OK, The French Veneer (at last) #7: Messing With a Master

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 11-23-2014 11:35 PM 2161 reads 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Drawers, Dowels, and Dovetails Part 7 of OK, The French Veneer (at last) series Part 8: Tuning the Cantilevered Drawers »

My last entry here was almost a month ago and I was about to leave for Arizona for the winter. Well, I’ve been here (Az.) for almost a month now and I’m just getting around to the jewellery box. When I left off I had just dovetailed the drawers and dry assembled the whole box to assure myself that going on was in fact, a good plan. There’s a little more to the drawers but I’ll deal with that another time.

This entry is dedicated to Pierre Gole, one of the truly gifted “masters” of the Louis XIV era. I had originally wanted to do the top and ends with some Jean Henri Riesener tracings I had done and use a lozenge background as he often did. It might have looked something like this. The top here is a colored printout of my tracing and the drawer fronts are printouts of photos of my actual marquetry.

When I asked Patrice what he thought of the idea, he kindly pointed out that I was mixing Louis XIV with Louis XVI and that really wasn’t right. After some study I wholeheartedly agree. He sent me off paging through my copies of Pierre Ramond’s books and searching the internet for more epoch appropriate motifs. I haven’t settled on a top motif as yet although I have some ideas but I think I have the ends figured out, pending approval from my mentors of course.

Here’s what I found and what I’ve come up with for the side (end) motifs.

This is a photo from Google images of one of Pierre Gole’s iconic pieces. Beside it is my Inkscape tracing (by hand, not autotrace). I don’t know why they look so fuzzy here.

When I printed it out it was clear that it just wouldn’t work in a 9” square area so I started “messing” with it. Whether it is tribute or sacrilege, I’m not really sure but I do know I’m not alone in doing it.
I enlarged the central part and eliminated the swirls in the top corners first but that left the top looking vacant and the motif was the wrong shape for the space so I “borrowed” some elements, re-sized them, copied them, flipped them, and rotated them and came up with what I think are complimentary corner motifs.

To be sure that they were cut-able, I decided to do a practice run of the new corners before committing to the good veneer. As I was also looking at some other Gole motifs for possible inclusion on the top I made a little composition including the corners and a bird / acanthus / flower motif that I found in one of the “Masterpieces of Marquetry” volumes. This is a photo of part of a page.

From that fuzzy photo I did a tracing of the motif and added a couple of extra leaves to suit my space.
the composition looked like this.

I cut it in a 6” X 9” format to simulate the size the corners would be on the jewellery box using dyed black, padauk, curly maple, and poplar in painting in wood style.

My wife really quite likes it so it will become a little box to sit on our breakfast table to house our various “nesting material” that accumulates there. This, however is likely as far as it will go for now as it was primarily an experiment.

The good news is that the experiment was a success and I should have no trouble cutting the pieces for the jewellery box from the “good stuff”

That’s enough for now. I’ll be back when there’s more to talk about. It’s getting exciting.

Thanks for looking in


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

24 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3513 days

#1 posted 11-23-2014 11:55 PM

There are some pieces that are utterly incredible and you have made one of them Paul… You really are producing some awesome work.

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4087 days

#2 posted 11-24-2014 12:08 AM

I am speechless…..
Dang you do nice work.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View prometej065's profile


335 posts in 3888 days

#3 posted 11-24-2014 12:12 AM

It is exciting to follow the stages of your work Paul .. a beautiful journey through the history, and artwork were done the hands of a gifted man. In which simply see how this fine man delights in his work.


View MontanaBob's profile


840 posts in 2889 days

#4 posted 11-24-2014 12:49 AM

That is one outstanding piece of art…Thanks for sharing the process with us….

View kiefer's profile


5622 posts in 2872 days

#5 posted 11-24-2014 12:52 AM

You are good sorry very good and you think you are excited I am more so to see this MASTER PIECE coming near completion and that small sample piece with the bird is just marvelous .
Keep us updated as you go Please this is something !!!!

your friend Klaus

-- Kiefer

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3508 days

#6 posted 11-24-2014 01:11 AM

this is way beyond making a regular jewelry box, this is so beautiful paul, by the looks of things here, you have not spent much time golfing, i really look forward to your next post ,im just gob smacked here.

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

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21748 posts in 3310 days

#7 posted 11-24-2014 01:24 AM

Outta sight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

View sras's profile


4944 posts in 3334 days

#8 posted 11-24-2014 01:26 AM

It is such a pleasure to watch this project. Thanks for taking us along!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10328 posts in 4257 days

#9 posted 11-24-2014 01:46 AM

That is just AWESOME…

I think I’d go blind trying to cut all of those ultra small pieces… and working with them… It’s amazing how you can do it…

The sand burning shading sure makes a huge difference… the shading of The Artist really works nice!

COOL work…

Enjoy Sunny Arizona… Happy Thanksgiving!

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

View boxcarmarty's profile


16748 posts in 2565 days

#10 posted 11-24-2014 02:21 AM

What, Did Paul raise the woodworking standards again??? I give up…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2744 days

#11 posted 11-24-2014 02:28 AM

Paul, this is amazing. Keep up the great work

-- I never finish anyth

View tomd's profile


2176 posts in 3975 days

#12 posted 11-24-2014 03:31 AM

Even as an experiment that is terrific work. I agree with grizz this is beyond a jewelry box.

-- Tom D

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3578 days

#13 posted 11-24-2014 03:34 AM

(without speech)


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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18394 posts in 3881 days

#14 posted 11-24-2014 04:21 AM

Awesome!! Knocked my socks off! I pulled them back on as it is a bit chilly tonight. When I looked back at the screen, it knocked them off again!! This is just an experiment to see if the “good” one will work!! I nominate Shipwright for master of LJ.

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

View larryw's profile


335 posts in 2867 days

#15 posted 11-24-2014 04:40 AM

Wow! . This was the first word that blurted out of my mouth , with out thinking. What a work of art. I’ve always admired and been in awe of the ” truly gifted masters” such as Pierre Gole , Andre’ Charles Boulle , and Jean Henri Reisner for their beautiful and complex marquetry pieces, I also stand in awe of what the furniture and cabinet makes were producing in this period. Paul I think that these “masters” would be pleased with the work that you’re doing.

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~

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