First Intarsia

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Project by Milton Toal posted 02-13-2013 04:53 AM 1213 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
First Intarsia
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Thanks to Judy Gale Roberts et al for the inspiration. We lost a grandson at 6 weeks. Every year since, my Wife Elaine and I have bought a bear ornament for the Christmas tree. This year Jarrod would have been 18 so I decided to make it special. Panic set in when three days from Christmas the Tasmanian Cheesewood (the white wood) that I bought at auction at the end of October had still not arrived. The whole thing is just about 8 cm tall. The red of the hat, jacket and trousers is Western Red Cedar as I had no Padauk at the time. The face, ear and buckle are Cypress Pine, the gloves, belt and nose button are American Walnut, the eyes are ebony dowels turned in the drill press from ex piano keys, the shoe uppers are Australian Red Gum, the nose and chin and soles are Sandalwood and the bag is Messmate.

Very challenging, very rewardable and my daughter paraded it around the room to the entire family before hanging it on the tree.

Christmas is for giving, it really is and the old adage that it is better to give than to receive really came home to me.

-- Milton Toal, Doncaster, Melbourne Australia.

15 comments so far

View atchison32's profile


153 posts in 2156 days

#1 posted 02-13-2013 05:12 AM

Well done!

View Woodbridge's profile


3396 posts in 1662 days

#2 posted 02-13-2013 05:13 AM

beautiful work!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

19982 posts in 1582 days

#3 posted 02-13-2013 09:38 AM

Beautiful work

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

438 posts in 2374 days

#4 posted 02-13-2013 02:40 PM

Absolutely beautiful. Nice job.

-- Dale, Ohio

View Ken90712's profile


16517 posts in 2433 days

#5 posted 02-13-2013 03:10 PM

Amazing work, and such a nice tribute to your loved one. Sorry to hear, as it is never easy. It’s a nice tribute to keep the memory going. I love Intarsia style of woodworking.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View luv2learn's profile


2278 posts in 1547 days

#6 posted 02-13-2013 04:28 PM

Milton, beautiful work, especially for your first piece. I am sure that your grandson would have smiled at this tribute to him. Cottonwood is an excellent choice for your white wood in case you get in a bind. I am a novice at Intarsia also, but I really like the craft. I hope you do too and I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View DocSavage45's profile


7264 posts in 2086 days

#7 posted 02-13-2013 05:00 PM


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


114699 posts in 2821 days

#8 posted 02-13-2013 05:04 PM

Nice work and a very kind and wonderful thing to do.

-- Custom furniture

View majuvla's profile


7214 posts in 2111 days

#9 posted 02-13-2013 06:48 PM

Too good for first time!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View SteveW's profile


391 posts in 2102 days

#10 posted 02-13-2013 07:40 PM

That is beautiful work, thank you for sharing,
and my apologies for your loss.

Mind if I ask a question on your techniques?
How do you sand each piece?
I am new to Intarsia, but they look somewhat difficult to hold, no?

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! SteveW

View Time2beupinAZ's profile


453 posts in 2206 days

#11 posted 02-13-2013 08:35 PM

That is a very nice piece of work you have done there. Great fist intarsia.

-- Tim - I usally measure twice after I cut......then I know for sure that I cut it short.....

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5803 posts in 2829 days

#12 posted 02-13-2013 08:53 PM

So sorry for your loss and I too love intarsia and have the book in question I must try this when I get the time LOL Alistair

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

View Milton Toal's profile

Milton Toal

107 posts in 1315 days

#13 posted 02-14-2013 03:12 AM

Thanks everyone. Was quite a challenge.

Steve, You are right. Very difficult to hold because the piece is so tiny.. Sanded with tiny tubes and diamond burrs on a flexible shaft, finished by hand with fine wet-and-dry.

Thanks for the tip on Cottonwood, Luv2Learn but I don’t know of a supplier in Australia. However, I saw a neighbour pruning his Cumquat and the wood is nearly pure white. I grabbed a branch, painted the ends with plastic paint and will leave it dry out in the workshop then mill it. If it still comes out white I shall approach some citrus farmers for their larger prunings, since the Tasmanian Cheesewood is very rarely available as it is an understory shrub which is only cut as a by-product of normal logging.

-- Milton Toal, Doncaster, Melbourne Australia.

View woodshaver's profile


3807 posts in 2597 days

#14 posted 02-14-2013 03:43 AM

Excellent work and made for a very good reason! First time, It looks so perfect!

-- Tony C UAW, St Augustine FL, My high school shop teacher said "You can do it"... Now I can't stop!

View intarsia92's profile


96 posts in 1360 days

#15 posted 02-14-2013 04:34 PM

Very nice!!! Shaping and choice of woods are great.

-- Intarsia92

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