and then it becomes....... #6: marquetry conquest

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Blog entry by kolwdwrkr posted 12-05-2008 05:19 AM 2239 reads 9 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Padauk Part 6 of and then it becomes....... series Part 7: Progress pics »

Well it has been a while since my last posting on this project. As promised I will show my way of doing marquetry and carvings. Remember that these are my techniques, and yours may vary. There are a ton of ways of doing things and I’m sure there’s a lot of ways easier then mine. For instance many of you may prefer to use a router to route out a majority of the material, then use chisels to cut to the line. I use chisels simply because I do the work on my dining room table. I don’t have a garage shop and staying at my real shop doesn’t work for me. So here I sit chiseling away. To start this off here are a couple of pictures to get you caught up. The box and stand was built and then the door was made. I included a picture of the dovetail spacing simply because I didn’t in the previous blog.

Okay so lets’s get this party started. First thing we need to do is become concerned with what tools are needed. My list is as follows: Carbon paper and pattern, utility knife, exacto knife, chisel, mechanical pencil, cyanoacrylate glue, glue accelerator, card scraper, and veneer.

The first step I take is to transfer the pattern over to the veneer using carbon paper. Now in this case I am making a flower. You need to understand the grain of the material, as it will make or break a project. You need to orient your pattern on the veneer so the grain would be life like. The grain on a petal will go towards the center. The grain on a leaf will go at a diagonal toward the center, etc. If you do the grain wrong the project will look poor. You may consider drawing a similar thing on a piece of paper, then draw the way the grain should go. This will give you a visual and help you make the correct decisions.

then cut the pieces out.

Put your piece on the desired location on your project (in this case my door) and trace around it with the mechanical pencil.

To make things clear I do NOT use the pattern for anything other then to cut my pieces. It is not transfered to my door. Why? Because every piece you cut needs to overlap the one laid previously. This eliminates gaps. In my case I freehand draw my pattern then use it to make my pieces. Then I place the pieces on my project in a location similar to the design, but I can move them however I want, so long as I overlap them when I install them.
Moving on. The next step after tracing the piece is to make a stop cut. This stop cut should follow your pencil line but should be done just INSIDE the line, NOT on the line. This will give you the opportunity to sneek up on your line and make a more perfect fit.

After making the stop cut the next step is to chisel out the material. Hold your chisel at a low angle. This will aid in keeping a short depth. If you raise the handle up you will cut deeper, lowering the handle cuts less material. You want to cut small amounts out at a time pushing gently toward the stop cut. Do NOT force the tool or you will go past your stop line and possibly ruin your project. (it can be fixed but this isn’t a repairing mistakes blog ;-p)

After the material is out DRY FIT your piece. If it doesn’t fit take small amounts of material off where it is hitting. Once it fits add the glue, insert your piece, and press with the chisel to ensure it is in all the way. Spray with accelerator.

Now continue with the pattern laying your next piece slightly over the previous, marking, cutting, chiseling, then installing each piece one by one. In the next pic I scraped only a single petal of the flower for instructional purposes. My camara lady was busy and rushed so I had her just do it. You need to wait until the entire thing is done. Why? Because if you scrape each one you remove material and the thickness isn’t enough to continuously scrape. You will not only need to scrape the project but you will sand it as well. The risk of sanding or scraping through isn’t worth it.


Once the piece is scraped you can sit back and enjoy. (unless you are like me and are tackling the entire door with flowers and branches and a mysterious… be later found. The next blog will be a carving, so expect a delay.


I hope everyone enjoyed this and took something from it. Most of all I hope there is constructive criticism positive or negative. Thanks for reading.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

14 comments so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4060 days

#1 posted 12-05-2008 05:38 AM

I’ve always have wondered if using CA was an approved technique, having used it myself a for less ambitious (and beautiful) inlays. This project looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing the blog, it is most appreciated.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3720 days

#2 posted 12-05-2008 06:29 AM

Nice job…and nice blog too! Step by step photos say so much about the process.

I’ve never done marquertry, but use somewhat similar techiques in inlays.

Thanks for taking the time to show us your process.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4096 days

#3 posted 12-05-2008 06:32 AM

Man that is gorgeous work!

I am really glad to see the instructional photos for the marquetry. This post really got me thinking about trying it.

The marquetry really adds some great artwork to an already artistic piece of furniture.

I am anxious to see the end result.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Grumpy's profile


23916 posts in 3847 days

#4 posted 12-05-2008 06:53 AM

You are one clever fella Keith. That one is in my favourites box. Thanks for sharing.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Emeralds's profile


143 posts in 3559 days

#5 posted 12-05-2008 07:51 AM

I’m with everyone else. The box “BEFORE” was stunning. The box “AFTER” is enhanced well beyond that. Beautiful patient work. Cheers and thanks for the peek. :)

-- JMP

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3724 days

#6 posted 12-05-2008 04:45 PM

This is some nice work. I’ve never tried marquetry and the only subset of the skill I have tried is the scraper which I’m still struggling with. I’d imagine the scraper needs to be awfully sharp to avoid tearout and the inset pieces. thanks for the post.

View martin007's profile


142 posts in 3772 days

#7 posted 12-05-2008 05:08 PM

Great blog, nice work!

thanks for sharing your skills

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View stanley2's profile


344 posts in 3792 days

#8 posted 12-05-2008 05:52 PM

Keith – perfect timing. I’ve got a treasure box perculating in my mind and thought it would be time to attempt some inlay – your blog has inspired me to be committed to trying it. Thanks

-- Phil in British Columbia

View PetVet's profile


329 posts in 3484 days

#9 posted 12-05-2008 09:50 PM

Keith I really appreciate you taking the time to share you skills with us. I have dabbled at some marquetry, and really enjoyed seeing your technique. Thanks.

-- Rich in Richmond -- Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3770 days

#10 posted 12-06-2008 12:29 AM

Fantastic blog on some very cool marquetry, I haven’t done any of that in a very long time. Makes me wish there was two Saturdays and Sundays this weekend.

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View woodnut's profile


393 posts in 4049 days

#11 posted 12-06-2008 05:31 AM

very nice blog, I always enjoy this type of blog very informative and a great learning tool for someone like myself that has never tried inlays. Thanks for the time

-- F.Little

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3555 days

#12 posted 12-06-2008 02:26 PM

Great blog. I’ve never tried it before but I just may have to give it a try soon. Now I know why I saved those little pieces of veneer.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3710 days

#13 posted 01-25-2009 05:21 AM

This is a great blog. Thank you for taking the time to spell it out for us that are learning.


-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3684 days

#14 posted 01-25-2009 07:18 AM

Great blog and nice pictures to help us to ‘see’ what you’re talking about : ) This is very inspiring work .

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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