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