It’s All About Donating! #4: Rustic Intarsia

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Blog entry by justoneofme posted 07-01-2019 03:19 PM 981 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Rustic Intarsia Part 4 of It’s All About Donating! series Part 5: Rustic Intarsia »

Life keeps interrupting me! But at least (within this write up ) I can show how far along things got before having to put my Intarsia project on hold.

So now that the entire design is secured to its backboard, the time has come to enhance all those edges with ‘rustic’. You’ll notice at the bottom left (photo) how dark that particular edge is. I’m aiming for the same along the top and bottom. Both side edges already look great with scabby paint and old wood blending together. Normally I’m too neat and tidy to abide rustic. But right from the start, that old painted cedar plank captured me … hook, line and sinker!

My stationary belt sander made short work of cleaning up all the edges. Rusticating them was much more time consuming!

I used the Dremel to carve extra ‘fence panels’ into the background. Then set about roughening up all those sanded edges.

Finally … out came Saman and my sample piece of panel to experiment upon. Mixing stains is fun … and I’ve had lots of experience in that field!

Years back, with furniture refinishing, I used NGR (non grain raising) stains that required lacquer thinner for diluting and clean up … which was perfectly fine, having all the necessary supplies and equipment for tinting and spraying on finishes. I still have my workshop spray room, with explosion proof fan, spray gun, mask and a metal cabinet full of product … which all come in handy for the occasional refinishing job now, or in this case, my Intarsia project.

But using this water-based NGR product is definitely less toxic!, certainly cheaper, and is just as much fun to use!! Bonus … it also accepts a lacquer finish.

By the time I took this photo, the Saman stain was already dulled in the drying process. But just wait until the lacquer spray hits that edge!!

Before I get into the spray room, I need to finish preparing the ‘invisible frame’.

I ripped this rough fir in half, then cut to the required size. Screw holes were drilled before gluing and brad-nailing the frame all together.

My prepared stain was applied to that frame … and when dried, it was screwed in place on the back side of the Intarsia. Stain was also applied around the exterior of the frame. I didn’t feel it necessary to stain the inside area as that definitely won’t be seen when hanging on a wall.

Prepping the background design (at this point) before spraying with sanding sealer over the entire surfaces, is just a simple matter of filling in the empty spaces with paper towels. The main objective here is to protect the areas where clean raw wood is desired, especially at the bottom of these empty spaces. It’s much easier to glue the finished leaves, flowers and stems in place without the hindrance of lacquer.

Sanding sealer is lacquer with zinc stearate added. Basically it’s used as a first coat on raw wood. When dry, the raised grain created can be lightly sanded smooth without destroying the stained surface. In effect, sanding sealer acts as a surface primer for the following layers of surface-building gloss lacquer.

Also sanding sealer usually doesn’t react to painted surfaces … happily so in this case! When completed the entire background will have a flat lacquered surface. I don’t want it looking shiny and new! The flowers, leaves and stems once sanded, shaped and adorned with paint, will have a semigloss touch.

But that’s still many weeks away!

For now the Intarsia background will stay safely tucked into my spray room out of harms way. In the midst of painting (another sort!) our living and dining rooms are in total discombobulation while the walls get a fresh outlook on life … and my workspace has been taken over by an array of moldings, and paint trays!!

A month may go by before I can show the fun side of shaping all those tiny bits and pieces into a realistic vision! Ah well, interruptions do make life interesting!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

10 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8728 posts in 3916 days

#1 posted 07-01-2019 03:52 PM

Coming along well Elaine. I’m still planning a visit but life …... well you know …. :-)

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

View justoneofme's profile


859 posts in 3598 days

#2 posted 07-01-2019 07:11 PM

Lol! Tell me about it Paul!! Just give a shout … you’re welcome any time. Happy Canada Day to you and Elinor!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View DocSavage45's profile


9049 posts in 3960 days

#3 posted 07-02-2019 01:09 AM


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 3191 days

#4 posted 07-02-2019 02:44 AM

Ah life interruptions – I can relate! Your project is coming along beautifully. I like the Saman stains – easy to apply and easy to mix colours. Looking forward to seeing the next stage of the process.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3655 posts in 4830 days

#5 posted 07-02-2019 04:45 AM


Great to see your progress! And your blog is very educational as well. I love that you share all your expertise.

I hate finishing but became interested in woodworking by refinishing furniture because I’m frugal (pronounced cheap) and also like old stuff. My first attempt was the crackling black lacquer finish on our 1927 grand piano when I was just a kid. I stripped it, Dad sanded it, and many years later (when I received it) a piano rebuilder refinished the beautiful mahogany. Seeing the nice wood furniture that people “antiqued” over got me started on my love of discovering the beauty under it all. (Now the younger generation is “ruining” good furniture just like we did! History repeats itself and we never learn! LOL)

Right now I’m in the process of restoring (for lack of a better word) my grandparents’ Morris chair from about 1900. I thought it would be a simple reupholstery job and a missing spindle replacement, unaware of how badly it had been patched to keep it together. I finally decided that preserving the original finish was out of the question with all the sections that had to be replaced, along with the condition of the original finish.

I’m so slow that it could be weeks before I get to do “real” woodworking again!


-- “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 justoneofme's profile


859 posts in 3598 days

#6 posted 07-02-2019 02:38 PM

... and one step back Tom! Shall we dance?! LOL!!

To add another interruption (or two) into your hectic life … I thought you had a couple of projects to share with us Anna? ... !!

That was quite adventurous of you as a kid L/W! ... and on a piano to boot!! Old chair repairs can be a nightmare. I’ve come across a few, and it always amazed me how ‘creative’ the fixes were handled just to keep them useable! I love antique furniture, having kept a few pieces myself. But this generation is into a more modern look, to the point that antiques are practically given away as very few want them. So in a way, it’s understandable that old neglected pieces have been ‘brightened up’ to fit in with the modern decor. At least they’re being used! But just as you stated … history repeats itself! Many years from now those modernized pieces will probably be stripped down to reveal their original beauty, and be welcomed by the generation yet to be! Ah, the circle of life!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8532 posts in 1830 days

#7 posted 07-02-2019 03:08 PM

still following along its getting exciting now :<)))))))))))

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

View justoneofme's profile


859 posts in 3598 days

#8 posted 07-03-2019 01:51 AM

Glad you’re getting excited Tony! The only reason (apart from brightening up our living space) I can keep on patiently painting, is knowing I’ll get back to my Intarsia project. For me … that’s exciting!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4452 days

#9 posted 07-25-2019 07:05 PM

Interesting finishing tips. Finishing is my Achilles heel (among other woodworking mishaps).

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View justoneofme's profile


859 posts in 3598 days

#10 posted 07-26-2019 01:41 AM

And that’s just the beginning of the finishing process Mike … there’s much more, in a variety of ways, ahead! Nice to see you keeping track :)

-- Elaine in Duncan

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