|Project by stefang||posted 101 days ago||2025 views||6 times favorited||50 comments|
Finally finished and ready to go. I still have to put something into the round end of the knob, but otherwise pretty much done. I didn’t have space in the shop to get photos from different angles so I followed Paul (Shipwright’s) lead to take the pics on the terrace.
It all started with an awakening interest in marquetry
Quite awhile ago I found a video by Silas Kopf using a Chevalet and explaining it’s origins. At the time this seemed like a pretty exotic machine, and when Kopf said he had learned how to use one at the Ecole boulle in Paris that made it even more exotic in my mind. I never thought for a minute that some day I would own one, not to mention build one myself. Of course most of the credit goes to my LJ buddy Paul aka Shipwright who not only built two of them for himself, but also designed it himself and then, being the generous person he is, made his Sketchup plans available to anyone wanting to give it a go! Oh, and I forgot to mention that he also encouraged me to build one too. Thank you Paul !!
So what the heck is a Chevalet de Marqueterie?
It is nothing more than a tool to produce marquetry work with. It has a saw frame that saws on a horizontal plane and a foot operated clamp that holds the workpiece in a vertical position instead of the workpiece being held on a horizontal surface and sawn with a blade held vertically, like a scroll saw for instance.
How Long does it take to build one?
Mine took me a little over 4 months to build working on and off on it. If you keep at it I would think an average hobby woodworker would probably take about a month and still have time for shopping with the wife and doing a little gardening on the side.
What inspired me to build one?
Mainly seeing in Paul’s marquetry blogs what it could do and of course his gentle prodding too.
How difficult a project was it?
It was an enjoyable project with a few frustrating moments, but I can assure you that you don’t need to be an expert woodworker to make one of these things, unless of course, you don’t have Shipwrights’s Sketchup drawings or plans from The American School of French Marquetry. Paul’s Sketchup drawings were very accurate and made this whole project possible for me.The main difficulty for me was working with pretty heavy timber, I used hard Maple, but you can just a well use Douglas fir if you want and get just as good a tool in the end.
If you want to do Marquetry do you need a Chevalet?
No, there are many good ways to do marquetry work and you can get outstanding results using a craft knife, scroll saw, hand held fret saw or homemade fret saw rigs. I chose the chevalet because it can cut through up to 14 layers of stacked veneer to produce very accurate copies of the cut in every piece of veneer from top to bottom. So I like its production capacity. Other advantages include being able to clearly see the design line being cut as the veneer packets are held in front of your face in a clamp making it easier to see the cut line, and lastly, being hand powered it can cut at whatever speed you feel necessary to follow the cut line and to cut very sharp corners where called for by the design.
That’s it for now. I hope you found it interesting. Remember you can decorate furniture, boxes, etc. with marquetry or just frame it and hang it on the wall. Marquetry also makes great gifts because there is not much of it around, and with a Chevalet you can make up to 14 marquetries and only have to cut the pattern once. 14 marquetries on 14 boxes or whatever.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.