Hokusai's Great Wave in Marquetry

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Project by mauibob posted 08-01-2010 03:30 AM 3180 views 12 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hokusai’s “Great Wave” is probably one of the most famous woodblock prints of the early 19th century. Thought I would give it a try in marquetry. I used the double bevel technique and thicker (3/32”) veneers—primarily white sycamore, ipe, some elm and maple. The thicker, hand bandsawn, veneers made the project much easier to accomplish since the bevel angle was only 4 degrees or so, making it easier to get tighter tolerances on the close wave “finger” spacings. I used a sliver of deep blue colored, stabilized buckeye burl pen blank material for the wave crest. To create the details in the wave, I used a woodburning tool with a needle point—much easier than trying to inlay fine lines everywhere.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

8 comments so far

View huff's profile


2826 posts in 2325 days

#1 posted 08-01-2010 03:37 AM

I’ve never really done any marquetry, but that looks and sounds like a ton of work and your results are great. I really like it.

-- John @

View jjempson's profile


198 posts in 2028 days

#2 posted 08-01-2010 08:06 AM

i would lvr to be able to do this …one day…hats of to you..great skill shown. well done

-- jjempson

View mafe's profile


10515 posts in 2129 days

#3 posted 08-01-2010 11:06 AM

Really amazing – I’m a big fan of Hokusai‚Äôs work.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View wallkicker's profile


107 posts in 2194 days

#4 posted 08-01-2010 03:12 PM

Nice job .

View Chriskmb5150's profile


253 posts in 2116 days

#5 posted 08-01-2010 05:25 PM

Wow! I could never do something like that. very impressive work. Reminds me of a giant mural i used to drive by iin Waikiki, Hawaii when i used to lived there.

-- Woodworkers theory of relativity - the quality of your scrap is relative to your skill level

View mauibob's profile


187 posts in 2107 days

#6 posted 08-01-2010 06:24 PM

Thanks for the nice comments! It’s actually much easier than it may look :-) Just requires the trick of spinning the scrollsaw blade on the back of the blade when making sharp turns to prevent the blade from continuing to cut—and keeping track of which side you’re scrolling on. I slant the table to the left and keep the project moving clockwise into the blade. The rest literally falls together! Very therapeutic—less a few chosen cuss words here and there.

Chriskmb5150, wonder if you’re thinking about the gigantic Wyland murals that were sprinkled around Waikiki on the sides of various buildings?

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View Woodenwizard's profile


1187 posts in 2083 days

#7 posted 08-02-2010 05:07 AM

Nice job! I have just started marquetry. I haven’t done any for a while but your pieces have enspired me to start a new project. Thanks for sharing.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Blake's profile


3441 posts in 2914 days

#8 posted 08-04-2010 07:58 PM

Thats gorgeous!

-- Happy woodworking!

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