Marie's Table... A Marquetry Adventure #7: Pretty Apron to go with the Nice Legs

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 07-27-2012 12:33 AM 2840 reads 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Oooooh, Nice Legs! Part 7 of Marie's Table... A Marquetry Adventure series Part 8: Finishing up the Aprons. »

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.

22 comments so far

View tinnman65's profile


1357 posts in 3436 days

#1 posted 07-27-2012 12:46 AM

Another very interesting post Paul, looks like its really getting close. Your doing a fantastic job!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View brevort's profile


70 posts in 2348 days

#2 posted 07-27-2012 12:55 AM

I have been enjoying this project….. I have not been posting comments till now. You are not only a talented wood worker, but also have an eye for art. Keep up the good work.

-- Rick

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4422 days

#3 posted 07-27-2012 12:55 AM


Great tips and lots to learn.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3742 days

#4 posted 07-27-2012 01:00 AM

To watch your work just astounds me! Thanks so much for all the time and afford you have put into sharing this with us.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10117 posts in 4074 days

#5 posted 07-27-2012 01:24 AM

You’re still doing it…

Great stuff!

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2944 days

#6 posted 07-27-2012 01:28 AM

Lovely work to see how you get along with your chevalet. A knife will do it but the result will not be the same as what you have done. Looks to me that you are only cutting cloth. You make it so easy. Looking forward to the finish one so that Marie will not be anxious anymore… LOL. Keep it going.
Good Luck,

-- Bert

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2561 days

#7 posted 07-27-2012 01:49 AM

Paul, I’m in an airport right now itching to see it all come together. I will be waiting with bated breath…

-- I never finish anyth

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3483 days

#8 posted 07-27-2012 01:52 AM

Paul. you are extremely good at what you do. Your posts are very poignant and thought provoking. What an amazing gift you have. I look forward to learning more from you. What an inspiration. Thank you for posting this project.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3325 days

#9 posted 07-27-2012 03:12 AM

and gee Paul, i thought you were really going to show us something today…you must have had the golf game on your mind…LOL….well i don’t think i could even come close to the accuracy you have always done on your cutting, and you did for sure nail it…a big applause Paul…thanks for sharing this journey…i usually cant wait to see the finished piece, but this time, im loving each installment, well as my goody for today, i just came home with 3/4 load of wild cherry from the sawyer….....and my oh my…..there is some crotch in there that would make the best wood worker giggle… of this score will be soon…goodnight…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3241 posts in 3734 days

#10 posted 07-27-2012 03:53 AM


Each episode gets more intense. Will there be a sequel? You’ve put so much into this incredible table that we fear withdrawals. We are also learning a great deal—especially learning how incompetent we are in comparison!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3100 days

#11 posted 07-27-2012 03:59 AM

Paul, without a doubt, you have the patience of a saint, the steady hands of a surgeon and the talent Angelo ! ! ! ! !

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3792 days

#12 posted 07-27-2012 04:13 AM

Great work, I’m very interested in watching the progress of you project.

-- Tom D

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2636 days

#13 posted 07-27-2012 05:06 AM

im just in awe at the skill you have, its going to be stunning

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2229 days

#14 posted 07-27-2012 10:38 AM


I love the final photo! You did outstanding work again!

Question? Are you using the boulle cutting technique?


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3356 days

#15 posted 07-27-2012 10:40 AM

Incredible cutting on the pattern Paul. Looks just perfect to me. Looking forward to seeing the whole thing put together.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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