Marquetry Images #1: First Cuts

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Blog entry by Mike Lingenfelter posted 05-16-2014 04:57 PM 2215 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I finished my Chevalet build a while ago and now I have been getting to know the tool. After I finished tuning the Chevalet, I needed to find the first image I would cut. I tried to find something interesting but “simple” to start with. Seeing that this a French tool I chose a Fleur-de-lis.

Over all I didn’t do too bad, not having any real instruction on using the tool. I did have an issue doing sharp/tight turns, so some of my turns/corners are a bit “rounded”.

Back in April I was lucky enough to be able to take a Veneering and Marquetry class here in Seattle. John Kettman taught the class. John is a local craftsman that uses the Chevalet in some of his work. John also studied with Patrick Edwards at The American School of French Marquetry. It was only a 2-day weekend class but I learned quite a bit in those 2 days. Besides learning to work with hide glue and hammer veneering, we used the Chevalet to cut some images. John had several tips for using the Chevalet and I was able get those nice tight turns I was having an issue with.

We started out with a pretty simple image of a Clover. This was just a warm-up for what he had planned for us! For the most part I was happy with my cutting, but there were a few wayward lines.

Then it felt like we jumped into the fire, with the next image he had us work on.

Sometimes it’s best to just jump into something, you tend to learn more quickly that way! People who have taken a class from Patrick might recognized this image. I believe this is an image Patrick uses at his school. For a beginner, this image is challenging, but a great learning tool. I won’t point out the areas where things went really wrong, but overall I think the image isn’t too bad. Cutting it requires multiple “piercing”, which requires multiple blade reloads. You really get to know the Chevalet that way.

Besides learning a lot about cutting on the Chevealet, the other side was learning how to assemble the image on the assembly board. I don’t have pictures of that, but I will plan a series on that for a later project.

This should be a 6-panel image, but John kept copies of everyone’s to display at the school, to show what can be done with the Chevalet. In the next image you see the full 6 panels, when I cut the image again at home for a little more practice.

I feel I did even better the second time around. I have cut this image one other time, but I haven’t mounted it yet. This third time I feel I get even better still. It’s now time to move on to something else, I’m getting a little tired of looking at this image!

7 comments so far

View Patricelejeune's profile


386 posts in 3166 days

#1 posted 05-16-2014 05:23 PM

Patrick took this particular pattern out of a coffer at the Getty, it is a simple element blow of. You may find some inspiration in the Boulle furniture and isolate elements you would like to do

-- Patrice lejeune

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 5360 days

#2 posted 05-16-2014 05:30 PM

Thanks Patrice, I have been looking at other Boulle pieces to find images to play with. I’m also finding Google Images is really good place to find inspiration.

View shipwright's profile


8751 posts in 4044 days

#3 posted 05-16-2014 10:52 PM

Congrats Mike. You’re off to a great start.

Before long the chevy will feel like part of your body and the lines will suddenly seem much easier to follow.

If you aren’t already, get familiar with Inkscape or a similar tracing program. It will allow you to transform any photo or drawing into a vector graphic that you can print in multiple copies while maintaining very thin lines for accurate cutting.

I look forward to seeing more of your pieces.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 5360 days

#4 posted 05-17-2014 12:35 AM

Thanks Paul, I have just started to play with Inkscape. The image we used for the class had some pretty “thick” lines and I really understand the advantage of thin lines now. When cutting, the dark blade gets lost in a thick dark line, and your cut can wander around. I’m trying find some images to use and see if I can get a thin or even a dotted line, to see if that helps.


View shipwright's profile


8751 posts in 4044 days

#5 posted 05-17-2014 02:34 AM

I also print mine is red ink to differentiate it from the shadow of the blade. I use a .01” line thickness, the same as a 2/0 blade.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 5360 days

#6 posted 05-17-2014 03:46 AM

I was thinking about trying a different color. I’ll give it a try.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4580 days

#7 posted 05-17-2014 08:07 AM

Nice work and and an excellent start Mike. I’m very pleased with you blog as I will soon be going through the same process as you, getting familiar with my Chevy, learning to assemble marquetry, etc. I hope you will continue posting your progress as it will be fun and informative to see your your skills develop and also to get an idea of what’s in store for myself.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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