Facets, the Next Logical Step #5: Alignment and Trimming the Marquetry

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 01-02-2011 02:51 AM 2187 reads 2 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Dying, Part 1: I don't believe what just happened! Part 5 of Facets, the Next Logical Step series Part 6: Dying the Veneer...... (Again??) »

The dying has been postponed.. As of the events discussed in my last entry, the gluing bacame the priority and the dying will have to be done afterwards, maybe even after assembly. The colors seen here are not necessarily representative of the final look as the green has been “washed out” somewhat and in the case of the center, it has been sanded. This can all be fixed later (I hope).

The most critical job left to be done is the alignment and trimming of the veneers, specifically the top ones with the marquetry carried from one face over to another. This will be tricky but I have a plan. The first thing that must be done is to glue up the veneer set on the center piece. It must be absolutely centered on the substrate piece and aligned with the sides. Here it has been assembled in glue, taped to prevent movement, and is ready to press.

It was necessary to glue up the center first because it couldn’t be locked in perfect position with the other segments attached. Now, however with the center solid, the others can be assembled around it and taped in perfect alignment with packing tape. The “rosewood” color I’m looking for here is more like what you see on the center piece above than in the side pieces. they were just starting to be colored when the priorities changed.

With the veneer segments aligned and taped, the whole assembly is turned over and with the structural sides carefully positioned, it can be glued up. This is a critical point. I pulled this whole platen full of pieces out of the bag once to realign one piece and crawled in there with it once to align another one.

To make a long story short, It worked. Nothing moved and I was ready to go on to the next scary step, trimming the delicate veneer edges. In a previous blog entry there was some discussion about the best way to do this and I had said that I wanted to use my old ShopSmith 10ER. My feeling was that a sanding approach presented less risk of damaging the fragile veneer edge than any kind of blade or bit. The old 1950 10ER is perfectly suited to perform that sanding operation. Here’s the setup I used.

With the table set at 31 3/4 degrees, I set a quick and dirty jig against the fence to hold the pentagons. Then the sanding disc could be advanced into the veneer edge under control by advancing the quill of the SS.

The jig was made wtih a square edge to fit on the pieces in mid bevel so that protruding veneers wouldn’t interfere with the alignment.

Here’s the setup all ready to advance the disc into the piece. My hand is on the quill advance lever. When actually performing the operation, my other hand would be firmly on the piece.

And here it is at the finished position. The ShopSmith has a positive stop that can be set to limit the quill travel so as the piece is rotated and sanded, all the edges come out exactly the same. The stop mechanism is the two knurled nuts that can be seen in both of these photos on the opposite side of the headstock from the lever.This is a bottom piece, without marquetry.

This is how the bottom fits came out. The tape is not perfect, the fits are better than they look here.

This is how the top alignment came out. There are some minor misalignments but overall I’m very pleased to get this far without bigger problems than these.

Last photo for today. This is the tape-up of the piece as of this point. I’m very happy with it (except for colors) and very relieved to have made it this far. I have to say there is a certain pressure to these real time blogs. It’s easier if it’s all done and dusted before you make it public.

That’s all for now folks. Thanks for checking in and please feel free to forward any kind of feedback you like.

Maybe we’ll get back to the dying next time. Who knows?


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

17 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3905 days

#1 posted 01-02-2011 03:25 AM

That is so cool. I want a ShopSmith.

When you (re)dye the leaves, won’t they react a bit to water again? It will be interesting to watch for sure. This is so new to me.

Fantastic as usual, Paul.
Thanks for letting us watch.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 2967 days

#2 posted 01-02-2011 03:28 AM

Paul, for me approaching the veneers with the disk sander sounds as a spooky kind of sanding, was it?
Terrific blog. Thank you and Happy Holidays
Take care

-- Back home. Fernando

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2821 days

#3 posted 01-02-2011 03:41 AM

I love my 10ER.
Fernando, No, it is so precice and so controlled that it wasn’t scary at all. That said this veneer is shop made and probably over 1/16” thick.

Steve, I’m thinking yes they will react. They should make the piece want to warp. The question is : Do I dye the outside and let it warp, dry it and repeat with the inside or do I do both sides at once? Think about that and get back to me.

BTW I paid $50 for the ShopSmith and it came with a working copy lathe.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3905 days

#4 posted 01-02-2011 03:47 AM

Yes, that is the question; How to do it?
I can not help you as my brain really hurts right now.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#5 posted 01-02-2011 04:07 AM

So interesting Paul and a great success. Your step by step blog has really documented your process so well a job I’m sure would have puzzled me. Three thumbs up. Can I borrow one anybody ? :))

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 2854 days

#6 posted 01-02-2011 05:21 AM

I always say the best plan is a flexible plan. You are overcoming your hurdles quite well. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
I love the way your Shopsmith worked for flushing up the veneers. Pretty cool.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3041 days

#7 posted 01-02-2011 06:23 AM

You seem to have everything under control and seem to be able to foresee upcoming problems so I have great faith in your ability to overcome any problems you may encounter! This is a fantastically difficult build and your talent/skill shows! I can only give words of praise.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View terrilynne's profile


836 posts in 2916 days

#8 posted 01-02-2011 07:07 AM

I got my fingers crossed for ya! It’s looking great!

-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View AttainableApex's profile


347 posts in 2856 days

#9 posted 01-02-2011 09:15 AM

i like how much precision this piece has.
wish i could get my tools that accurate.

-- Ben L

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3059 days

#10 posted 01-02-2011 04:54 PM

Looking very good so far, Paul. I wish you all the best with dyeing post assembly, not for the faint hearted.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10524 posts in 3452 days

#11 posted 01-02-2011 05:21 PM

Another tour de force in the making!
I get queasy knees just thinking about the re dye.
Great explanation on the precise adjustments possible with the SS.
Not a bad sander for $50, eh?
I hear you can saw AND drill with that thing, too. :-)

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3059 days

#12 posted 01-02-2011 06:24 PM

Gene, about the only thing the Shopsmith doesn’t do is make tea/coffee! It’s designer is/was a genius.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2821 days

#13 posted 01-02-2011 07:07 PM

Gene, the only other tool in the shop that I would have felt safe with for the job would be this one (disc side) but I would have to move the piece into the disc and to do it as precisely would have taken a much more elaborate jig. For some things SS just rules.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3357 days

#14 posted 01-02-2011 11:25 PM

Good blog and nicely done Paul. I made a couple of octagon boxes a while back and although I did my best, I still didn’t get the lengths on the outside edges on the top insert exactly the same, even though I ‘precision’ sanded them. It was interesting to see how you solved this problem. I don’t have a Shopsmith, but your method did give me some ideas about how to improve the sanding work. I liked your project a lot including the great looking stand.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

316 posts in 3569 days

#15 posted 01-03-2011 01:23 AM

beautiful 10ER you have. I have one and love it. yours in in remarkable shape.

-- Got Wood?

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