Intarsia Wedding Gift

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Blog entry by justoneofme posted 04-22-2012 05:02 AM 2820 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello all my ‘Blog Followers’! I know it’s been a while now … but I have been busy. I really wish I could just get into the shop at 9 a.m. and stay there without any interruptions … but those kind of days are few and far between. Life may be down-right interesting around here … but I have felt stirrings of panic every now and then. What?!! How is it these days keep going forward?! Sometimes I swear I’m walking backwards!!

The painting has begun! These four pictures show the varied stages. I use acrylic paints for the bulk of my Intarsia projects. However I wanted the grain of the cedar to show through on the branches, so I used NGR (non-raising grain stain). All my paints and stains are compatible with lacquers, which I use as a spray on finish … having a fully equipped spray room with fan, etc.

The first coat of acrylic paint is thinly applied, covering the edges as well because they will show with elevation. This stage of painting is done rather quickly as it is just more or less to ‘set the stage’

All the leaves have their first coat … and the NGR stain applied to the branches.

Next … the first coat of acrylic on the dogwoods …

All those individual pieces had been placed upon the original waxed paper design to completely dry. Before setting them back into the cedar background, each painted leaf and pedal was lightly sanded using a flex-sponge. Fine grit to coarse wet/dry sandpaper adhered to both sides of thin sponge makes for easy sanding of contoured pieces. Fine grit was all that was needed to smooth off the surfaces.

  • Note to those who wish to try this style of Intarsia … It definitely pays to keep your paper design because it’s not hard to loose track of where these little parts go!!

Now comes the tricky part that makes me want to hold my breath! In the previous blog, I explained how everything had been squared up, so that the design fit snuggly inside the temporary framework. The time has come to glue the background pieces to the substrate. This is a tediously slow process, as each section is dismantled, the backing cleared of dust then marked for glue area.

As you can see, very little glue is necessary … too much, and a section could slip out of position while in the process of clamping. That wouldn’t do!! Not to mention, glue squeezing out into areas where it’s not wanted.
It’s important not to remove too much of the surrounding bits and pieces … just enough to give adequate clearance for gluing. Before the clamps are applied, some of those bits and pieces of branches and leaves are double checked to make sure they are not too tight to work back into place later, after the glue has set.

It seems like a chaotic mess!, but in actual fact is quite organized. The large section of background surrounding the birdhouse, is marked and ready to glue into place … with smaller sections ready to slip into place making sure they will fit properly …

Sometimes is necessary to slip saran wrap into sections where glue isn’t wanted. The background section has been removed, the area cleared … you can see a part of the pencil line that will guide me for gluing.

And then there are times where an inventive thought has to be worked out for applying pressure. There’s my tuning pin can again! It sure comes in handy when the throat of a clamp just isn’t deep enough!!

I use Weldbond wood glue. It goes on white, but dries clear … and extreme pressure is not needed to do a good glue-up for this project. In previous Intarsia projects, I’ve used this glue to lay a bed of sand and rocks!!

There have been some good days in my workshop lately, so it shouldn’t be much longer before I can blog again … stay tuned! Meanwhile, keep happy in your own workshops!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

9 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8621 posts in 3718 days

#1 posted 04-22-2012 05:14 AM

This all looks really good Elaine but the pictures just don’t do it justice.

I live near Elaine and had the opportunity to see this work in progress yesterday. It is going to be just gorgeous, in fact it already is.

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

View Chips's profile


199 posts in 4632 days

#2 posted 04-22-2012 01:19 PM

I see a masterpiece coming together. My hat’s off to your patience and skill.

-- Make every day the best day of your life. Chips, Mississippi

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5005 days

#3 posted 04-22-2012 02:58 PM

That’s going to be spectacular. Can’t wait to see the final photos! I admire your patience and skill.


View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3192 days

#4 posted 04-23-2012 02:49 AM

Your project was amazing in it’s natural state and now it takes on nature’s beauty as though it, like our Spring here, morphs from winter’s sleep to it’s full and glorious splendor.

Awaiting the completion of this one! – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3938 days

#5 posted 04-23-2012 03:08 AM

This is really good, one day I’m going to try this! It will have to hit me between the eyes for me to take notice and roll up my sleeves( I’m in short sleeves most of the time) and get started! I just made you my buddy so I won’t miss your postings.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3590 posts in 4632 days

#6 posted 04-23-2012 04:10 AM


You’re making good progress. We can’t even imagine the complications of getting all the pieces in the right places! What a unique family heirloom this will be!

How much time is left before the wedding? I’m working on a wedding gift for June and have spent most of my time making jigs for it and haven’t even finished the prototype yet. Yikes! Time really does pass quickly.


-- “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 Skylark53's profile


2824 posts in 3980 days

#7 posted 04-23-2012 06:56 PM

Thanks for taking such care with pictures and documenting each step so very well. I’m looking forward to trying some of the practices you show here. Great Work!!

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View sras's profile


5662 posts in 4049 days

#8 posted 04-24-2012 01:23 AM

I’m enjoying every step! Thanks for sharing.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View justoneofme's profile


841 posts in 3400 days

#9 posted 04-24-2012 04:51 AM

Hi Friends:

Many thanks for keeping in touch and following along with this latest project. Your comments are always filled with such heart-warming encouragement!

There’s really plenty of time before our daughter’s wedding … August 18th … however, hubby and I head out this door to cabin life before much longer, and I was really hoping to wrap this project up (in more ways than one!) and have it safely tucked away for the road trip to Calgary where the wedding will take place. Oh well, if necessary, I can complete their wedding gift in my workshop in Vernon, B.C.

As I fly home periodically throughout the summer months (keeping my 92 year old Dad company), that means I’ll still be able to keep everyone in the loop with each return home … should this project linger on. We exist with solar and generator power … but no Internet service, otherwise it just wouldn’t be cabin life, eh?!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

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