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FANTASY MARQUETRY #1: PLANNING, DRAWING AND VENEER SELECTION

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Blog entry by stefang posted 08-08-2014 01:54 PM 1248 reads 1 time favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of FANTASY MARQUETRY series Part 2: Preparing Veneers for a packet »

Why am I blogging this?
This will be my second marquetry using veneers. This one will be much more difficult than my first recently finished practice project (shown below) assigned to me by Paul aka Shipwright . It is probably too advanced for me at this stage and I will probably make a lot of mistakes, but I am hoping it will be a great learning experience if nothing else. My thought is that if you are at all interested you might enjoy seeing me stumble around in the dark for a couple of months while I work my way through this project and it will help motivate me to do my best so I won’t look too dumb.

I plan to use my new Chevalet for this project, but with the method I am using it could just as well be cut on a scroll sawl. So I hope you will join me and maybe have some laughs and who knows, you might even learn something if you’re lucky.

Selecting a motif
I wanted to do something original this time. I’m not artistically inclined, but my son Mark is. He does a lot of fantasy work and I liked this little wizard sharing quality time with his small dragon. I told him I hoped he didn’t mind my murdering his artwork and he said that it would be my art too since it was being done in a different medium. A very generous reply that warms an old dad’s heart.

Producing the marquetry drawing
This turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected. The order of work on this is:

  1. I took a photo of the drawing from my computer’s photo gallery and exported it a program ‘Rapid Resizer’.
  2. Next I resized the photo and made it shades of gray so I could see the contrasts as an indication where different colored veneers would be used and to make it easier to trace (1st photo below).
  3. The enlarged picture was then taped onto my light table and a blank paper tape hinged over it for tracing.
  4. The first tracing I did (2nd photo below) was way too detailed and really discouraging.
  5. I decided that this project would have to be simplified and done in several stages with the first stage being a sort of background for the details (3rd photo below) which would be added after the first cutting.

I may simplify this last drawing even more by eliminating the clouds and the folds in the wizard’s robe. This will help give grain continuity to the sky and also the robe.

Selection of background veneers
My thought process on the selection was as follows:

  1. Stay as true to the original artwork colors as possible.
  2. Use the lighter background colors first.
  3. Make the selection from veneers I had on hand.

Luckily I had ordered some blue and green dyed veneers. I am not too thrilled to use dyed veneers because I prefer natural wood colors to make it obvious that the picture is made from wood. However, I realize that this picture would fall pretty flat without the blue and green colors and so I’m trying to conquer my prejudice for the sake of the artwork.

Here are the first veneers I’ve selected. Others will be added at a later stage. As you see I have numbered them since I haven’t a clue about all the different species. I do have a book of marquetry veneers by William A. Lincoln so I do plan to identify them in due course and I will include their names in this blog later.

The veneers shown are in sequential order starting with #1 at the bottom of the photo. You can compare these colors with the photo if you want to see if you like my selection, but remember other colors will be added later.

I welcome any suggestions you might have about anything I have done so far. I’m much more in the learning mode than the teaching mode here, so your comments will be appreciated whether negative or positive. My next blog will be about preparing the veneers for cutting, the method I plan to use and preparing the packet.

Thanks for looking in and I hope there is something interesting here for you.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.



31 comments so far

View sras's profile

sras

3871 posts in 1815 days


#1 posted 08-08-2014 02:10 PM

What a fun image! Don’t over simplify – it’s the scary part that makes projects fun!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View grace123's profile

grace123

160 posts in 1448 days


#2 posted 08-08-2014 02:15 PM

I will greatly enjoy following your blog!!!

View stefang's profile

stefang

13251 posts in 2020 days


#3 posted 08-08-2014 02:15 PM

I agree Steve. I will be adding all the detail, but in stages. This is only the first stage.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View stefang's profile

stefang

13251 posts in 2020 days


#4 posted 08-08-2014 02:18 PM

Thanks grace and don’t be afraid to offer any advice underway.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Julian's profile

Julian

520 posts in 1376 days


#5 posted 08-08-2014 02:23 PM

Looking forward to seeing this project progress. This will be a great learning process for all. Thanks for sharing.

