|Project by Sodabowski||posted 05-31-2013 02:19 PM||1366 views||1 time favorited||21 comments|
Yet another marqueted poplar box. This one took me quite some time to make, mainly because my thin blades were at the parents’ house. This was done in three steps. Alas I can’t seem to find the pictures of making the marquetry before adding in the diamond shape. Anyway.
I first applied the banding to the sides, then measured to add the BeM ground, and the box stayed like that for some time.
After some discussion with my sweet Hon, the idea of a diamond-shaped insert was validated (her idea). So I added the Vavona burl diamond:
and there it sat until late April, when I finally got to the parents’ and completely emptied the workshop. Having at great last access to my scrollsaw, I cutout the letters in Chlorociboria-stained beech – which, by the way, had interesting lines but was really munched-up, it’s amazing what CA glue can do to this wood, not only did it save and stabilize it but it also deepened the color!
Now, how do you inset letters into an already veneered top? With patience and a soft touch. First I laid out the template for the letters and roughly marked their positions with a sharpie, making sure to only draw far from the edges. This was to have visual clues as to where I needed to put the letters:
Then I glued the still thick letters to said template (which was printed reversed) with CA glue and proceeded to slowly take them down to thickness, with a sanding disk attached to my drill press. 120 grit was actually pretty fast but not too aggressive, and the thinning down process came out fast and smooth. Mind you, the letters were completely impregnated with thin CA glue and left to harden for several hours.
Sorry, I couldn’t shoot the sanding down process… I kept them kinda thick, all I needed here was to give them a nice, flat back (they started at 5.4 mm with quite a bow). So now that they were 2mm and flat, I laid the letters onto the box, adjusted the positions, and temporarily glued them with a tiny amount of CA glue:
Then it was a matter of contouring them with my thin scalpels, then remove the glued letters with a razor blade (fast and easy as there was very little glue), and dig into the top following the carved lines. Here my diamond tools for gemstone work really helped, particularly the curved one with flat sides that I use here:
Using that tool allowed me to have vertical sides and once the letters were inserted into the top there were no gaps at all. Tedious, because the top veneer was glued with contact cement (I really need to get me some hot hide glue) but it came out quite okay.
Once the letters were installed, I came back to the drill press and again carefully sanded down the letters flush, and eventually scraped it slightly with a scary-sharp chisel.
The main problem that I’ve had with this box has been related to the finishing: the Vavona burl didn’t evenly suck in the CA glue, so I had to flood it and hope that it would get deep enough – alas it didn’t. So I tried a coat of shellac, which obviously didn’t work, so I came back to CA, flooded the whole surface of the diamond, and hoped for the best, not having a vacuum system yet. Some sanding took care of the biggest imperfections but a few pits still remained here and there. Oh well. When I gave the box to Irina, she was both very surprised and pleased – she was still wondering why on earth I had asked her among three designs with her initials which one she prefered. Now she had the answer, and a brand new jewelry box with red velvet lining (which I didn’t shoot, dang).
Bottomline: best practice is to design the veneer before starting it, but when working with the very delicate Chlorociboria-stained spalted stuff, you have to do things differently. You can also expect a neat darkening effect of the CA glue when working with that stuff – partly because the solvent in the CA will migrate some of the xylindein in the wood.
Hope you guys will find this little experiment on marquetry with punky wood useful, or at least relevant to your interests ;)
Cheers from rainy France.
-- Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...