Marquetry tools, veneers and supply purchases

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Blog entry by stefang posted 03-20-2013 07:19 PM 6781 reads 4 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I thought it might be interesting for those thinking about taking up marquetry work to get an idea of what they might need and I wanted to show my marquetry advisory board what I bought in case they see something missing that I should have. Besides marquetry, It’s my intention to begin using hot hide glue, so those supplies and tools are also included.

I do like the specialty electric glue pots, but I didn’t fancy paying the high price plus import duties so I went for the hotplate/sauce pan solution as seen below. The hide glue shown is granulated. I haven’t tried it out yet, but I plan to soon. There is also a paint scraper for hammer veneering, I will have to dull one edge of the reversible blade for that purpose. The other edge can still be used for paint scraping. My idea for trying out the hide glue and the paint scraper came from Paul aka shipwright.

Choosing veneers was something new for me. I didn’t really know what veneers would be best to start with and what sizes I would need. I did assume that my first projects would be fairly small, so I choose mostly packs with a lot of different colors and tones, plus a pack of burls (I really like those) and a few larger sheets for big backgrounds or whatever.

In addition to the veneers, I bought a veneer saw and a large pack of 2/0 scrollsaw blades. I bought the blades only after making sure I could actually control them and get good results. The veneer saw is a pretty standard design. I learned that it had to be sharpened before use, and how to do that properly. I also learned how to use it the right way. All thanks to for that info.

My buying spree also included Reptile sand for sand shading, painters tape to tape the veneers where necessary, Marquetry tape for joint edges, etc, Glycerol to mix with water for spraying bent and buckled burls and a spray bottle to spray veneers needing flattening.

Shellac flakes. The first time I’ve bought this. I now have to find suitable alcohol to mix it with. Alcohol is very restricted here in Norway. luckily, my DIL is a pharmacist, so I hope she can get the good stuff for me. Otherwise I only have Ethanol available to me, and that had red dye in it and is poisoned to make it undrinkable.

My son tells me that down and out alcoholics he has seen in the park in Oslo buy a loaf of french bread which they filter the ethanol through before drinking to remove the poison. this doesn’t always work so good though, as they get hungry after drinking the alcohol and in their inebriated state they eat the bread. I guess this would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

I might try to learn french polishing, but before I do I will need some additional supplies like mineral oil, pumice and some wool and linen or cotton to rub it on with.

I brought down my light table from the loft. I can use it to trace and work on patterns. I can also do that on the computer, but I enjoy doing it by hand too. The cutting matt is the self healing type and I’m using some cheap craft knives for the time being. Yes, I do plan to learn the knife method of cutting marquetry too. I thought it would be nice to do while sitting with the wife on the terrace in the summer. A better craft knife and a lot of blades for it have been ordered from Lee Valley. I still intend to use my scrollsaw in the winter though.

The press was finished just before gluing my dragon marquetry to the backing. I like it a lot. It was inexpensive and it works really well. The design is based on Mathew Nedeljko’s design. Besides working well, it can be dismantled (no screws or fasteners involved) and compactly stored when not in use. The press frame is 3-3/4” square. The base and the top caul are torsion box construction like Mathew’s press., but made from 3/4” MDF glue and air nailed.

I’m looking forward to getting started with all the above stuff, but before I do, the frames for my two dragon marquetries have to be be finished. I just started on the first one today. I’m pretty slow these days, so it could take awhile.

Otherwise, I have had to reconfigure my shop. It became awfully cramped and uncomfortable to work in after I bought my big bandsaw a couple of years ago. I couldn’t stand it anymore so I found a better setup and it’s actually nice to work out there again.

Thanks for reading!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

22 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3881 days

#1 posted 03-20-2013 09:31 PM

That is so neat Mike. I whole bunch of stuff all at once. You have a lot of hours of fun there.

I like the idea of sitting outside and cutting veneer as a relaxing thing to do with the wife. That paints a very nice picture in my head.

Thanks for the updates,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2797 days

#2 posted 03-20-2013 10:43 PM

Christmas in March !!!

Looks like the fun has started already Mike.

Nothing like buying woodworking supplies (or new sails) to put a real smile of anticipation on your face.

I have a light box very much like yours but I couldn’t take the glare and replaced the clear with frosted glass.
It really does feel more artistic than pulling lines around by the contour handles in a computer program though.

I hope your idea of idyllic hours of outdoor cutting works out better than mine did. I had visions of cutting with the chevalet on my shop deck, with a view of the bay in front of me …...... lasted about ten minutes until the first little gust of wind. Not all bad. I picked up the pieces I could find and went sailing. :-)

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

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3564 days

#3 posted 03-20-2013 10:45 PM

Not any help with whether you have enough tools…. wait that’s not correct, you need more tools ;-) I’m just not any help on which ones. One of the many things to try in the future.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 days

#4 posted 03-20-2013 11:00 PM

Steve I’m not so sure it will work out now, thinking about Paul’s experience. We have wind almost all the time here. I didn’t think about those light weight small pieces.

Paul Strange that you should say that. My wife just mentioned that I should have a frosted glass too. I haven’t minded working with it like it is, but I haven’t used it all that much to really know yet. I built it about 15 years ago for my son, but I made him a combo light board/drawing table, so he gave me this one.