-- Julian

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1177 posts in 1639 days


#6 posted 08-08-2014 02:56 PM

Mike,
I’ll be following your progress. As it happens, I’m just now ready to begin cutting my first real project as well. I realize that I have the advantage of a couple weeks at ASFM, but you will quickly be amazed at the precision with which you can cut with your chevalet and a 2/0 blade. Even at that, I’m a rank amateur. LOL I presume you are cutting this project Boulle style? Bon chance!
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5075 posts in 1484 days


#7 posted 08-08-2014 03:12 PM

Ah, the adventure begins …... and your son’s wonderful artwork makes me think of the beginning of one of the legendary hobbit adventures. Have fun with this, don’t be to self critical and look out for orcs.
So much for advice.
I’d like to know how you plan to add detail “after the first cutting” but I’m sure this will come out in the next segment.
I’ll be patient.
I do hope you have some purpleheart for the dragon.

I plan to be watching this with anticipation right to its inevitable successful completion. GO Mike!

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

View stefang's profile

stefang

13251 posts in 2020 days


#8 posted 08-08-2014 03:41 PM

Julian I’m sure it will be a whole lot more learning than teaching from my side.

Roger There aren’t too many challenging cuts to begin with so the first part should get me going for the more difficult part that follows.

Paul I will explain my planned process in the next blog, I just hope it works! Unfortunately I don’t have have any purple heart so I’m using some burl something or other instead (seen at the very top of the photo). The color isn’t too good, but it looks organic to me and should contrast ok with the surrounding colors. Alternatively I have a chunk of cocobolo that I can use providing it can be sliced thin enough. If I use that some highlights will have to be added to give it more life.

I remember Mike aka WDKITS 1 commenting in one of his blogs that his favorite part of doing an intarsia work was selecting the woods. I didn’t understand that at the time, but after today I think I do. It’s a very enjoyable process deciding which veneers to use. My stock is not very extensive but I did get some nice looking veneers at quite reasonable prices, especially the ones I bought from Ireland which were quite cheap. All of the veneer packs I bought from 3 different suppliers were in nice condition. The burl has buckled a bit so now I can see how it is to flatten them. I do have an awful lot to learn about selecting and buying them and that is a big part of the fun.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Rowe's profile (online now)

Jim Rowe

567 posts in 998 days


#9 posted 08-08-2014 05:57 PM

Mike
I shall be watching your progress in anticipation of taking the same journey when my chevalet is finally completed.
If you spray your burls with a mixture of water and glycerine and then press them between sheets of paper they will flatten and become manageable.
Jim

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View stefang's profile

stefang

13251 posts in 2020 days


#10 posted 08-08-2014 06:04 PM

Jim Glad to have you with on my little journey and thanks for the tip. I have the glycerine already and I plan to spray the burl tomorrow. I hope you will be posting your chevalet when it’s finished.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

5075 posts in 1484 days


#11 posted 08-08-2014 07:50 PM

You can speed that process with hot cauls Mike. You can use them much hotter than for gluing. Most often you can also skip the glycerine. Ramond covers it very well in “Marquetry”.

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

View stefang's profile

stefang

13251 posts in 2020 days


#12 posted 08-08-2014 08:57 PM

Paul Thanks for the tip, I’ve probably read about it and forgotten. I don’t have the cauls yet, but I will probably get the them after the weekend. Meanwhile I can get on with preparing the other veneers for the packet.

Roger I forgot to answer your question. No, this marquetry will not be Boulle style. I plan to use the ‘Painting in Wood’ packet method which is so well described here in Paul’s excellent blog but with a small twist of my own (probably nothing new) which I will describe in my next installment of this series.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14855 posts in 2362 days


#13 posted 08-08-2014 09:04 PM

Looks like an interesting project. I have complete confidence it will turn out very well.

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

View stefang's profile

stefang

13251 posts in 2020 days


#14 posted 08-08-2014 09:11 PM

Well, that makes one of you Bob., but I will do my best not to disappoint you.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14855 posts in 2362 days


#15 posted 08-08-2014 09:14 PM

I doubt if I am alone ;-)

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

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