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Creating Intarsia-tracing,cutting and shaping

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Blog entry by wdkits1 posted 04-07-2009 03:10 PM 2295 reads 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I managed to get a few pieces done today so I’ll begin by showing the steps needed to begin the intarsia process. This photo shows the set-up to trace a section from the pattern onto sticky back label paper. I have taped the pattern down and have slid the carbon paper and label paper under the section I am tracing.I use a fine point mechanical pencil to do the tracing because it gives a crisp consistent line. Use a straight edge to trace any frame border lines.

Once the tracing is complete I cut the section of label paper out and peel off the wax paper on the back and place the section onto the wood blank paying attention to the grain direction as indicated on pattern detail. Next photo

This next photo shows a simple zero clearance jig that I use on the bed of my saw to cut small pieces. Simply a piece of 1/4” plywood run thru to the center of the jig. As the hole becomes wallowed out I just make a new cut and am good to go again.

In this next photo I’m cutting out the section on the scroll saw.I’m using a #5 double tooth blade which is a good all-around blade for the thicknesses of the woods used for this project. Where the bush is, I drill a 1/8” pilot hole to insert the blade ,always cutting on the center of the lines.

Next 2 photos Once a piece has been cut out of the blank it needs to be sanded along the edges to remove any burrs and to give it a more finished look. For this I use a 3×18” belt sander and lightly work it along the edges just enough to round over. On pieces that are too small to use the belt sander I use a 1/4” or 1/2” drum sander mounted on my rotary tool with a 36” flex shaft. I finish by hand sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and apply a coat of spray-on satin poly and wipe off. This lets me see the true color of the wood plus shows if any more sanding needs to be done to remove scratches.

Using 1/2” drum sander to round edges.

I like to assemble the pieces into the frame from the bottom; fitting, sanding and first coat finishing as I go. As you can see in the next photo, having the pattern in the frame makes it pretty easy to see the progress of the intarsia and to make any necessary adjustments in fitting ,sanding or contouring.
Woods used so far: grass-heart poplar, road—mahogany, bush—blue mahoe.

-- Mike --http://www.custommade.com/by/mikemathieu/



11 comments so far

View rtb's profile

rtb

1099 posts in 2378 days


#1 posted 04-07-2009 03:59 PM

now you’ve got me hooked

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View woodworm's profile

woodworm

14125 posts in 2255 days


#2 posted 04-07-2009 04:07 PM

Looks like you’re getting there. Very nice.

My question : For cutting the truck’s body shape which contains multiple segments, are you using one single sketch or copies of it?.

Thanks for sharing with us.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View wdkits1's profile

wdkits1

212 posts in 2018 days


#3 posted 04-07-2009 04:19 PM

I use 1 pattern and trace all of the pieces from this pattern. If the pieces to be cut from 1 wood are side by side then I trace them together and cut them out. An example would be the bush in the foreground.All pieces are traced at the same time then cut out individually. Hope this answers your question

-- Mike --http://www.custommade.com/by/mikemathieu/

View martin007's profile

martin007

141 posts in 2440 days


#4 posted 04-07-2009 07:56 PM

great blog, I will stay tuned
thanks for sharing

-- Martin, Gatineau, Qu├ębec

View Allison's profile

Allison

819 posts in 2464 days


#5 posted 04-07-2009 11:14 PM

Very nice tutorial, I have never heard of spray-on satin poly. I am very interested in this . Could you elaborate a little on this product? It sounds like something I would love to try.
Thanks
Allison

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

View wdkits1's profile

wdkits1

212 posts in 2018 days


#6 posted 04-07-2009 11:30 PM

Hi Allison
Glad you are enjoying this tutorial. The product that I mention is a spray on satin poly by Min-wax.I like it because it is easy to use ,doesn’t go bad and doesn’t have the glare that alot of other finishes have when it dries. As I mentioned I like to apply it to the pieces during the cutting and sanding steps to see if the pieces have been sanded properly. I just spray it on and wipe it off. When the intarsia is complete I usually apply 3 more coats over the entire project by spraying from all directions to make sure that everything is sealed properly.

-- Mike --http://www.custommade.com/by/mikemathieu/

View cabinetmaster's profile

cabinetmaster

10874 posts in 2223 days


#7 posted 04-08-2009 01:35 AM

WOW. you got me hooked too. Where do you get all the different woods? I see all these intarsia projcts but have never figured out where to get all the different woods. Is there a guide that we could use that tells us the different colors of wood to use in intarsia?

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View wdkits1's profile

wdkits1

212 posts in 2018 days


#8 posted 04-08-2009 02:55 AM

Hi Jerry Back in 92 I knew what pine was and I knew what cedar was only from my days of building log homes.After reading about intarsia I discovered that different woods could be used to create different colors so I began collecting all of the different woods that were locally available to use in my art.Things like cherry and walnut and many other domestic woods like apple and holly.Then my wife ordered some exotic turning squares for me—purpleheart and rosewood and wenge just to name a few and I literally went wild looking for more woods to use in my pictures.In a few years I collected over 100 different woods and spent lots of money but I have narrowed my favorites down to about 30 or so that I use the most .I compiled a list of some of my favorite woods into a downloadable article that I published in issue 34 of Scrollsaw, woodworking and crafts.

-- Mike --http://www.custommade.com/by/mikemathieu/

View woodworm's profile

woodworm

14125 posts in 2255 days


#9 posted 04-08-2009 03:37 AM

Ok, I need to know further. If I were to buy thin stock lumber/wood, what thickness is most appropriate for making intrasia (if I use scroll saw for cutting it). I’m thinking of buying 1/8” stock, because I do not have band saw to economically resaw thicker stock.

Thanks Mike for addressing my earlier question.
I’m following this tutorial.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View wdkits1's profile

wdkits1

212 posts in 2018 days


#10 posted 04-08-2009 04:12 AM

The beauty of intarsia comes from the fact that different thicknesses of wood and different grains and colors are blended together .Many people that do intarsia use thicker woods than I do but I personally like to use thinner woods because I do my own resawing and it is cheaper using thinner cuts of some of the more expensive woods.
I like to use 1/8”-3/8” in most of my framed pieces .

-- Mike --http://www.custommade.com/by/mikemathieu/

View woodworm's profile

woodworm

14125 posts in 2255 days


#11 posted 04-08-2009 04:18 AM

Thank you Mike.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

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