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Greene & Greene Thorsen Sideboard #2: Bolection inlay class

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Blog entry by TungOil posted 08-22-2019 02:07 AM 792 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Design work and upskilling Part 2 of Greene & Greene Thorsen Sideboard series Part 3: Sideboard Design »

The bolection inlay class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking was well worth the 10 hour drive. Reid Eric Anderson taught the class over a weekend. The class project was a small portion of the inlay from the Thorsen House sideboard.

Reid uses a combination of CNC and laser cutting to create the recesses and pieces for the inlay. He developed a clever method that uses a secondary working panel (shown on the left below) with slightly oversized recesses to allow carving of the inlay pieces. The oversized recess allows the pieces to be inserted and removed easily but still grips the small parts well enough to allow carving. Any slips with the carving tools happen on the working panel, not the final piece. After the pieces are carved, they are then transferred to the final panel (right).

The inlay pieces consisted of white oak and mother of pearl. With the exception of the mother of pearl which was cut by CNC, all of the pieces were laser cut.

Bolection inlay is essentially a low relief carving. The idea is to create shadow lines using relief to approximate the item you are carving. The general idea is to work your way around the image, inserting and carving pieces in an order that allows you to carve them appropriately. In the image below I have the first six pieces partially carved.

The carving is done with a variety of different tools, whichever is the most appropriate for the situation. The tools consisted of traditional carving knives, gouges and veiners, small needle files as well as a small rotary tool (similar to a Dremel) with a variety of different shape diamond bits. Dental picks were useful to help lift the tiny parts out of the recesses.

Once the wood carving work is finished, we switched our attention to the mother of pearl flower parts. The mother of pearl is very fragile and must be handled carefully. After easing the sharp edges with some sandpaper, the pieces are ready to assemble into the final panel.

The finished panel is sanded and stained before the inlay is inserted, but no finish is applied until after assembly.

This small section of the inlay image took about 18-20 hours to complete. I expect each door of the finished sideboard will be about 100 hours for the inlay work alone.

Next steps: finish the design work in CAD and begin rough cutting parts.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"



7 comments so far

View WhattheChuck's profile

WhattheChuck

367 posts in 4041 days


#1 posted 08-22-2019 02:57 AM

Looks great. All it takes to realize why G&G was so expensive is to build one yourself. Much more time-consuming than Queen Anne or other period furniture types!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View MrWolfe's profile

MrWolfe

300 posts in 604 days


#2 posted 08-22-2019 03:06 AM

Gorgeous.
Keep us updated on the work in progress.
Jon

View Steve's profile

Steve

40 posts in 3454 days


#3 posted 08-22-2019 03:39 AM

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3033 posts in 2829 days


#4 posted 08-22-2019 10:50 AM

You certainly don’t shy away from the difficult stuff. Having inlay in the sideboard doors is one of the signature features. How much time does the CAD work take to make the plans?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View pottz's profile

pottz

5978 posts in 1465 days


#5 posted 08-22-2019 10:02 PM

hey im already for the next great tungoil adventure and this one looks to be a great ride.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1319 posts in 976 days


#6 posted 08-23-2019 01:55 AM



You certainly don t shy away from the difficult stuff. Having inlay in the sideboard doors is one of the signature features. How much time does the CAD work take to make the plans?

- EarlS


Earl

I’m nearly done with the CAD work, at least enough to get started with the build. I probably have 20-30 hours into the design work so far.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1319 posts in 976 days


#7 posted 08-23-2019 02:03 AM



hey im already for the next great tungoil adventure and this one looks to be a great ride.

- pottz


This one actually seems pretty straightforward (except the inlay).

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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