Creating Intarsia-more shaping and carving

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Blog entry by wdkits1 posted 04-08-2009 03:20 PM 1928 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On the last segment I went over the basics of tracing, cutting and sanding so now I will go into some of the details of carving and contouring that make intarsia unique.
After a piece has been traced,[including carving lines as per pattern] and sawn out, now is the time to carve in the details.
In this photo I have placed a sheet of 60 grit sandpaper on the workbench and have placed the piece on it. Using a 5/64” high speed cutter I carve the lines thru the paper pattern at a 45 degree angle while holding it down with my thumb nail. When all lines have been carved I remove the pattern and check to make sure that all lines are uniform. I re-carve if needed.

Once I’m happy that the carving looks good I shape the edges with a 1/2” or 1/4” sanding drum then clean the surface with 220 grit sandpaper. I then check for fit and adjust if needed.

In the next photo the pattern calls for C9 Pau Amerrillo which is 1/4” next to D9 Pau Amerrillo which is 3/8”. The arrows on the pattern indicates that the D9 has to be contoured so that the two pieces are the same thickness where they meet. For this I use my 3×18” belt sander and work it down along the edges until the 3/8 is close to 1/4”. I do the final shaping with the 1/2” drum sander and 220 grit sand paper. Once I am happy that it looks good I spray on a coat of satin poly and wipe off. Check for fit and adjust if needed.

This next photo shows what the contouring should look like.

Well this has been a good day. I managed not to lose or break any pieces and things have fit together pretty good without alot of adjusting. It is important to trace and cut the pieces accurately and not to get in any kind of a hurry when shaping and sanding.

Woods used so far: Poplar—grass ;Mahogany—road ; Blue Mahoe—bush ;
Maple—Bumper, rims and headlight trims; Holly—headlights; Ebony—fenderwells and front grill; Wenge—tires; Pau Amerrillo—truck body

-- Mike --

5 comments so far

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3490 days

#1 posted 04-08-2009 06:47 PM

Lookin Good!!!! Thanks so much for posting this series, it is very well done, detailed and very informative. I will be giving Intarsia an attempt after “my lessons”............. Great job, thanks again.

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View jimp's profile


208 posts in 3755 days

#2 posted 04-08-2009 09:41 PM

Mike – Thank you for timing the time to put this blog series together. I have learned a lot about intarsia.

-- - Jim, Carroll, OH

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3521 days

#3 posted 04-09-2009 12:23 AM

Just what I thought. A lot of work! Worth it though. Great blog, fun to watch. I’ll leave that to you and others and enjoy the pieces created. They are really cool. Thanks…........

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3552 days

#4 posted 04-09-2009 02:47 AM

This is the best I’ve seen on intarsia. Thanks for the post and I am looking forward to making an attempt at this soon.

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

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3552 days

#5 posted 04-09-2009 02:54 AM

Mike, Thanks for the post on the woods. I downloaded that article and printed the wood list out. That will be a tremendous help.

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

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