Hokusai's The Great Wave Scrollsaw Cutting

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Project by KnotCurser posted 09-29-2011 11:25 PM 2653 views 4 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period and lived from 1760 to 1849. He was most famous for creating a set of wood blocks called the “36 Views of Mount Fuji” The work you see here is called “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” and is by far his most famous work.

I have always loved this painting for it’s movement and power – I hope I caught some of that in my scrollwork.

The pattern was by far the hardest part of this work. I had to figure out how to make it look like the painting, but keep it simple enough to work as a cutting.

This time I also wanted the wood to look older, so I used solid cherry and treated it with lacquer and wax BEFORE I applied the pattern and cut it out. Worked out pretty nicely as I didn’t have any finishing to do afterwards. :-)

Piece measures 7 1/2×9 inches and is 1/4 inch thick.

Backed with thick felt.



-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

6 comments so far

View Pete Jansen's profile

Pete Jansen

250 posts in 2943 days

#1 posted 09-30-2011 12:44 AM

Looks great, I love the style. That’s right up my alley too. Nice.

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 3851 days

#2 posted 09-30-2011 03:35 AM

Wow Bob, we must be having brainwaves. I have been looking at this painting for the past 2 days trying to figure out how to cut this as a marquetry design. You really nailed it with your pattern. Great job!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3904 days

#3 posted 09-30-2011 01:56 PM

The pre-finishing seemed to work out wonderfully.
Looks great. And a great tribute.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View scrollingmom's profile


1169 posts in 2486 days

#4 posted 10-01-2011 04:24 PM

I love it. Did you see any flaws of putting the finish on before you cut? How did you attach the pattern?
You did a great job.

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3090 days

#5 posted 10-01-2011 05:45 PM

Thanks for all the compliments!


The only thing I found about pre-finishing a piece is that you MUST wait until the finish is totally cured prior to taping over it to apply the pattern or the finish will turn “gummy”.

The process I tried with this is to put on two coats of lacquer and wait 24 hours. Then I put on two coats of paste wax and waited another day. Then I covered it in packing tape, sprayed on adhesive to the tape and the back of the pattern and affixed the pattern. Once cut, the tape pealed away just fine!

I MIGHT use this in the future, although it does require a tad more work, but only if I want a really shiny surface.

Soaking the finished project in lemon oil is WAY easier – and I’m lazy. ;-)


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2942 days

#6 posted 10-03-2011 01:24 AM

Just beautiful, Bob! Another masterpiece! I think you captured the painting splendidly!

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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