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Blog entry by stefang posted 462 days ago 1326 reads 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I took a few photos to show you what I was up to with my latest experiment. Unfortunately it didn’t work out so well, but adventures wouldn’t be adventures if everything went without a hitch, so I though you might enjoy the failures just as much as the successes.

MY FIRST TRY
My first job was to select and prepare some blanks for my project, a dragon marquetry. I’ve gotten 5 different woods ready including Linde, Ash, African Black, Cocobolo and the yellow one. I forgot to include the black wood in the photo. If anyone has an idea about what the yellow one is, please let me know. They didn’t know at the store where I bought it a couple of years ago either.

Here is the Linde background blank which is about 1” thick and with the cutting pattern mounted. The thin piece on the bottom will become a transfer pattern.

this is the insert pattern blank being prepared for attachment to the bottom of the workpiece with carpet tape.

The body of the dragon has been cut out.

After cutting out the body parts, the thin pattern piece attached to the bottom of the workpiece is removed. It can now be used as a tracing pattern (kind of like a stencil) to trace an exact copy of the cut out parts onto the wood to be inserted.

The Ash pictured here under the pattern will be traced in this case. The advantage is that the pattern on the insert piece will be an exact copy of the actual cut-out and the thinness of the tracing pattern will make it possible to easily trace the pattern with a pencil.

WHAT WENT WRONG?
After cutting out the first Ash insert piece, I found that it didn’t fit. I found that the cut-outs at the top of the main workpiece were narrower at the top than at the bottom.That meant that the pattern piece on the bottom of the main workpiece was also wider and therefor useless.

I checked my blade alignment (again) and found it to be at a perfect 90deg. I could only surmise that the blade had ‘dragged’ owing to the 1” thickness of the workpiece creating an angle from top to bottom.

Using a heavier blade, a #7 for example might have been better, but not suitable for the details in the pattern. It seems I will have to try a thinner workpiece, say around 1/2” thick.

WHY DID I USE SUCH THICK MATERIAL?
The idea was to make a very thick marquetry and then slice it into four finished pieces a little over 1/8” thick each afterward. Great in theory, but not in practice. Now I expect that instead of four for the price of one, I will only get two or maybe three if I dare go that thin.

WHATS NEXT THEN?
I have already tried to slice the workpiece in my bandsaw to the 1/2” thickness with the hope that the cut-out angle would diminish enough that it was still useable, but that didn’t work out. The angle was still enough to make a perfect fitting insert impossible. I have no choice, but to make a new main workpiece the right thickness and recut all the insert pieces a corresponding thickness as well.

I am a little disappointed that I couldn’t multiply my efforts fourfold, but I am confident the I will win the next round and at least get two pieces for the work of one. It is worth the modest waste of a piece of my Linde wood for a valuable learning experience.

WHY SUCH THICK WOOD FOR MARQUETRY?
Cutting marquetry veneers with a scroll saw is very difficult to control even at the slowest speeds, although there are successful scroll saw techniques used by some of the best marquetry artists around, but I don’t have those skills and I don’t want a Chevalet because I haven’t room for it, plus I paid so much for my good quality scroll saw that i feel I must get some use out of it. I also don’t feel ready to fiddle with veneer yet as it requires special handling and is pretty expensive as well. I may try it out later to expand the color palette if I find a like marquetry work a lot.

Thin veneer cuts could be easier controlled however by taping them to a thicker waste piece for cutting. I haven’t tried that yet.

I finding cutting thinner pieces from around 1/4” is easy to control. I can still slice this thinner work on the bandsaw as mentioned above to get at least one additional copy with 1/4” thickness and perhaps three from 1/2”thicknesses. This form of marquetry should work well on my smaller projects like boxes, or framed pictures.

So now it’s back into the shop for a 2nd try!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.



21 comments so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6642 posts in 2482 days


#1 posted 462 days ago

Hi stefang,

Instead of trying to cut thin veneers one sheet at a time, make a “packet of veneers”. You will be able to use your scroll saw with no problem.

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View stefang's profile

stefang

11824 posts in 1837 days


#2 posted 462 days ago

Thanks Lee, I did know that, but I forgot to mention that another reason for not wanting to use veneers is that I don’t have much experience with ordering and using them. I know that working with veneer requires some special handling, etc. and I don’t feel quite ready to take that step yet.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

1373 posts in 2417 days


#3 posted 462 days ago

Could the yellow wood be osage orange? or is that not found there in Norway? ( of course I don’t think cocobolo grows on the tundra either)

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View stefang's profile

stefang

11824 posts in 1837 days


#4 posted 462 days ago

I suppose it could be Osage Orange Steve. This is all imported wood. I will look it up on the net under that name to see. Thanks for the tip.

