easier for blade movement, removal, etc. Arborite is kitchen countertop material … but you could just as easily use hard-pack cardboard (poster board) for this purpose.
With the template taped onto the padded Rosewood background, I’m ready to proceed. But wait! Is this “Window Method”?! Well … there’s a reason for approaching in this manner to start off with. As the decorative motif appears on all 4 panels, that’s where I want to begin … because this is the only part that is similar to all 4 panels. Don’t worry … we’ll be into windows before you know it!!
This is the scary part Stefang!! That first cut. Holy Cow, but I was nervous!! And I always am when making that very first cut. I can feel tension in my shoulders, running down into my hands. Even my stance before the scroll saw is tight! After all this prep work, I sure don’t want to screw up!! I could have cut the entire motif out as one piece … but cutting it into sections helped me work out the tension and build up confidence. I’m sure we all know what that’s about, eh?!!
You may have noticed that I covered over the black lines of the template with masking tape. Another reason for discomfort was the fact that I couldn’t see clearly where I was cutting because the black line and the black of the blade blended together! Combine the black sawdust from the Rosewood … YIKES!! Simple solution with masking tape dulling the lines :)
While in the process of cutting, don’t be afraid to stop frequently and tape those sharp points to protect them from breaking off!
With the motif section cut away, the main portioned panels are separated. I will work on the front panel first, with the remaining 3 re-padded in preparation for their own particular design.
I wish I had engaged my brain beforehand, instead of ending up applying masking tape to the front panel after the fact! Dark backgrounds are always hard to see pencil and scribe lines. You can clearly see that the tape makes this task much easier … but it wasn’t all that easy trimming tape around the already cut exterior of this panel!
A pilot hole drilled, blade threaded through … the first of many cuts to come for this front panel! I wasn’t too concerned about supporting this single veneer for cutting the hole because there is excess to trim away after it’s been glued to the box. But before I proceed with the rest of the design, I intend to back this Rosewood panel with cardboard to help prevent any tear-out, as can easily happen when one thin veneer meets up with aggressive blade!!
Just in case some of you might be wondering what on earth that hole is for … instead of bottling the red wine when ready … my dear sweet hubby puts it into wine sacks for me. Not that I drink that much!! but rather because I already have a Marquetry wine box (sitting upon our kitchen countertop). I’ve decided it’s time to replace my years-old with a brand-new one. Anyway … I digress!! … the hole is where the wine spigot comes out.
Because I want to work on the decorative motif first, the template pieces are patched back together then lined up with the corresponding top and bottom sections of Rosewood background belonging to the front panel.
Once that’s done, the main section of background Rosewood replaces the template … because in order to cut the motif properly, I’ll be using the Exacto knife to scribe lines where wood meets wood for a nice fit. And of course with my ’square issues’ I check … and double check … yada! yada!! yada!!!
This is where Part 1 comes to an end … but please stay tuned for Part 2 which will deal with fun stuff … like sand shading! It will take a while before the next blog comes out … so until then, all my Lumberjock friends … keep happy making sawdust!!
-- Elaine in Duncan