Almost finished

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Blog entry by stefang posted 02-16-2013 08:52 PM 2120 reads 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is the latest rendition of my dragon marquetry and the original art I took the motif from. I know it can’t compare to the original. Nevertheless I hope I have done it justice. I don’t know the artists name as it was not listed on the page I took the picture from, but since I am not profiting from it I don’t feel too guilty.

There are still several tasks unfinished, these are:

1. The plate has to be flattened and sanded
2. The small gaps have to be filled with sawdust and glue
3. The workpiece will be glued between two panels and veneer applied to the outside of each panel.
4. After the glue cures, the workpiece will be resawed to create two book matched copies.
5. The surfaces will have to be smoothed (no clue as to how I will do this yet).
6. Frames have to be made for both copies. One will be a gift and I will keep the other until I get tired of it.

I plan to blog the resaw and the results of that, good or bad and that will be the last one in this series. I will post it as a project after it has been all finished up and nicely framed.

I’ve decided to give veneer marquetry a try. It seems a natural step to take, given all the color and grain choices offered by veneer. I’m doing this with some trepidation as I’m still not sure I will enjoy working with thin delicate veneers on my scrollsaw. Generally speaking it means new skills are needed in the following areas for me. These are:

1. Working with hot glue which will include hammer veneering.
2. Knowing how to condition the different kinds of veneers for use and storage.
3. Using a veneer press to flatten veneers and maybe for some gluing. Not sure yet.
4. Learning how to sand shade properly
5. Becoming familiar with the selection of veneers available
6. Relearning the color wheel (it’s easy to forget if you never use it).
7. Finding out which marquetry technique works best for me

Many books have been written about all the other things I need to learn in addition to the above, but these are things are my immediate concern.

1. I just received my first shipment of veneers in the post today.
2. A 10ton bottle jack was purchased to power the veneer press I plan to build next week.
3. A veneer saw and a roll of veneer tape is on order.
4. I have a big stash (2kg) of hide glue granules and the equipment to use it.

I am getting help on this front from Paul ‘Shipwright’, Mathew Nedeljko, and Elaine ‘Justoneofme’. Elaine just posted a wonderful marquetry tutorial blog and some very inspiring work she has done. Paul has been posting several marquetry blogs plus given me some very good advice. The same goes for Mathew whose veneer press I am copying. I trust these folks because I’ve seen their work and they all do some fantastic projects and they are the ones who have inspired me to give marquetry a go. SO A BIG THANK YOU TO YOU ALL!

Because I don’t have a Chevalet marquetry saw, I’m sure I will be using Elaine’s marquetry technique or at least some pretty darn near it. My main worry is that high quality marquetry is not just a skill or a craft. It is an artistic endeavor basically using wood to paint with. My thought is that if you work with something like this for awhile you might eventually develop some artistic insight and a higher degree of creativeness. That is my hope anyway!

I will be posting a blog to show all the stuff I’ve gotten to do this work with.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

20 comments so far

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3085 days

#1 posted 02-16-2013 09:11 PM

You are definitely showing some artistic talent, way more than I have, but that is not saying much. I have followed your work, and you have a real good start and are hopefully having fun with your painting with wood. Will be waiting for your next woodpainting to appear. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3303 days

#2 posted 02-16-2013 09:23 PM

way to go mike, this is a fantastic start into a new wood working genre , and you have done a wonderful job, i sure wish you would get this last part like a cat on a hot tin roof…lol…....and i truly believe that the harder you apply yourself to this, your artistic abilities will increase…your a great wood worker mike and i have full confidence that you will do well in the new adventure…

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

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#3 posted 02-16-2013 09:48 PM

Thank you Gus and Grizz.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3577 days

#4 posted 02-16-2013 10:25 PM

Wow Mike I’m so impressed ,as I always am with what you do. This is amazing and beautiful. It’s great of you to take the time to such a detailed blog too,thanks tons.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

5950 posts in 3352 days

#5 posted 02-17-2013 12:24 AM

Your dragon is truly a beautiful work of art. I’m looking forward to the finish, good or bad I’m sure a lot has be learned by your efforts. From what I have seen so far I can’t imagine this to turn out bad at all.
And thank you for the in-depth blog. All very interesting to say the least.