I checked it out. The color certainly looks right, but the grain is not nearly as tight as my piece. I forgot to mention that it takes a very high polish right off the scroll saw.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View patron's profile

patron

12850 posts in 1844 days


#5 posted 462 days ago

yellowheart or satinwood
from brazil

i have never gotten better than 1/8” final
from 1” wood
did get 4 out of 1 1/4” once

the re-sawing and sanding took as much wood
as was left

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile

stefang

11824 posts in 1837 days


#6 posted 462 days ago

Thanks David. The grain on this still looks more open than mine, but no two trees are alike. The Satin wood name rang a bell for some reason. It turns to a brownish orange color with exposure to the air, but I don’t know how long that takes. I’ll google these to see how well they match up with mine.

Yep, it looks like Satin wood all right, the kind from Ceylon, at this link. You know your woods my friend! http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=satin+wood&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View patron's profile

patron

12850 posts in 1844 days


#7 posted 462 days ago

it seems to grow in various parts of the world

i have used it in inlays
for it’s color

the ones i had in the past
were more close grain
no swirls or patterns
like the one you show

the one i showed is from cookwoods
they list it as from brazil
(probably where they got it
all from the same tree) ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile

stefang

11824 posts in 1837 days


#8 posted 462 days ago

I’m just hoping it won’t darken too much. I sawed a small piece just to see how it would cut.It polished like a piece of glass right off the saw. So did the Cocobolo. I am planning to use the Cocobolo for the flames. I thought it would be a solid red color, but to my surprise it had the red and orange grain. Even better for flames!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View patron's profile

patron

12850 posts in 1844 days


#9 posted 462 days ago

here is osage orange
it is denser
and does darken with age

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile

stefang

11824 posts in 1837 days


#10 posted 462 days ago

Nope, not the same grain type. It’s got to be the Ceylon Satinwood which has that special grain. The brown look could have been cause by the wax that covered the whole piece, so I’m not sure it will age to a different color.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

6472 posts in 1806 days


#11 posted 462 days ago

well mike i guess it all comes to that this is a whole new discipline to learn and there will be many exciting new discoveries along the way, i have also learned that when cutting thin veneer’s that if you apply a thinner paper to the back that it stabilizes the veneer..you will have to ask someone who does this, have you tried to ask Paul a few questions on how to achieve what your trying…well i wish you the best of luck…and im looking forward to seeing your journey here develop…

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

View shipwright's profile (online now)

shipwright

4666 posts in 1301 days


#12 posted 462 days ago

Watching with interest Mike I understand your concerns about veneer but this would all be very much easier with it. There are methods of work for marquetry that dramatically improve your chances of success.
Things like:
> Re-enforcing the backs of the veneer pieces before cutting. This can be done with veneer tape or hot glue / newspaper.
> Assembling a tight rigid packet that resembles a board (and will scroll saw like one).

Veneer doesn’t have to be expensive. You may be able to find something like this (the veneer, not the hammer) closer than the nearest Lee Valley.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14412 posts in 2179 days


#13 posted 462 days ago

Keep going Mike. I’m sure you will figure out a way ;-)

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

View stefang's profile

stefang

11824 posts in 1837 days


#14 posted 462 days ago

Thanks for Grizz and Paul for the good advice, but I’m going to stick with the thicker stuff for awhile. I’m pretty sure I will get a good result on my next try. If I want, I can slice my own thin veneers down to 1/32” for example, and I may try that later after I finish with this trial. In practice I would probably cut to 1/16” or perhaps 1/8”. The downside is that I lose over 1/16” from the saw kerf for each cut. Eventually I will probably order a veneer pack and try that too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile (online now)

shipwright

4666 posts in 1301 days


#15 posted 462 days ago

Ideal thickness is about 1/16” Mike. That’s what I’d be using if I could afford it. The only reason we use the 1/32” and 1/42” stuff is that’s all they’re cutting these days in most species especially exotics. There’s one place in France still cutting thick sawn veneer from exotics but the price is about 10X.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

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