PROBLEM TO SOLVE
I’ve been trying to figure out how I was going to do the belly of the dragon. I wanted it to look pretty much like the pattern, but didn’t know how to do the outlining of each belly segment.
Shipwright suggested I could use a black mastic. That sounded pretty good, but then remembering that I plan to resaw the completed marquetry into two pieces, I realized that the mastic would probably get hot and make a mess while it was being bandsawed. So it seemed to me that the thin surrounding lines would just have to be wood.
I woke up early this morning and a solution came to me before I got up. I would cut out the belly pieces in a sub-assembly and then use that to trace an outline onto my main workpiece, saw it out and insert it.
THE HOW TO
I decided to use some nice walnut for the outline wood. I thought it would look better than the black with a little less contrast, but still dark enough to stand out clearly. I used what I think is Silk wood for the yellow parts. My sub-assembly solution worked well since the outline is very thin. Here’s what I did.
I am tired of cutting veneer pattern attachments. It wastes wood and takes more time, so I picked up some strong, thin poster type paper to see if that would work. If you remember, I attach it to the back of the workpiece before cutting out and then take it off to use it to trace the pattern of the infill pieces onto the infill wood. I decided to see if it would work, and it did as you can see below.
The next step was to prepare a small Walnut blank with the post paper attached.
Then I attached the pattern on the other side, clipped off an extra pattern copy.
I sawed out belly segments from the pattern leaving a piece of walnut as pictured with a lot of holes and thin separating pieces.
As often happens, the theory was great, but it didn’t work in real life. The paper pattern shredded on the thin part, suddenly I didn’t have a pattern to trace my infill pieces with!
So now I knew that very thin lines didn’t work with the poster paper. I could recut the whole thing again using a thin veneer, but the same thing was likely to happen with that too.
A FORCED SOLUTION
Being too lazy to recut the whole thing, I decided to use the workpiece itself as my pattern. This would present a challenge though as getting a pencil in to outline some of those small hole was impossible. I tried and failed with sharp things. I finally figured out a tool that would work. I used a very small diamond point engraving tool mounted in my Dremel that was small enough to get into all the tiny corners on the tiny cut-outs and my pencil for the others. You can see the Dremel in the last photo above.
The segments were then glued into the sub-assembly cut-outs as shown below.
FINISHING UP TODAY’S WORK
After gluing in the individual segments and letting it dry a little while, I marked and cut around the sub-assembly piece, leaving a thin outline of Walnut all the way around.
Next I placed the completed sub-assembly directly onto the corresponding spot on the workpiece and make a pencil outline around it. This was then cut out and the sub-assembly was glued into place as shown in the photos below.
IT SHOULD LOOK BETTER AFTER FINISH IS APPLIED
Keep in mind that when finished the Ash dragon body and the Walnut outlines on the belly will darken considerably, which should give a nice contrast.
You might notice that part of the flame pattern is missing where it crosses the belly. I will be replacing that and I will be cutting out that portion of the belly where the flame should be.
I didn’t get a lot done today due to once again exploring new territory, but I am satisfied with the result and I am relieved to know that the rest of it will come out ok. I did break one of the fine lines on the cut-outs for the upper belly section so I have to recut that whole string of segments again before finishing it.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.