Interesting Woodworking Link

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Episode #100 - First Foray into Marquetry

Cutting veneer and packet assembly

First Foray into Marquetry . . . A Great Way to Celebrate Episode 100!


Packet Assembly

The last several months have been exciting for my small shop as I have been accumulating supplies and initial equipment to begin exploring marquetry. I have been considering this for some time since it is a natural extension of veneer work. Thanks to stimulating conversations initiated by Neil Lamens, I have been augmenting my woodworking reading with the likes of Silas Kopf and Paul Schurch.


Cutting Packet with a Scroll Saw

The video clips embedded in this post were initially recorded to share with Neil my fledgling progress. I thought they would be interesting to include giving context to the process. As every other aspect of woodworking, I am self-taught at this juncture. In that vein I have been doing a lot of reading, as well as, watching a few select DVDs to the point of almost wearing them out!

Cheery tree in full bloom

Building an engagement chest for our niece has catalyzed my interest in marquetry. I have always been very practical and having a project to pursue has always provided a solid impetuous to learn and apply a new skill. I thought that a small piece of marquetry would be a nice detail to add to the bottom of the storage tray inside the chest. Beth and I decided on a small branch of cherry blossoms.

Using my kitchen window as a light board

Sketch of a branch with cherry blosoms

It turned out I had had a lot of inspiration right outside our kitchen nook window as the cherry trees bloomed in all their splendor this last month. I used the back-lighted window as an inexpensive light board and worked out a sketch that hopefully will not be too challenging to execute.

My first marquetry exercise

Close-up detail of my first marquetry exercise

My first exercise was a simple 4x4 packet using some scrap veneer to get a feel of the process. I mad no attempt to work with grain or do any sand shading. This packet basically gave me a feel of packet assembly, scroll saw work and assembly. As expected, I made a lot of mistakes, but more importantly, I learned volumes.

Cutting veneer and packet assembly

My second exercise is a bit larger piece adding the complexity of working with grain patterns, color and sand shading. I am feeling a bit less intimidated by the scroll saw and my cuts are starting to flow with less effort. I also significantly reduced my saw blade breakage rate; 10 blades on the first 4x4 packet compared with 3 blades on the larger packet! I’ve noticed that good lighting at the blade and my shop magnifying eyeglasses have been a significant help.

Close-up detail of veneer selection




9 comments:

Jimmy "Handi" Warner said...

David,

Noticed you were talking about the scroll saw and your Brakage problem with the Blags...

10 Blades is ALOT of Brakage, Even 3 is ALOT, In my Opinion thou. There are several Reasons they Break... 1) To tight, 2) To Lose, and 3) Bad Blades or poorly Made Blades.

With Blades Made Really well, and the right one, and tightened just right, you should have NO Brakage at all.

if they break, it's do also to too much Force through the blade, or too slow the blade is heating up, tempering the blade in a since that it's fragile and it brakes.

There are Special Blades out there pretty much for every type of wood... They have Plywood Blades, hardwood Blades, jeweler Blades, Plastic Blades, etc.

Anyway, make sure you got the Blade for the right project, the size of the blade and very importantly have it tightened just right.

To do so, for me anyway, I tighten it up til I feel it start getting lightly Snug, then I do another 1/4 to 1/2 Turn, then pluck the Blade from behind, if I hear a nice even tone, high pitch, then it's just right, for thicker harder wood, you want tighter cause you don't want the blade to cut any other degree then 90.

Hopes this helps next time, I will be doing a Video sometime about Blades and stuff to help out who isn't familure so they can prevent lots of blade brakage.

Handi

Jimmy "Handi" Warner said...

David,

I just got finished watching your Videos... Really good...

I seen One problem thou... And as one woodworker or one scroller to another... Tips, Hints and Tricks of the Trade are a Great way to Learn...

What you are doing is Technically called Stack Cutting, when you put many Pieces of wood or Venner together to cut many of the same thing with consistance. Sorry bout the spelling lol.

Anyway, One good way to stack cut is to use Box Tape, this will ensure Good surface gliding along your scroll saw table as well as Lubercating your Blade to help with Wood burning.

You can also use Spray Adhesive on your Pattern you want to apply, this will also help prevent the paper from coming off of your wood along with packing tape.

The Brad Nails are good also, but the best way to apply these brads, is to use a Small brad of course along with a Small Hammer, on a Anvil, tap the brads in til it hits the anvil, this is all you need to hold them together, if the brads are small enough, you will have no problem with them.

The method you were using, would off balance your work, it would wobble on your table with the brads going all the way through the back and bent over.

Just some tips to think about while Scrolling..

Handi

David Pruett said...

Handi -

Very interesting to get a comment from you. It is funny, but I was thinking of you and other scrollers I ended up touching base with after posting the scroll saw blade holder. I was thinking of all the wonderful and delicate scroll saw projects that I have seen on various forums. Within the first few inches of the first marquetry packet I had enormous respect for scrollers! I commented to a good woodworking buddy via a private email that "the experts sure do make this look easy and effortless"!

