Intarsia Wedding Gift

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Blog entry by justoneofme posted 05-05-2012 10:45 PM 10956 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi Again Out There In Lumberjock Land! These days are getting crazy with plans to pack up for cabin life, and trying to get my workshop project completed, so I can clean this place up! There are tools mixed in with sundry cabin stuff, and not one clean surface to look at! Like I should complain, eh?!!

Let’s see … where did I leave off? Well … painting ‘play time’ on the Intarsia Wedding Gift has almost come to an end. The large sections of background were previously glued in place, and lacquered for protection against any mishaps from paint. Now that very same lacquered surface will be protected against excess glue while all the many painted parts are fit into place permanently.

This handy little item was found at a local craft shop, and works really well when applying glue into those tight spaces ... without making a mess everywhere else! It originally had a plastic needle tip for extremely fine use applying liquid glues to model airplanes and cars, etc. I just nipped the end off, giving me a much larger hole for my thicker (Weldbond) glue. By squeezing the bulbous top flat, the glue is gradually sucked up into the tube. It’s amazing how much glue that little sucker holds! A bit of masking tape seals the end when not in use, and it’s cheap enough to toss away when finished.

Toothpicks come in handy for equalizing gaps. There are gaps, you exclaim?!!!

Think of the whole design being cut from one section of board, and then the individual pieces are cut again … such as the Dogwoods cut into petals, the leaves cut into halves, etc. Even using the finest of jewellery blades, those multiple kerf lines add up to space! Space is actually good! When it comes to gluing the smaller pieces into place, you may desire the gaps to be even, or a bit off centred, depending … and that’s where the toothpicks (or the thin blade of a pallet knife) come into play. Wedged between, they help to hold a piece in place while it glues up. Ya just don’t shove it down so far that it gets stuck with the glue! There’s experience talk’n!!

I definitely prefer a bit of wiggle room, rather than having to use a sledge hammer to insert a tight piece into place! Believe me it’s happened … well, not with a sledge hammer! … but it’s nerve-wracking when there’s a section of branch (for actual instance!) that I know is just too tight for a ‘dry fit’. I don’t even try a dry fit in that case, because it probably won’t come back out again!! So what?, you may wonder??

Because … if glue is not applied to hold it in place, there’s bound to be a time when the fickleness of wood might allow that piece to fall out. Would that actually happen??! I don’t know! But I don’t really want the recipient of a commissioned piece or gift finding out for me!!

And so that very snug piece rests patiently on top of the design, awaiting it’s final moment. Cushioned by a cork block, and the gentle tap of a tack hammer … a snug piece bottoms safely into the glue. Praying helps too!!

Actually I did lots of that while gluing the edge sections that rest over the mirrored area! Side by side gluing is the only way to make contact with those parts that will hang in space, because you can’t glue them to the mirror. I’ve never tackled an Intarsia mirror before. There was much fretting and dry fitting before I finally found the courage to just get on with it!

Yep! Just a bit too much glue!!

Phew! That’s done!! As you can see … all manner of clamping (even masking tape) can be used. There was only one tussle with an overly large clamp. Before I could protect the surface with a padded cloth, the clamp popped off it mooring and put a small ding into the cedar sky #@$%&$!! Oh well … if this Intarsia piece turned out absolutely perfect … I’d have to keep it for myself and declare it a miracle! I figure these little boo-boos are meant to keep me humble, because there’s seldom a piece of artwork without them!!

Here is the flip side of the design, showing the parts overhanging the mirrored area.

To reinforce the Intarsia in that area, I pressed a mixture of Durham’s Rock Hard putty and colorant into all the joints, levelled it off … then took a rest while that mass of goop dried!

There’s one more blog to go before this Intarsia journey comes to ‘The End’, and this special gift is ready for travel. I’ve been working on the main frame, snapping more photos as I go … thinking of all the junk cluttering my workbenches. The floors are a mess! Time for me to get off my duff and do a bit of tidying. But I’ll be back!! Until that happens, sweep the sawdust from your workshop floors … then enjoy making more!

-- Elaine in Duncan

5 comments so far

View ~Julie~'s profile


623 posts in 3954 days

#1 posted 05-06-2012 03:28 AM

Fabulous and great close photo shots!

-- ~Julie~

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3590 posts in 4632 days

#2 posted 05-06-2012 04:22 AM


This looks s-o-o-o-o wonderful! Rather than risking shipping it to me, I think I’ll make the long trip to pick it up! LOL


-- “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 GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3192 days

#3 posted 05-06-2012 02:40 PM


This is shaping up and coming together as if Mother Nature was there growing it as you instructed.

Just a fabulous Creation.

Thanks for sharing the journey. – 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

#4 posted 05-07-2012 02:07 AM

I’ve been out of touch with LJ for a couple days and just got back and I am amazed at how beautiful this thing is turning out to be. I am impressed with your work. The recipient is certainly going to be thrilled with this!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Skylark53's profile


2824 posts in 3980 days

#5 posted 05-07-2012 02:01 PM

Thanks Elaine for sharing this project so very completely with us. This is just a gorgeous piece of art! It sure gives folks like me something to aspire to. The techniques you use will work for even my elementary projects. Great job of photography and documenting. Thank you again!

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

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