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View SteveW's profile


394 posts in 2858 days

#6 posted 02-17-2013 12:29 AM

Stunning, absolutely beautiful work. Thanks for posting and sharing this.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! SteveW

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3188 days

#7 posted 02-17-2013 02:24 AM

Stef, I need to read your past post and catch up. For some reason I don’t click on the Blog page enough. From what I see on this post your doing a great job. I’ll read your other posts in the morning, as Blodie says its time to go out to dinner.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3770 days

#8 posted 02-17-2013 04:03 AM

It was quite a trip but well worth it, great marquetry.

-- Tom D

View justoneofme's profile


639 posts in 2479 days

#9 posted 02-17-2013 06:15 AM

Hi Mike … Don’t loose any sleep worrying about your Marquetry skills!! Just like anything else worth learning … patience and practice eventually lead to success. You have more artistic talent than you’ve allowed yourself to believe! My advice: Relax and start playing!!! and thanks for keeping us in suspense regarding this beautiful dragon-soon-to-be-two!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#10 posted 02-17-2013 10:33 AM

Thanks for all these positive comments everyone. I appreciate them and find them motivating too. My grandson Vidar who is almost 14yrs. helps us out every Friday after school. He saw the dragon on my side table and remarked that it sure would make a nice Christmas present. I guess we know who he was thinking should get it!

Keep tuned for the DANGEROUS resaw event! My wife will be wearing a crash helmet and have resuscitation equipment standing by. My last words will be “I’M GOING IN!” I just hope I can get it done in time for lunch.

Elaine I have pretty much decided to continue with the window method similar or maybe the same as what you have shown here. One reason is that grain orientation will be very important for the motifs I want to produce. Another reason is that I want to use bigger blades since I do not enjoy working with those little thin ones which are required for Boulle work. I do believe a Chevalet is required to do good Boulle work.

I got some great colors with the two ‘Premium Veneer Packets’ I received and also an assortment of some beautiful burls in quite a few different colors, all natural. The quantity is pretty modest, but the quality looks great. My main concern apart from keeping the veneers workable is blade control. Even at the lowest speed, it presents a big challenge to me. I hope I can somehow overcome this handicap.

I got a bit of a laugh and also found it interesting that you had used the pedal powered Singer to do your first marquetry. My 92 yr. old MIL moved to the old folks home last Spring and she had one of those in her own home. I would have liked to have it, but we just didn’t have any place for it. I’m not sure where it wound up.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4174 posts in 3164 days

#11 posted 02-17-2013 04:04 PM

If your eyes and hands hold up, this is a good direction to go in woodwork for you I suspect. Your first endeavour was complex enought to teach you quite a bit, and also attractive enough for a gift. That all seems like the description of a successful venture.

Working this weekend, and my wife is out of town, so no shop time. Hope to get some time tomorrow.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2797 days

#12 posted 02-17-2013 04:09 PM

+1 on what Elaine said Mike, don’t sell your talent or creativity short.

Would you consider a thicker substrate glued on each side before you resaw?
Just thinking of giving more support and giving you something flatter to level after the cut, 1/4” MDF maybe…???

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#13 posted 02-17-2013 09:59 PM

Jim Thanks for that. I hope you get some shop time soon. I know it can’t be easy for you to run a business, practice medicine full time and give the wife the attention she deserves and have time for a hobby all at the same time. That will change when you eventually retire, but you it may take some time getting used to the change of pace. It sure did for me anyway.

Paul I will do my best to learn more about the creative side. I am definitely going with your advice on the substrates (both sides). I plan to glue them up and press them in the veneer press I will be building next week. I plan to glue up the backing veneers on each side at the same time. I’m not really too worried about the resaw, but I think your way will remove any qualms I might otherwise have had.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2804 days

#14 posted 02-18-2013 02:53 PM

Just beautiful, Mike

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

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#15 posted 02-18-2013 02:55 PM

Thank you Roger.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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