Eye of the Tiger (how to)

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 03-27-2013 07:19 PM 2876 reads 6 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Eye of the Tiger represents the second time I’ve tried the erosion or fusion technique of (not) marquetry. My first was this one which was a composite of traditional marquetry and some sanding away for “fade-out” effect.

I didn’t take enough care selecting veneers for the seagull and the shading is bad. I don’t like the marquetry much at all but that wasn’t what I was focusing on. I do like the sanded out effect in the clouds and in the breaking wave crests. Then there’s the beach…... oh well, as Meatloaf says “two out of three ain’t bad”.

On to the second attempt which was actually two attempts. In the first I cut the main black and movingui background together in one layer, like regular marquetry, except that the line between black and movingui was not cut at the edges of where those colors were to show. Instead it was cut in the center of areas that would be white. Then white pieces were added to cover these “seams” and overlap on both sides. Some bits of black that were to blend with the movingui were added at this time as well. Lastly the built up veneers were”eroded” away. In all cases the eye was a precision marquetry cut and dyed after cutting.

There are still parts of this one that I like better than the second but the main problem with it was that if you eroded too much, you exposed the hard line in the underlying layer. One of the real advantages of this whole style is that you can go on adding and eroding away almost forever so you’re almost never completely “screwed”.

In the next iteration I started with a whole layer of movingui on the bottom. Over this I glued the white parts and eroded them away. Then I added the black parts and eroded them. This seemed to work better. Again there was a fair amount of adding and eroding after the initial work.

It’s really a very simple process that anyone can try. It is very much more like drawing or painting than it is like woodworking. The technique and precision are less important than just the vision of what you’re trying to achieve.

A couple of other points about techniques. In the seagull piece , I used sandpaper to achieve a smooth blend. On the tiger, I used a small wire wheel in a drill to get the fur texture. There are no rules. You can do whatever floats your boat. The other technique that I used was to dye the movingui black and then sand it right back, leaving the dye only in the pores. This gives a quite good fur simulation as well. The eyes were dyed by hand with a watercolor brush much like the technique in this blog.

That’s it. This is a really simple technique that anyone can use to create veneer images without the need of chevalets, scrollsaws or really much of any cutting tools or technical skills.

Thanks for looking in. I hope this answers the questions, if not ask some more.


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

14 comments so far

View Sodabowski's profile


2373 posts in 2798 days

#1 posted 03-27-2013 07:26 PM

wow that last picture really tells how flowing the grain is and how you managed to simulate the fur. Congrats dude.

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4042 days

#2 posted 03-27-2013 07:28 PM

those detailed shots are awesome!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10046 posts in 4017 days

#3 posted 03-27-2013 07:52 PM

Yes! That fur is just AWESOME!

Beautiful technique…

”Here’s Looking at You Kid”

Thank you.

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

View rance's profile


4255 posts in 3125 days

#4 posted 03-27-2013 08:08 PM

Its tough trying to develop new techniques. Thanks for sharing when you know there is room for improvement. I reeeeeeeeaaaallly like how the post & rope turned out. Great wood & grain selection. Although I know that’s now what you are featuring here.

I’m also very impressed with the way the Mahogany turned out for the fur. The grain pockets almost look like little hairs.

Is anyone else using this erosion technique? Are you the first one to try it? As I was reading through this, I was thinking that by the end of the process, the surface could be quite lumpy. That could be desirable for some pieces, but not so much with others. To avoid the lumps or to get another technique you could possibly have one simple layer of veneer laid down. Then begin sanding where you want secondary colors until you get a divot(sortof). Then lay your second color veneer into this divot. You then level the second veneer off until you get your shaded edges. This could give you shading into different colors without the physical levels of veneer above and below the others. Just a thought.

You’re doing great with this Paul. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3299 days

#5 posted 03-27-2013 08:21 PM

I love the fur effect you achieved Paul. It shows up quite well in the last photo. Exploration is always good and can sometimes lead to amazing results, as with this tiger. I like the seagull too. The one you are showing above is still my favorite of the variations you blogged before.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile


7966 posts in 2763 days

#6 posted 03-27-2013 08:25 PM

Rance, Check out Patrice Lejeune.

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

View tinnman65's profile


1356 posts in 3379 days

#7 posted 03-27-2013 08:54 PM

Thank you for this post Paul, I can’t wait to give it a try. That trick with the wire brush is very cool, it really makes the difference in the final look. Was this all done with hide glue?

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

View shipwright's profile


7966 posts in 2763 days

#8 posted 03-27-2013 10:04 PM

Yes and no, hot hide glue for the initial larger parts but I resorted to fish glue for it’s faster set for the add-ons.

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

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20285 posts in 3070 days

#9 posted 03-27-2013 10:09 PM

Very cool, Paul…...........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3268 days

#10 posted 03-27-2013 10:34 PM

well i just know you will be the best you can be at this, you always are, so how many days until the bow hits water, and you and friendship have that first cup of java….....ill always remember that picture…...

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

View shipwright's profile


7966 posts in 2763 days

#11 posted 03-27-2013 10:36 PM

That won’t be until mid-May Bob but I’m looking forward to it.

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

View justoneofme's profile


639 posts in 2445 days

#12 posted 03-28-2013 03:10 PM

Hi Paul: I’m really glad you mentioned what tool you were using for the erosion technique, because that was my very first question … wondering if it was a wire brush. Fantastic effect!! I was going to make comment on your last Eye of the Tiger blog, but this one clearly shows the layering technique used. Thanks for the details!! I can’t wait to view the ‘real thing’!!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 3795 days

#13 posted 03-29-2013 02:00 AM

Paul, I had difficulty grasping this concept at first, but your explanation here really makes it click. That wire brush technique really worked out great for simulating the fur.

As to the lumpy nature of the surface, it is only up to 2 veneer thicknesses above the base veneer right? I’m thinking for most art pieces that wouldn’t be much of an issue, especially if you are going for a textured effect. Might not work great for a flat table top surface, but I think it definitely holds promise as another technique in your toolkit.

Thanks for sharing!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View Doe's profile


1402 posts in 2795 days

#14 posted 05-10-2013 08:05 AM

Wow! That is amazing! Thanks for sharing the details.

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

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