It’s All About Donating! #3: Rustic Intarsia

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Blog entry by justoneofme posted 06-12-2019 05:39 AM 838 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Rustic Intarsia Part 3 of It’s All About Donating! series Part 4: Rustic Intarsia »

How many times, pulling pieces apart and fitting them back in place again, does it take before an Intarsia art piece is ready to hang on the wall? A video of my work in progress viewed fast forward would confirm such repetition … a gazillion times … but who’s counting?! At least these chosen photos shouldn’t throw you into that world of boredom!!

But repetition is worth mentioning because someone out there in LumberJock Land might be contemplating this particular style of Intarsia. It meets all those woodworker needs and desires … anticipation; creativity; challenges; and that final glow of accomplishment! So, in giving whole-hearted encouragement, I’ll just pass along this subtle suggestion. Patience IS definitely a must!!

Apart again! The time has come to glue all background panel section edges together. (I know Paul ((aka Shipwright)) is about to go into fits of laughter, lauding the virtues of hide glue … lol!)

That’s okay! Everybody has their methods, and mine have been honed over many years with the use white glue, clamps and assorted goodies!! And it really is satisfying to see that glue line beading up, proving a good glue joint :)

This is a simple glue-up, but it’s absolutely necessary to align the cut edges of the design perfectly. A fraction off kilter means the different between interior pieces fitting snuggly into place … or not fitting at all!

Time, patience … and ingenuity are involved!! Everything factors into my glue-up. Notice (photo below) 2 stems have been strategically placed to prevent cracking the background sections while under pressure.

Just a note of interest: the old tobacco tin is a keepsake from my dearly departed woodwork’n buddy Des … it’s filled with old tuning pins from my “Apprentice” piano which still sits patiently awaiting a time when I will slip back into piano technology! If interested in that life-altering saga, tap into “My ‘Apprentice’ Piano” blog.

Together again! With all the background (top and bottom) panels now joined, the entire design was snugged together for measuring up and cutting the thin backboard base upon which the whole design will be glued. It’s size is approximately an inch smaller all round. There won’t be framework involved, intending to keep the rustic vision alive … so I don’t want the backboard edges to be noticeable.

Everything was dismantled … again! Once the thin backboard was cut and sanded, the bottom background section was securely clamped, and a very sharp pencil scribed its outline to follow during glue-up. This was the easiest section to glue in place, as nothing needed to be aligned, other than positioning on the backboard.

Once dried, the design was put back together … again!! ... and flipped around.

But this is where nerves of steel come into play! Gluing up the top section of background has to be exact. There’s no “wiggle room” for error, otherwise there’s a whole world of frustration ahead when all those interior pieces don’t fit properly into place!!

So … with everything dry-clamped together, and the top background section clamped firmly down … the interior pieces are carefully removed. (Again!!) But this time its absolutely necessary for all the pieces to be removed while the top background section is dry-clamped in place. Some pieces can’t be taken out without other pieces removed first because they are a snug fit now … and that’s important! Snug … but not binding!! Long fingernails are really an asset :)

With the interior pieces set aside, the same procedure follows. A carefully scribed pencil line is even more carefully aligned when this glue-up takes place. I have to just be able to see my thin pencil line all the way along while clamping … not outside or inside the line. Time … patience … and heart pounding exactness!!

While that glued up background section is drying, the flowers and leaves are put in place. Yes … again! But all the stems need to be elevated first, otherwise an un-elevated stem inserted now would be almost impossible to remove without turning the whole design upside down. Not going there!!

The benefit of mantling and dismantling all those many pieces a gazillion times, is that 3D perspective becomes clearer along the way. It didn’t take long for me to realize that every stem would have to be elevated at the same height, and their intricate intertwining worked from above. You can see where I’ve glued tiny elevation pieces and set the stems aside to dry.

Phew! All the pieces fit beautifully!! Now it’s time to glue the interior background sections in place. Although time consuming, this is very easily done. Only small amounts of glue are necessary to secure the pieces in place, with very little pressure (if any) applied while drying.