Tim I will probably find out about other useful stuff as I go.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3675 days

#5 posted 03-21-2013 12:26 AM

Looks like there is a lot of work about to be turned out ;-)

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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3303 days

#6 posted 03-21-2013 02:04 AM

really nice mike to see your set up and the gathering of new tools for your new wood craft, just as steve did , i also had this warm picture in my head, but now i see you with your bad back trying to bend and find the small pieces…that is not such a good picture…lol… could just have yourself a nice wooden box with a sliding top, cut the pieces and put them in the box..if it gets you outside with your beloved wife…try it….good blog mike…grizz

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

View Schwieb's profile


1857 posts in 3461 days

#7 posted 03-21-2013 02:18 AM

Oh man, you are ready to roll into the wide world of marquetry. I would share my new (and yet unused) glue pot if you were closer and I am a very good source for those blades you will want. I buy them in packs of 100 at a time. I probably shouldn’t say this but I know a guy with a still down here in florida that will make as strong of ethanol as you want. I just bought some nearly 200 proof for my wife to make some clear soap, Shhhhhhhh.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 3829 days

#8 posted 03-21-2013 03:35 AM

Mike, looks like you are all set, and that press turned out really nice. It looks like you built it plenty strong!

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

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2933 days

#9 posted 03-21-2013 06:17 AM

It looks like you spent a lot of money Mike.

you got all the supplies and tools.

Can’t wait for your next marquetry adventure.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View justoneofme's profile


639 posts in 2479 days

#10 posted 03-21-2013 06:26 AM

Wow Mike … you are set to go! That feeling of anticipation has got to be zinging through your veins right now!! It looks like you have a good selection of veneers to get started.

Good luck with the hide glue … nice looking glue pot. I use hide glue when working with piano parts, and not wanting to spend too much money on the proper pot years back … went ahead and got myself a 2nd hand old fashioned plug-in coffee pot, a small glass jar (for the glue) set on an overturned tin can (punctured and proper height for the water to surround the jar) ... using the spout as my brush holder (submerged in the hot water) when not in use. Works like a charm!

I agree with Paul and your wife … fluorescent lighting (or any type of light used in the box) is hard on the eyes, although if the whole surface is covered while working it probably won’t bother you. Better if the glass was opaque though.

LOL !! ... What a lovely vision of you and your wife enjoying a summer’s eve together while you do some hand cutting … and I’m not even going there with the wind … although a definite issue! I just hope your lovely wife has something to keep herself occupied as well, because if you’re anything like me … I’m in real ‘concentration mode’ when working a Marquetry piece. Just ask my husband!! Better yet, might I suggest (?) you sit together in the great outdoors enjoying Nature’s surroundings with a glass of wine … and just talk about Marquetry!! Just say’n :)
As anxious as you are to begin your Marquetry adventure Mike, you have the right attitude: First things first … always good to finish up one project before starting another … so I guess we’ll be seeing those Dragon picture frames before long, eh?!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 days

#11 posted 03-21-2013 10:19 AM

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

BOB I am on a new road now. Quality over quantity is my motto, but don’t expect anything like the others have been turning out. I will just have to do the best I can.

Grizz I agree, it might not work out too good. We have almost constant winds here, and on top of that, they seem to swirl around in our garden, maybe due to the little forest next to us.

Ken I did buy a 100 pack of 2/0 blades made in Germany (Nicqua) from my local woodworking store. They have also gotten a new Swiss supplier which I intend to try next time. The 200 proof moonshine sounds good. I could get good and shellacked with that!

Mathew Yes it is strong with with only a small whimper first time out. I love it! Thanks for you help with it.

Ian I think I have about $250 invested for everything. That includes a cheap clothes iron and glue roller that isn’t shown above. You can probably cut that in half if you buy it in the U.S.A.

Elaine I can see where this is going with regards to the light box light. You are probably right about the wine and just chatting instead of working, much more social. It’s just that I get so little time during the summer to do any hobby work as there is so much to do in the garden and maintenance on the house. I have to admit though, that I’m not sure I will be up to those tasks this summer, but I will try.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2839 days

#12 posted 03-21-2013 01:03 PM

Mike you look like you are in it for the long haul. Good luck and I cant wait to see what you come up with.

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

View helluvawreck's profile


31096 posts in 2866 days

#13 posted 03-21-2013 01:20 PM

Mike, I appreciate this blog. I would like to get into this but if I do it will be on down the road a little ways. However, I really appreciate this blog and seeing the wonderful craftsmanship that you have exhibited. Thanks.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 days

#14 posted 03-21-2013 01:54 PM

Thanks Dave and Charles. I am looking forward to learning this craft with a knife as much as using my scrollsaw. I’m not sure how much my hands will like though, so I just have to try and see how it goes. My thought is that besides maybe doing marquetry on the terrace, in case I can’t get into the shop for health reasons, I might still manage to do marquetry at the kitchen table. it’s always good to have a backup plan! I think you might enjoy it Charles since you like carving. One advantage to knife cut marquetry is that there is little or no sawdust and it is quiet work too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2538 days

#15 posted 03-21-2013 04:26 PM

Looks like your ready to go! Can’t wait to see what you make.

-- I never finish anyth

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