OK, The French Veneer (at last) #5: Drawer Front Marquetry Assembly

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 10-17-2014 01:10 AM 3366 reads 4 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Sand Shading and Organization Part 5 of OK, The French Veneer (at last) series Part 6: Drawers, Dowels, and Dovetails »

With all the cutting and sand shading done and all the pieces properly organized, it’s time to have some fun. If you’ve done everything right up to this point, the assembly really is fun as you get to see the marquetry image materialize before your eyes.

Before I get into that however, a couple of notes on things I’ve learned so far on this project.

The first is the eyesight / cutting accuracy issue that I had when started using this hard veneer. I did a little research online on the subject of magnifiers and realized that the reason my headband magnifier wasn’t working for me was that the focal length was wrong for the work I was doing. Further, that the strength of the magnifier could be altered with reading glasses worn in conjunction with it. It turns out that my headgear, although not marked, is probably a 3 diopter magnifier with a focal length in the 12” area. By adding 1.25 reading glasses I get a 4.25 with a focal length of about ten inches and better magnification. More importantly, once I could see, the cuts got better.

The second was that removing bridges, especially those that supported very small “islands” was difficult and in many cases counterproductive. The photos below show the first background I cut and the last. You can see that I used fewer bridges and smaller bridges in the second. These were much easier and quicker to remove.

As for the assembly itself, I used French kraft paper type mounting boards and hot hide glue, working from my two previously organized trays. It all went quite smoothly with only a few pieces needing a little filing to fit. I glued in all the parts except the flowers which I assembled dry. I’ll explain why they aren’t glued later.

Here’s a little video of some of the assembly.

Each mounting board carries three drawer fronts. They represent the three backgrounds with the three flowers, each set has two flowers so the sets are AB,AC,BC. I will now print the pictures below, cut the individual drawer fronts apart and arrange them in the actual order that they will be installed. Here’s the part about not gluing the flowers …....... when I get them arranged I will for the first time get a real look at how well the flower colors are distributed and I will be able to change any that I don’t like.

I did do a color distribution exercise upon which I based the colors I used but I still want to see the real thing before I glue things down. I’ve included a photo of the preliminary distribution exercise.

That’s it for now. Next up is to make final decisions on the flowers and get them glued in and then on to making some drawers for them to mount on.

Thanks for looking in.


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

33 comments so far

View sras's profile


4922 posts in 3303 days

#1 posted 10-17-2014 01:40 AM

Well – that looks first class! I’m enjoying the story.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3261 posts in 3887 days

#2 posted 10-17-2014 02:12 AM


Your marquetry is really looking good!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View kiefer's profile


5620 posts in 2841 days

#3 posted 10-17-2014 02:41 AM

I am watching with excitement anticipating a grand finale .
Paul I just love the colours and design ,what a treat .


-- Kiefer

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3850 days

#4 posted 10-17-2014 02:43 AM

Looking awesome! I can’t believe how fast you are going.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3548 days

#5 posted 10-17-2014 04:21 AM

Paul this is simply outstanding. I am pretty much speechless. Thank you for taking us along on this incredible journey.


-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View tomd's profile


2170 posts in 3944 days

#6 posted 10-17-2014 05:17 AM

You made it look easy, very nice work.

-- Tom D

View jmartel's profile


8195 posts in 2324 days

#7 posted 10-17-2014 05:35 AM

Looking great, Paul. You can definitely see a difference in those cuts compared to the earlier ones.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View stefang's profile


16063 posts in 3508 days

#8 posted 10-17-2014 07:46 AM

Fabulous work Paul. I knew that you would overcome those early problems. Besides wonderful cutting I think the sand shading came out really well too. I think that sand shading is much more of an art than just a skill as you have to decide where it will have the best effect. I liked the color distribution exercise too . It seems well worth the effort and I was glad to learn about the concept for future reference. I have been very impressed with all of your work from the start, but this project shows just how far you have come in such a short time!

As for the magnifying headset, I too had calculated 10” as the correct distance. I think I would have to use my prescription glasses though, otherwise I can’t focus. I was hoping for 2X magnification, but maybe that isn’t enough? I will probably have to consult with an optician.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1057 posts in 2487 days

#9 posted 10-17-2014 08:29 AM

It’s looking great. Wonderful colour arrangements. Can’t wait to see the finished article. Thanks for sharing.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Brit's profile


7522 posts in 3017 days

#10 posted 10-17-2014 09:12 AM

Thank you Paul. Really enjoying this.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3128 days

#11 posted 10-17-2014 11:07 AM

Looks like you’ve really been busy! And, it’s looking really great. This will be one to be proud of.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4056 days

#12 posted 10-17-2014 12:29 PM

My awe has been inspired.
This is just jaw dropping.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Longcase's profile


97 posts in 1621 days

#13 posted 10-17-2014 03:01 PM

Paul, Looking very nice indeed.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4154 days

#14 posted 10-17-2014 03:19 PM

Fantastic work Paul!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2798 days

#15 posted 10-17-2014 03:29 PM

Thanks for all of this Paul. I love watching the progression in skill and learning. One of the things I like most about this site is watching a jock gain skills. I like going back on a jocks project page to see the early work and latest contributions. Your marquetry started out pretty nice and now you are pre-master.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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