Watercolor Dye Technique #5: Toscana, cutting and assembly

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 08-26-2013 12:48 AM 2095 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Toscana, My most intricate dye job to date Part 5 of Watercolor Dye Technique series Part 6: Toscana, Disassemble, Dye, Re-assemble »

As this blog is supposed to be about hand dyeing and not marquetry, I’ll try to cover the cutting and assembly as quickly as I can. The method here is like Boulle style except that there is ultimately only one layer. I say ultimately because for the initial few cuts there were overlapped pieces. Due to the size of the piece it was necessary to use five pieces of maple veneer to accommodate it and in the initial cuts these were overlapped to avoid unnecessary joints in the picture. The discard pieces can be seen in the photos in the previous blog entry but to save you looking back, here’s an example. The pieces above and below the cut are overlaps that have been pulled out.

The packets, after removing the overlaps, are composed of one layer of 1/16” maple and two layers of 1/8” plywood (top and bottom). The cutting will leave kerf gaps but they will close up when the water in the dye swells the pieces. On to the cutting. In this one the arch and everything outside it are cut. The remaining packets have been placed in their eventual position. A you can see the face side of the maple is reenforced with veneer tape. I used it because it must be removed before dyeing and it requires less wetting of the veneer to remove veneer tape than the usual newspaper and HHG.

The grapes were interesting. I had to number them to keep track.

In marquetry precise line following is usually top of mind and the main focus of any cut. Here I took the opportunity to cut many of the lines “wiggly” and just use them as general guides resulting in a less rigid looking landscape. It was like skipping class. I felt quite guilty.

Here everything is cut except the grapevines in the left foreground which have been redrawn to (I hope) make them better suggest green vegetation.

Sorry I don’t have a better picture but this is the whole piece, cut and assembled, seen from the back

After all this boring reading about all this boring cutting I guess you deserve a little peek at the next segment which will be where it gets interesting and a little more colorful.

That’s it for today. Next up, dyeing …... or dieing if it goes sideways. :-)

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

9 comments so far

View Roger's profile


20948 posts in 2948 days

#1 posted 08-26-2013 01:32 AM

As Elvis would say: “uh-huh-huh, a-huh-huh, oh-yea”

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 3974 days

#2 posted 08-26-2013 02:07 AM

Paul, this is shaping up to be another great project. This dyeing technique is very interesting. Amazing how the dye completely transforms the picture. Where did the 1/16 maple stock come from for this project? Did you re-saw it yourself? I am watching closely!

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

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5622 posts in 3857 days

#3 posted 08-26-2013 04:32 AM

An amazing amount of detail. Analine dyes are intriguing. Thanks for posting this, it is very interesting to learn about these new processes that you present!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View stefang's profile


15947 posts in 3478 days

#4 posted 08-26-2013 12:19 PM

Never boring Paul and always informative. The dye work came out really well. I’m sure this will be a great looking marquetry.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10900 posts in 3572 days

#5 posted 08-26-2013 01:01 PM

Paul, I’m guessing that each little piece is dipped, right? Will there be some pieces that will require a brush for shading to get depth and/or realism?
Such intricate work. I know how you love a challenge, but this is just over the top. As I said before “AMAZING”.

-- 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 shipwright's profile


8086 posts in 2942 days

#6 posted 08-26-2013 02:59 PM

Thanks all

Gene,every piece will be done with an artist’s brush, many of them in more than one color. I wouldn’t even try to count the pieces. The smallest are in between the grapes, teeny tiny triangles. Check the old segments of this blog for the brush technique.

thanks again

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Patricelejeune's profile


378 posts in 2064 days

#7 posted 08-26-2013 04:58 PM

This is a good, idea. It saves wood and you can still do watercolors!

-- Patrice lejeune

View tinnman65's profile


1362 posts in 3558 days

#8 posted 08-27-2013 12:09 AM

Great post Paul, But why didn’t you just draw the line “wiggly” and cut to the line, shame on you! And also your teacher Patrick could very well be reading this and see how you cheated!

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

View shipwright's profile


8086 posts in 2942 days

#9 posted 08-27-2013 12:56 AM

Good one Paul. The answer is that it would take a lot longer to make the line wiggly in inkscape than on the work.
I’m pretty sure Patrick wouldn’t consider this marquetry so cheating wouldn’t really count. :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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