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Blog entry by stefang posted 03-08-2013 06:20 PM 1530 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The problem
One thing that has been bothering me about starting up with marquetry using thin veneers which are about 1/32” thick, is being able to control my scroll sawing with a single thickness of veneer. This is not a problem if I stack the veneers to make a thick workpiece, but I think it could be an advantage to be able to work with a single veneer, so I have been experimenting to find out how. Lucky me! Elaine’s great new blog gave me the answer. I may suggest Elaine change her LJ name to ‘Justintime’.

  1. I used a 2/0 blade. This somewhat finicky blade is about as small as I ever want to use.
  2. Masking tape was used to cover the back of the veneer, overlapping the tape strips slightly as Elaine did.
  3. The top of the veneer was covered with clear plastic self sticking shelf lining to have something easily removable to glue the pattern to (someone else’s idea). It also further protects the veneer, a belts and suspenders approach.
  4. The pattern was taped on top of the shelf lining.
  5. The veneer package was then taped around the edges to a cardboard backing. The cardboard was from some cheap ring binders I bought (23 of them) for just this purpose. It is about 3/32” thick and pretty stiff.
  6. A hole was drilled through the pattern to insert the blade for cutting.

To my surprise, blade control was no problem, in spite of the pattern having a lot of points just for the test. As the cut progressed I put small pieces of tape on top of the already cut area just to keep the veneer from raising on the saws upstroke. Another of Elaine’s little jewels. It worked perfectly! The cuts were imperfect in some places due to my own inexperience, but now I know it can be done!

Here are some photos showing the cutout, after reinsertion of the cutout and a comparison of the cardboard thickness compared to the veneer.

Not perfect, but good enough for the test. I will get better.

The veneer thickness compared with the cardboard thickness.

I know that all of this may seem inconsequential to many of you. You might well ask, ok, so what’s the big deal!
My only answer is that craftsmanship is founded on the basis of many small, but important skills. Each skill learned is a small triumph leading toward success. This small step opens the door for me to do small scale, one-off marquetry projects. I still have a long way to go, but I feel now that I have passed at least one milestone.

My thanks and gratitude to Elaine for sharing her knowledge and also inspiring us with her wonderful work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

11 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2851 days

#1 posted 03-08-2013 06:49 PM

Mike Cornflakes boxes are great and water soluble (Not the printed side)

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2792 days

#2 posted 03-08-2013 07:03 PM

Don’t you just love those “ahaa” moments?

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

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3329 days

#3 posted 03-08-2013 07:18 PM

Jaime I have tried the cornflake boxes and also poster board which is about the same thickness, but both are way too thin for me as they do not offer enough resistance to the blade. The cutting just goes wild. This hardboard stuff is just the thing I needed.

Paul Yes, I live for them! Another door is opened. There are only 1000 left to go, lol.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 3824 days

#4 posted 03-08-2013 07:59 PM

Hey Mike, another piece of the puzzle falling into place…very nicely done…that is a very good outcome, and a good fit!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2928 days

#5 posted 03-08-2013 08:44 PM

Good fit Mike!

What blog are you refering to?

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3329 days

#6 posted 03-08-2013 09:17 PM

Thanks Mathew and Ian. The infill piece is from the original cut. My main concern here was to be able to follow the pattern line accurately, including the ability to make the sharp turns on the pointy ends. I also wanted to see how wide the kerf would be. The kerf is so small that I can’t imagine the need for a finer saw blade. I will try cutting the infill piece separately next time, by using the window method. Another this I found amazing was that if I scribe a line on the veneer, the saw will follow very easily and very well. I am guessing that is why Elaine scribes her infill piece with a knife through the window rather than just tracing with a pencil.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View justoneofme's profile


639 posts in 2474 days

#7 posted 03-09-2013 05:13 PM

Well done Mike! Now you can start to relax those stress-tightened muscles!! I got in a good day of workshop yesterday so don’t think it’ll be much longer before the blogging of part 2 happens … playing with hot sand is fun!

The best reason for scribing with the penknife Exacto blade, especially where wood will butt up against wood within the windowed area, is so the cut line follows exactly against the wood (section) and will allow for an almost perfect fit. I say almost … I’m not perfect!! Pencil lines are fine along the cardboard edges of the window (otherwise) because you don’t need to be as exact in those areas where they are not butting against neighboring wood.

Just a warning Mike … don’t scribe too deeply (especially if you scribe inside the entire window) because the possibility of that section popping out (while in the process of scroll sawing) is great! It has happened to me before! I’m just mentioning this because you noticed how easily your scroll saw blade followed the line. In actual fact … you have to follow that scribed line … not the scroll saw blade!

Many thanks Mike, for such accolades given to my latest blog series ‘Merlot Anyone?!’ – The Wine Box Saga. I love the added exposure you’ve given … so maybe curious others will tap in to find out what it’s all about. And I absolutely cracked up over the new handle you’ve suggested! Funny guy!!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3329 days

#8 posted 03-09-2013 06:45 PM

Thanks for comments and the warning about the scribing Elaine, I do have a reputation for brutalizing wood, so that was a very useful tip.

BTW, in my marquetry book by William A. Lincoln, he suggested that you could tape the design on a light table (I think just a platter would do) and then tape a piece of clear plastic shelf liner on top of the design again with the sticky side up. The cutout pieces could then be assembled by just sticking them on top of the liner in the correct position indicated by the design underneath. I have some of that shelf lining and it is very easy to remove without harming the veneer. Do you think that could be as good or better than putting them in a waster?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View justoneofme's profile


639 posts in 2474 days

#9 posted 03-10-2013 02:55 AM

If you are cutting numerous pictures needing to be put together … you could definitely give it a try! however, you would still have your original that you’re still cutting from … right? Please let me know how it works for you Mike!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2834 days

#10 posted 03-10-2013 08:54 PM

Mike is on a role.
Its those little tidbits that make us a better woodworker.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2533 days

#11 posted 03-11-2013 05:56 PM

What a great idea. Flag that one for a later date…

-- I never finish anyth

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