I have just started an Intarsia project...

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Blog entry by SteveW posted 02-17-2013 12:26 AM 2902 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been looking at a lot of other folks Intarsia projects here on Lumberjocks,
and finally decided to bite the bullet, and try one of these myself.

I am using a Judy Gale Roberts pattern, I-96, which is
a mother horse and her colt, grazing in a field.
I like the pattern, and hope I can give it the really nice finished look, like others have.
I am at the sanding stage right now, taking each piece, and trying to round all the edges.
What a sanding task! I have got to figure out a faster, better way to sand than using my
Ryobi spindle sander….maybe a flap sander is in the works…

I’ll post better pictures of the finished piece once I’m done…

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

6 comments so far

View kajunkraft's profile


191 posts in 3092 days

#1 posted 02-17-2013 12:58 AM

My wife does intarsia. It is way too tedious for me! She uses a mop sander and is very happy with the results. I just started using the mop sander on a few other things and find that it works great. Not too expensive, I think less than $40?

View Ken90712's profile


17909 posts in 4070 days

#2 posted 02-17-2013 01:23 AM

Very cool, I have wanted to do this style of wood working for a while. Good for you! I have the pattern form Kory who did a class on here a plan to do after this current project for Blondie is complete. So far, so good…, From what I can see. Look fwd to seeing more of this.

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

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2848 posts in 3803 days

#3 posted 02-17-2013 02:22 AM

Nice looking job Steve…I have done some intarsia and I use a round over bit in my table mounted router for rounding over the larger pieces and an air filled drum sander mounted in my drill press for smaller pieces. For very small pieces I use my mastercarver rotary tool. I find that a mop sander or a flap sander do not shape the wood well. Not aggressive enough for me. They do a great job of smoothing out any scratches though. With a pattern like the one you have done here, I like to stack cut the pieces with different woods and make two at a time. Alternating the colors. The cuts of coarse match perfectly so sanding to fit is minimized.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View busby's profile


6 posts in 2807 days

#4 posted 02-17-2013 04:49 AM

Very good Intarsia work with the horses my father is into Intarsia for the last 4 years Iam just putting up his profile on here as he doesn’t know how to use a computer Iam trying to work out how to put photos up of his intarsia to show

-- busby

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4216 days

#5 posted 02-17-2013 02:41 PM

This looks great Steve. The color combo is just right. You will have a really nice artwork when hang this one on your wall. I have only done one intarsia work, pretty crude, but surprisingly I did enjoy the sanding work. I just used a small drum sander on my Dremel tool. I wouldn’t particularly recommend others to do the same, but I tried a large drum sander and didn’t get the same satisfaction. I guess the enjoyment comes from a feeling of control and maybe some sanding methods take more time to learn than others.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jfk4032's profile


381 posts in 3408 days

#6 posted 02-18-2013 02:04 PM

Steve: Congrats jumping into intarsia, it’s definitely a leap of faith. This work looks really good, especially being your first piece. It looks like you have what it takes to do this art form, lots of patience!

Like Ken, I too went through KoryK’s class project and learned a lot with doing that. I’m now almost finished with two/four of JGR patterns, two different flying Canadian geese in full size and smaller versions. I wanted to make it look like a flying formation of geese when hung on the wall. I’ll post those in the next week when all four are finished.

For shaping/sanding I developed a routine with the following steps. I use a pneumatic drum sander (with two spindles one 9” and the other 3” diameters) for hogging off large amounts of wood and then the Guinevere with smaller pneumatic drums for more delicate shaping. I then use a Wecheer rotary tool (dremel like machine) with various sanding drums, flap wheels and carving bits for detail shaping/carving. For some details, I’ll use various files and rasps. Once edge glued together I’ll fill in all of the gaps with glue on the underneath flat surface to prevent glue from seeping up any minute spaces when later gluing to the backer. Then I flatten the underneath side with a SandFlee drum sander. I then sand by hand starting with 120 grit working my way up to finer grits switching to a sanding mop when I get to the 220 grit, and then continue by hand up to 600 grit. I use a wipe on gel satin finish with 3 coats and have been very happy with the finish.

Can’t wait to see more of your future intarsia pieces.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

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