Creating Intarsia- Tips and tricks

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Blog entry by wdkits1 posted 04-09-2009 04:29 PM 3392 reads 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This photo shows one of the tricks to use when working with small pieces. If I have lots of pieces that have to be precisely placed together it is best to arrange them on the pattern as they are shaped and sanded and glue them together to form a larger unit. I start by taping clear plastic wrap over my tracing pattern and glue one piece over the corresponding section of the pattern. Apply white glue to the bottom edge of the next piece and place on the pattern. Do this until all the pieces of the unit are glued together within the lines of the pattern

After the glue has set up, peel the completed unit from the plastic as shown in the next photo.

One of the most important tools used to create intarsia is the moto tool. I use it for shaping, sanding and carving. Mine is equipped with a 36” flex shaft which makes it easy to work into tight areas. I made this custom foot switch to control my moto tool .Why buy it when you can build it!!

The next photo shows a jig that I made to help when I resaw my stock. It is self adjusting and spring loaded and helps to keep the stock tight to the fence. Helps to make nice uniform cuts.

Well so far I have cut ,sanded shaped and fit over 150 pieces from 13 different woods to create this intarsia. I still have more shaping and a few more pieces to cut and then go thru and replace a few pieces that don’t fit quite right. Once that is done I will discuss how to glue it all to the backboard and apply the finish.

-- Mike --

5 comments so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3586 days

#1 posted 04-09-2009 04:53 PM

very nice I like intarsia.This looks great well done.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3391 days

#2 posted 04-09-2009 04:55 PM

Very well done!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3559 days

#3 posted 04-09-2009 11:01 PM

Another great post in the series. Your technique is simple and your instructions are very clear. Thanks for the info.

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

View Gary's profile


42 posts in 3479 days

#4 posted 04-10-2009 09:29 AM

thank you very much for the info, I was also wondering if you had any suggestions for the moto tool. Do you use a dremel or another brand? I had an old dremel that finally died and all the new ones look so cheap I am having a hard time deciding to get one or to look into other brands.

-- Gary, Missouri

View wdkits1's profile


215 posts in 3354 days

#5 posted 04-10-2009 01:53 PM

Hi Gary

I have 2 moto tools—an older model Dremel and a craftsman which I use the most. I have to agree that the newer ones look cheaply made and when it comes time for me to replace the ones I have I will probably opt for the Foredom which is a very nice tool.

-- Mike --

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