|Project by jfk4032||posted 04-12-2015 11:46 AM||2602 views||8 times favorited||23 comments|
By far the most time I invested in a single project, production on it alone amassed around 600 hours, with more time for the pattern creation and modifications. The design was replicated from a tapestry that my parents commissioned from a well known artist, Phillip Ratner, who was a neighbor of ours at one time. I collected and purchased wood for this project over a two year period accumulating 50 different species; the pattern has over 400 individual pieces and as with my other intarsia pieces, no stains used. Special thanks to LJers Elyasaf, Nayo and Ron F. for their wood contributions. The project also has well over 100 shims and measures about 19” x 35”.
I took many work in process pictures and uploaded them here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/78271350@N00/sets/72157651898680425/
As with my previous JMU Duke intarsia piece, I cut over 90% of this project with the double bevel cutting technique. One of the biggest challenges was the size and/or position of some of the larger/longer pieces and having them fit within my 21” Hegner scroll saw using the double bevel cutting technique. I had to get real creative in how I worked these cuts through the saw; reverse the direction of how I clamped in the blades while reversing the bevel angle and feed pieces in from two different directions, bracing some pieces together out of the live area for support as the aggregate piece grew and I needed to have sections of background pieces stable while double bevel cutting newer pieces into them as well as other creative workarounds. Also a big challenge was the frame itself which worked into the design and had to maintain tight 45º miters at the corners.
I always try to use some new woodworking techniques with each successive intarsia project. I used a Razertip wood burning setup for some of the abstract facial details trying to keep true to the original pattern design. I carved/shaped many more pieces than I ever have before with my Wecheer tools getting more confidence in that process. I also used mixtures of bluepine sawdust and glue for some smaller inlay detail (on the whale’s eye). I used a double height sandwich of the same ebony piece on the whale body and the whale tail to give them extra height and expansion beyond the pattern size to yield a larger 3D extended effect. That top piece extended 1/8” to 3/8” beyond the bottom piece which was a snug fit to the adjacent pieces. I also used translucent adhesive backed laser sheets on cutting some of the pattern pieces. This helped me on the alignment of subsequent cuts on some of the more complicated groupings of small pieces. To give upward height on the many of the pieces standing proud against the sunny yellow sky and darker brown sky I started with an overall height of .6” for all of those pieces and sanding those backgrounds down to about .375” leaving the unsanded element pieces (animals, people, clouds and sun rays) standing higher. It’s much easier when double bevel cutting to have a flat surface to lay and secure down the top piece over while cutting. Also for the first time on an intarsia piece is a 5 ply laminated set of splines on each corner.
I applied four different finishes to the various individual pieces. Most used either a wipe on satin poly or a Deft satin laquer spray. The Holly seemed to keep a whiter color with the lacquer spray versus the wipe on poly. I liked the look and feel of the water based urethane on the gray pieces out of blue pine, and all of the little fishes and the whale had a gloss lacquer spray and I buffed them out real shiny with a buffing wheel attachment to a drill. I ordered a set of cleat hangers to put this up on a wall and I’m film laminating a pattern sheet with corresponding wood listings piece by piece to keep on the backside of the piece for future reference as this get passed on as a family heirloom. Now off to clean up the mess I made making this project!
-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!