Indian Intarsia

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Blog entry by Allison posted 06-01-2008 01:00 PM 13505 reads 3 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I thought I would try my hand at writing a blog here. This is a totally different way for me as far as patterns go. I am used to a pattern that is on a sheet of paper the size the object will be when done. and then you make copies and cut out the pieces of the paper pattern and place them on your wood. This pattern came like this.
One sheet of paper NOT actual size.Then the pattern itself IS in pieces you need at the size they are suppose to be. When I first started this, a couple days ago, I did not think I was going to like it. #1 For sure that I DO NOT like is the fact there is no “actual” size pattern to lay your finished cut pieces on. And I can see how a person could REALLY screw up a project this way. If each piece was off by just 1/16 ,It could very well end up way out of whack by finishing time.1 thing I really DO like is I did not have to make a bunch of copies. One to lay peices against and then others to cut up and use for your template.
Photobucket I tried resizing it to make one pattern the actual size to lay pieces against, but it did not work. Every pattern I have ever had says to spray, spray adhesive on your paper pattern piece then adhere it to your wood. Then you cover that with clear packing tape. First it is THE utmost important thing to do IS cover your wood with clear packing tape.(I also do the same when I use my band saw on hardwoods) It keeps your wood from burning,by keeping the blade cooler, thus extending your blade life. I would say that is the second most important thing to do when scrolling, using the packing tape on your wood.
Photobucket # 1 most important thing when placing templates on your wood for scrolling. Don’t listen to the pattern books! Matter of fact do exactly the opposite!. An old elderly artist in Laguna Beach Ca. taught me the following, Place clear packing tape directly to your wood you are going to cut. Then you spray your spray adhesive to your paper template and THEN you place it on the wood. Here’s why.
When your pattern is adhered to your wood, when you are done scrolling you now have a glued piece of paper to remove. If you are doing fine fretwork it is VERY easy to break your piece trying to get that adhesive off. Sure you can use mineral spirits, but there just is no reason too, if you do it the way I just stated. When you are done cutting, if it was a big piece just peel off the tape . With the tape comes your pattern. Or if you are cutting a fine piece of fretwork, sure you do not want to yank the tape off, as you can easily bring with it one of your finer cuts. Sooo (This is the fun part, for me anyway) Buy yourself a cheap heat gun. I got mine at Harbor Freight $9.99. I spent an additional $9.99 to get an extra 12 different shaped heads. Turn that puppy on and wave it back and forth (and not to close, you don’t want to burn your project)and watch your pattern just roll up because of the packing tape melting, and wait a sec to cool and take the little ball of melted tape off and you are DONE. Very rarely do I have to use mineral spirits to take off any leftover residue!

Photobucket These next 2 pictures are a perfect example of what I am talking about. On the bottom right , there are a couple of feathers there that look all gummy. That is because on those pieces I had absent mindedly placed my paper pattern on the wood with the spray adhesive, and forgot to put the tape on first. It is this right here that made me decide to even write this blog. That advice I got from that gentleman is the single best advice I have ever gotten when it comes to scrolling. I always want to just tell anyone who will listen LOL!!!

Photobucket Well that is part one of this blog. As you can see i now have a ton of feathers to sand and shape. His head is done and glued, except for eyes and lips. I also am trying to figure out some other way of presenting him thanbn how this pattern is. I may cover his shoulders in some leather I have instead of wood.I amalso thinking of using a mirror some how.His face is Red Maple (I think) black walnut , cedar, and outer feathers “Mystery Wood” I want to add something i thought was a little funny. The pattern calls for his outer feathers to be white. But get this, It calls for his face to be white also! Is this not an Indian LOL!!!

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

21 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4328 days

#1 posted 06-01-2008 01:27 PM

Thanks for the post, Allison. This is going to be both an interesting and informative series. You have taken a lot of the mystery out of the intarsia process with this blog.

This is a nice looking project too, by the way.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4675 days

#2 posted 06-01-2008 01:53 PM

Thanks Allison. The packing tape idea is great. It’ll save me a lot of frustration. Never thought of it.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4274 days

#3 posted 06-01-2008 02:30 PM

thanks for the post. this is going to be a beautiful finished product and i can’t wait to see all the woods come alive when you put the finish on.

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 4383 days

#4 posted 06-01-2008 02:34 PM

I am listening loud and clear, thanks for the advise, you have saved me a lot of time. I do want to try the intarsia process, anymore blogs would be appreciated.

Thanks Ron

-- Ron Central, CA

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1251 posts in 4505 days

#5 posted 06-01-2008 02:54 PM

Wow, another good example of Patience makes projects! Well done, Thanks

-- Bob A in NJ

View odie's profile


1691 posts in 4346 days

#6 posted 06-01-2008 03:56 PM

Genius, genius, simply genius. What a gal…......

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View stanley2's profile


354 posts in 4301 days

#7 posted 06-01-2008 04:02 PM

Good post Allison – the packing tape idea will be going in our next scroll saw workshop

-- Phil in British Columbia

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4391 days

#8 posted 06-01-2008 04:32 PM

Nice intarsia and THANKS for the tape tip!!!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View John Fry's profile

John Fry

74 posts in 4206 days

#9 posted 06-01-2008 05:32 PM

Nice work, Allison!

And a well done blog too!

-- John, Chisel and Bit Custom Crafted Furniture,

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4494 days

#10 posted 06-01-2008 06:42 PM

Very nice. I’ll have to give that a try one of these days.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Allison's profile


819 posts in 4305 days

#11 posted 06-01-2008 06:47 PM

Thanks everybody, I appreciate it. A little funny now to read, I notice at the end the spelling is getting a little “miss-spelled” LOL! It was 4 a.m. after all.
And to RAH, I keep forgetting that when you use bold type it is suppose to mean yelling. I apologize, I don’t know however if I am ever really learn that! Ha! Ha! Sooo Odie Would you quit yelling?!!!!!
Happy June 1st

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View odie's profile


1691 posts in 4346 days

#12 posted 06-02-2008 02:25 AM


-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4402 days

#13 posted 06-02-2008 04:35 AM

Allison—- I think it looks good. Your blogging is good for all of us. I did a couple of introductory to scroll saw classes and taught them the trick with the packing tape. Those who did was I told them to do ended up with a better project than those who rolled their eyes at me.

If I get in the spot of needing a bit of heat – I just grab my hair dryer and make that thing do double duty!

Looking forward to more blogs on this subject

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4667 days

#14 posted 06-03-2008 05:05 PM

this is excellent. Thank you!!!

I’ve been using painters’ tape to cover the wood and it works great but I like the heat gun trick.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View jimt2099's profile


10 posts in 4223 days

#15 posted 06-06-2008 05:13 PM

Great job Allison! Just to add another angle on the pattern removal. I use spray adheasive all of the time. I apply the adheasive to the pattern, let it dry about 30 seconds then apply it to the wood. The delay in application is key to easy removal. When I want to remove it I saturate it with mineral spirits and it lifts right off with no resistance just as if it had never been glued on. The mineral spirits evaporate immediately and does not lift the grain.
Also, I have read in scrollsaw mags and blogs of using packing tape to avoid burning the wood as well as enhancing pattern removal. So, I guess both methods work well when performed properly and it just boils down to which you feel the most comfortable with.
Again ….GREAT WORK. Scrollsawing is a really fun way to express your artistic talent. Enjoy!

-- Jim T, Jefferson, Ohio,

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