I guess we all probably agree that what this table needs to sharpen it up is a little more marquetry, right? Ok, so lets get working on the aprons.
The first job is to make a “frisage”, a geometrically arranged background for the marquetry. For this table I’ve decided upon a “chevron” match of macassar ebony. The tricky part is that I will be cutting the holes for the central pieces of the motif in two back to back halves and then cutting the inlay pieces separately (classic style) from an identical pattern. To do this and maintain the match in the frisage takes a little planning.
In the first photo I have made the chevron match and taped it on the back side and then folded it in half. The photo shows the packet being made up with this fold set back from the its edge by exactly the amount that the paper pattern overruns center of the motif. I could line it up exactly with the edge but then I’d have my packet coming apart when I cut the center pieces out. The fold must end up exactly on the centerline. This is really critical.
Now, with the bottom layer of the folded background taped down to the backer I can carefully lower the top and tape it down as well.
Here is the packet all made up. It includes the backgrounds, one for the front apron and one for the back and four layers of green poplar for the main part of the pattern. I put a little stick in tight against the fold as a backup check for aligning the pattern. It is really important to mark all the sides and grain directions on these packets when you make them up. Once the “wasters” are on there is no way to tell which way is up.
The final step is to attach the pattern with spray adhesive. Again that alignment is really critical.
This photo will better explain why I set the fold back from the edge. I have cut the two halves of the central element and although the backgrounds are fully cut, the packet is not compromised by the end being open. (Is that at all clear?)
With all that now out of the way I can go ahead and cut the motif, removing the poplar pieces as I go. The scotch tape on the top of the packet is to prevent some of the fragile bits of background from catching on the chevalet jaws.
Here is the moment of truth. The packet has been taken apart and the backgrounds opened up. It looks like I’ve nailed it on the line up. In actual fact my hole is very slightly smaller than the pattern so when I cut the pieces to go in these centerline holes, I always stayed to the centerline side of the line. That worked fine.
Here is the assembled motif with the poplar parts from the packet and the center parts and yellow flowers cut separately. Half of this layout is showing the backing paper because half of the pieces in the packet were cut upside down. If I had been on my toes two of the green layers would have been placed in the packet with their paper side down instead of up.
There’s no need to go through all the steps again but suffice to say, there are end aprons as well as front and back. Again the two themes of music and floral have been carried to the aprons.
Well, that’s about it for the marquetry part. There is a little cabinetmaker stuff and some finishing left to go but yes, there does appear to be a light at the end of this tunnel ….. and it may not even be a train.
Next time assembly and scrollwork on the aprons and maybe a sneak peak at some sub assemblies.
Thanks for looking in.
As always ….you know.
-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/