Regarding my blade breakage, I smile as I know it is completely due to operator error! I am hopeful as I get more time at the scroll saw that breakage will further decrease and my individual skill will increase . . . well that is the hope. I do know I have to put my time in. I do find it to be a lot of fun and relaxing.

I think my blades are good quality. I am experimenting with 2/0 Olson and 2/0 Flying Dutchman blades. I also think my tension good as I get a good high pitched tone when I pluck the blade. I have no musical aptitude but it sounds like a high "C".

I appreciate your input and look forward to future comments as my fledgling scroll saw skills develop!

David

David Pruett said...

Handi -

Well I appreciate the guiding eye of a skilled scroller!

Interesting you should mention box tape. I am wondering if you are referring to plastic packaging tape? That is what I used on my second packet and I noticed an immediate difference compared with masking tape used on my first packet. The plastic packaging tape slid effortlessly on the saw table.

The pin nailer technique comes from a reference DVD on marquetry. It seems to work very well so far. I am using 23 gauge 1/2 headless pin nails that are firmly set with a small ball peen hammer and an anvil. The seat tightly into the cardboard backing and are easy to remove with a pair of jeweler nippers.

I appreciate your insight and look forward to additional tips!

David

David Pruett said...

Handi -

Forgot to mention that I have spray adhesive in the shop and have used it successfully for a wide variety of applications. The pattern for the two marquetry packets was printed on self adhesive label stock which stuck securely to the cardboard packet.

Again, I greatly appreciate your insight and tips!

David

Jimmy "Handi" Warner said...

David,

I use All Flying Dutchmen Blades. My Scroll Saw is a universial Saw, which means I can use Standard Blades or Pinhead Blades.

From personal Experience so far... I would recommend the FD#1 or an Olson #1, Althou I can't say I've tired Olson yet, But a #1 would probably give you a little more control and a little more Stability.

Here is the Reason. #2/0 Blades, they are so thin, which is good for some cuts, but the Tight corners or curves you are doing on the Apple Blossom or Cherry Blossom, a #2/0 will work, but probably not as good as a #1, because with it being thing, it will bend more easy no matter how tight you tention it. So when you move your piece left or right to make your curve, it will flex that direction with the wood til it grabs.

A #1, it won't flex with the wood when tentioned, it will cut right in and give you that control you need with Stability.

But then again, this is all my Opinion and my experiences... If you seen my Polar Bear Series yet, I tried a #2/0 on a Section of my Series, and it wasn't what I was looking for in a blade for that particular Pattern anyway. A #2/0 is in my opinion of course as well, used more for Straight cuts with less curves and rounder edges.

Another quick tip before I bid you good luck with your next Scrolling project...

Is to take you some fine grit Sandpaper about 400 Maybe, but first Drill a Holl in a Piece of wood, probably bout 1" Tick, 2" Wide and about 3 to 4" Long. Drill it down the center. Then Rip in the middle, so you got a 1/2 moon..

Then take your Sandpaper and glue a pice around the inside curve... This will give you a Bevel, The purpose of this, when you get more into Scolling, is to Round off the Back edge of your Scroll Saw Blade... By rounding the Edges on the Back side ever so slightly, This will encure a nice Curve as you make rounded corners on some projects, the Bured edge on the back make it slightly difficult, but rounded edges you will notice more of an easy gliding surface..

Handi

David Pruett said...

Handi -

Thanks for the tips! I like the tip about rounding the back of the blade. I do that on my bandsaw so it makes sense that it would work on a scroll saw.

For marquetry work I think the 2/0 blades are a must since the pieces need to be fit into the background as tight as possible with minimal saw kerf.

David

Jimmy "Handi" Warner said...

David,

Which brings me to another tip lol...

The kerf can be avoided by applying a Slight Camber or as you will inbetween 1.5 to 3 Degrees, trying on Scrap of course first...

Cutting this way as you Stack cut, will enable you to press your pieces in, without falling out, but a Tight Fit.

I will do a Small Video here soon on the Subject so you can get what I mean. Basically you are cutting in a Since \ / which gives you a V bevel around the pieces, as well as in the Base, this kinda of gives you the effect of cutting the Stem from a Pumpkin and putting it back on.

This is how Scrollers to inlays. And you get a Perfect Fit each time, you just fit your pieces in and then glue them in with Minimal if not any Kerfs at all!

Give it a Shot the next time you try a Basic inlay or Marquetry!

Oh by the way, You done an extraordinary Job on that, I was amazed at the outcome of that.. did you cut your own? or did you buy the Veneer?

Handi

David Pruett said...

Handi -

Thanks for the comments.

I will be doing more marquetry in the future since I found this first attempt so enjoyable. There are a number of techniques I want to try including double bevel cutting.

I purchased the veneers in a large assortment pack so I would have a variety of colors and grain patterns.

David