First Intarsia

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Project by Milton Toal posted 512 days ago 945 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
First Intarsia
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Thanks to Judy Gale Roberts et al for the inspiration. We lost a grandson at 6 weeks. Every year since, my Wife Elaine and I have bought a bear ornament for the Christmas tree. This year Jarrod would have been 18 so I decided to make it special. Panic set in when three days from Christmas the Tasmanian Cheesewood (the white wood) that I bought at auction at the end of October had still not arrived. The whole thing is just about 8 cm tall. The red of the hat, jacket and trousers is Western Red Cedar as I had no Padauk at the time. The face, ear and buckle are Cypress Pine, the gloves, belt and nose button are American Walnut, the eyes are ebony dowels turned in the drill press from ex piano keys, the shoe uppers are Australian Red Gum, the nose and chin and soles are Sandalwood and the bag is Messmate.

Very challenging, very rewardable and my daughter paraded it around the room to the entire family before hanging it on the tree.

Christmas is for giving, it really is and the old adage that it is better to give than to receive really came home to me.

-- Milton Toal, Doncaster, Melbourne Australia.

15 comments so far

View atchison32's profile


140 posts in 1496 days

#1 posted 512 days ago

Well done!

View Woodbridge's profile


2546 posts in 1001 days

#2 posted 512 days ago

beautiful work!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

12888 posts in 922 days

#3 posted 512 days ago

Beautiful work

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

319 posts in 1714 days

#4 posted 512 days ago

Absolutely beautiful. Nice job.

-- Dale, Ohio

View Ken90712's profile


14818 posts in 1772 days

#5 posted 512 days ago

Amazing work, and such a nice tribute to your loved one. Sorry to hear, as it is never easy. It’s a nice tribute to keep the memory going. I love Intarsia style of woodworking.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View luv2learn's profile


1613 posts in 886 days

#6 posted 512 days ago

Milton, beautiful work, especially for your first piece. I am sure that your grandson would have smiled at this tribute to him. Cottonwood is an excellent choice for your white wood in case you get in a bind. I am a novice at Intarsia also, but I really like the craft. I hope you do too and I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View DocSavage45's profile


4679 posts in 1426 days

#7 posted 512 days ago


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2161 days

#8 posted 512 days ago

Nice work and a very kind and wonderful thing to do.

-- Custom furniture

View majuvla's profile


3153 posts in 1451 days

#9 posted 512 days ago

Too good for first time!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View SteveW's profile


352 posts in 1442 days

#10 posted 512 days ago

That is beautiful work, thank you for sharing,
and my apologies for your loss.

Mind if I ask a question on your techniques?
How do you sand each piece?
I am new to Intarsia, but they look somewhat difficult to hold, no?

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! SteveW

View Time2beupinAZ's profile


451 posts in 1545 days

#11 posted 512 days ago

That is a very nice piece of work you have done there. Great fist intarsia.

-- Tim - I usally measure twice after I cut......then I know for sure that I cut it short.....

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5235 posts in 2169 days

#12 posted 512 days ago

So sorry for your loss and I too love intarsia and have the book in question I must try this when I get the time LOL Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Milton Toal's profile

Milton Toal

99 posts in 654 days

#13 posted 511 days ago

Thanks everyone. Was quite a challenge.

Steve, You are right. Very difficult to hold because the piece is so tiny.. Sanded with tiny tubes and diamond burrs on a flexible shaft, finished by hand with fine wet-and-dry.

Thanks for the tip on Cottonwood, Luv2Learn but I don’t know of a supplier in Australia. However, I saw a neighbour pruning his Cumquat and the wood is nearly pure white. I grabbed a branch, painted the ends with plastic paint and will leave it dry out in the workshop then mill it. If it still comes out white I shall approach some citrus farmers for their larger prunings, since the Tasmanian Cheesewood is very rarely available as it is an understory shrub which is only cut as a by-product of normal logging.

-- Milton Toal, Doncaster, Melbourne Australia.

View woodshaver's profile


2717 posts in 1936 days

#14 posted 511 days ago

Excellent work and made for a very good reason! First time, It looks so perfect!

-- Tony C , My high school shop teacher said "You can do it"... Now I can't stop!

View intarsia92's profile


88 posts in 700 days

#15 posted 511 days ago

Very nice!!! Shaping and choice of woods are great.

-- Intarsia92

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