The time consuming part (of course!) is removing and replacing the surrounding segments involved for each section of interior background. Popping the surrounding segments back in place ensures proper alignment of the background piece. Then checking for glue seepage means the segments have too be carefully removed again. Neglecting this important step, would end up with an unshaped raw cedar stem permanently stuck down for sure!! So … any visual glue is removed before setting the segments back in place, allowing the whole to dry that way.

Voilá!! All the bits and pieces of the cut design (once again removed!) will stay safely tucked away for then next while. With the background fully exposed, it’s time to play around enhancing its ‘rustic’ look!!

This ‘rustic’ part will become the next blog. Meanwhile … I can finally trim my fingernails!! Sanding and shaping all those flowers, leaves and stems will eventually happen. But by that time my nails will have grown back … ready to tackle repeated mantling and dismantling!

Until next time, remember to get out of the workshop and smell those lovely roses!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

14 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


9048 posts in 3928 days

#1 posted 06-12-2019 05:42 AM

Patience????? what the hell is that?!!!! LOL! nice followup! ADHD and patience are not something that goes together easily!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Ivan's profile


16795 posts in 3953 days

#2 posted 06-12-2019 05:43 AM

I realy enjoy in working process you present here…

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View shipwright's profile


8717 posts in 3884 days

#3 posted 06-12-2019 06:16 AM

It’s coming along well Elaine. I must stop by and have a look one day.
.... maybe bring you some glue ….


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

View sras's profile


6130 posts in 4215 days

#4 posted 06-12-2019 12:30 PM

This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View justoneofme's profile


858 posts in 3566 days

#5 posted 06-12-2019 03:25 PM

Sometimes patience is overrated Tom … relax! Lol!! Should I even ask how your wood sculpting is progressing?!

Ivan … you achieve more in the run of a day than I manage in a week! This Intarsia is a slow process, but I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

If you can fit me in between summer boating and your Marquetry classes, I’d love a visit Paul! :)

Glad you’re enjoying this Steve!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8427 posts in 1798 days

#6 posted 06-12-2019 03:31 PM

#3 did not disappoint me this is one GR8 journey following you GREAT JOB :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View justoneofme's profile


858 posts in 3566 days

#7 posted 06-12-2019 03:33 PM

You’re pretty GR8 yourself Tony! Thanks for the compliment!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 3159 days

#8 posted 06-12-2019 08:33 PM

Lots of patience required Elaine of which you have a mountain! Great blog again and a beautiful art piece. So disappointed i won’t get to see it in person but I’m so happy I can follow the process on your blog.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View DocSavage45's profile


9048 posts in 3928 days

#9 posted 06-13-2019 03:11 AM


I’m on the wood path. Making money 2 days a week and trying to make something along with sawdust as Murphy allows a few days a week.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3647 posts in 4798 days

#10 posted 06-13-2019 04:21 AM


Your piece is coming along nicely. How soon does it have to be ready?


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Dutchy's profile


4103 posts in 3254 days

#11 posted 06-13-2019 04:48 PM

Thanks for sharing. I enjoy following this.


View justoneofme's profile


858 posts in 3566 days

#12 posted 06-17-2019 04:10 AM

I’m disappointed too Anna that our dates didn’t work out to meet up while you’re touring the island … next time for sure!!

Semi-retirement is a great place to be Tom! Just work long enough to pay for all those much needed fun tools!! Can’t wait to see what you’re up to :)

I am quite thankful there’s no time-frame involved L/W. They haven’t yet ‘broken ground’ for the new Hospice House facility. I figure I have LOTS of time to finish my project, but don’t intend it to drag out as I have developed a very bad habit of leaving a few projects mid-stream that really need attention!!

Glad you’re enjoying the process Dutchy!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4420 days

#13 posted 07-25-2019 06:56 PM

Wonderful work Elaine. While this is unquestionably art I don’t see the actual work as an act of patience, but rather as some very skilled work with the attention to detail that you know is necessary to get the excellent results you no doubt expect. A lot to learn here!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View justoneofme's profile


858 posts in 3566 days

#14 posted 07-26-2019 01:35 AM

Thank you Mike !!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

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