intarsia advice wanted

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Forum topic by MrsN posted 02-10-2009 08:16 PM 1381 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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985 posts in 3490 days

02-10-2009 08:16 PM

I have never done an intarsia project, and would really like too. I will eventually ask all sorts of questions about the process but I am still at the very begining of planning this project. I am looking for advice on picking a patten.
I want to find a pattern that is easy enough for me to have some sucess with but still a challenge. When looking at a pattern how can you tell the difficulty of the project?
Is there anything else I should think about before picking a pattern?
Thanks for any help.

5 replies so far

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3555 days

#1 posted 02-10-2009 11:47 PM

MrsN, First off you need to know your tools. This will give you a better Idea of what you can make. How tight can you cut a radious? How do you intend on sanding the radious once cut? what wood do you have to make it with? If you don’t have a scroll saw or a bandsaw that will cut a nice you may want to start off with something that has semi straight lines. Otherwise you will find yourself sanding burn marks all day. If you have an oscillating sander it will definately help. So think about how well you can actually cut your pieces. Can you cut sharp curves, etc? What material do you have? This will determine the color scheme of your project. Remember to keep the grain direction in mind too.
Hope that was at least some help. I look forward to seeing our posted project.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View mountainsky's profile


29 posts in 3362 days

#2 posted 02-11-2009 01:55 AM

Have you checked She has several beginner patterns. If you don’t have one, you should consider purchasing a scroll saw. There are some fairly inexpensive models available that will last long enough to decide if you want to invest more $$. Good Luck!!

View Allison's profile


819 posts in 3763 days

#3 posted 02-11-2009 05:22 AM

As mountainsky says above Judy Gale Roberts has absolutely beautiful intarsia patterns. She does have from beginner to the extremely talented. A truly easy place to start for first projects is Stained glass patterns. They do not go nearly in depth or detail as intarsia, but look great just the same.
My personal favorite (besides Judy Gale Roberts) is a magazine that you can get delivered right to your door called Creative Woodworks and crafts. When I go to the city I have seen them for sale at Home Depot and the like. They too offer beginner on up. In my profile here I have made a few stained glass pattern intarsia, and seem to get some of my best compliments on them. (There’s one here I did that’s an elephant) and you can see there are not a whole lot of pieces to deal with but the finished project is great just the same.( I think I have a link there also.) they are free. I know the name is Chantals stained glass. If I can help you in any way please let me know. However I will not be responsible for the addiction that making intarsia may do to you. LOL!!!

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View MrsN's profile


985 posts in 3490 days

#4 posted 02-11-2009 04:54 PM

Thanks for your help, I appreciate your advice.
In answer to what tools I have, I do have a scroll saw and have access to a bandsaw. I have (or have access to) an array of sanders spindle, belt, disc, orbital, palm, detail, in addition to dremel rotary tool.
Again, thanks so much for your help. I look forward to being able to start this project.

View Jack Labor's profile

Jack Labor

52 posts in 2608 days

#5 posted 02-03-2012 05:06 AM

If I can be of any help, getting you started, or along the way, drop me a line at

Judy Gail Roberts is a great source of patterns. In fact, her “Puppy in a Basket” was my first attempt. I have learned a great deal and continue to learn something new with every project. Also look at Kathy Wise and Janette Square for inspiration. Take the time to “shape and contour” it takes longer but will pay off in the end. Good luck and I look forward to seeing your finished project.


-- Jack Labor - Elmwood Intarsia - Artistry In Wood

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