Intarsia Wedding Gift

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Blog entry by justoneofme posted 05-12-2012 06:56 AM 3489 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well … That was no fun! My laptop froze, and I was just about to post my blog. So … now I start again!!

Welcome Back to this, the final written entry regarding my Intarsia Wedding Gift. When I left off last time, the Intarsia design was completely finished … spray lacquered and all. And now the time has finally come to prepare the decorative frame.

I had a supply of alder and decided to use this because it was thicker than the highest elevation in the cedar design, therefore needing only to be eventually glued to the main frame structure. However I wanted the special rosettes to stand proud from their surrounding frame. Scrap cedar was glued to each rosette base, to achieve the desired elevation.

The frame itself is all glued together … but not to the main structure, as I wanted to remove it for painting.

With the upper frame glued together, the lower frame was prepared.

Both upper and lower frames were then painted with acrylic, and given a few coats of lacquer. After ample time for adequate drying, the upper frame was glued in place … directly onto the main frame structure. Next, the lower frame was glued to the underside of the upper frame and sides of the main frame structure.

Because the Intarsia design had already received its final satin lacquer spraying long before the decorative frame was glued in place, a protective covering of waxed paper helped to prevent over-spray while the frame received its final coat of satin lacquer.

This procedure may seem a nuisance to some. Why not put everything together and spray the lacquer finish all at once? Because of the elevation within the Intarsia design, the spray of lacquer has to hit every nook and cranny. If the frame is already in place while trying to achieve good coverage on the design, it’s very easy for the lacquer to end up pooling … heavy concentration is not a good thing to have happen! Past experience has taught me to work on the two separate entities.

Another question might follow: Why didn’t I complete the finish on the frame before gluing it in place? Because I’m working with fairly fresh lacquer, the cork bottomed blocks used for clamping tend to leave ‘smudge marks’ on the surface. They are easily sanded out … but then, if I have to sand the surface … I have to apply a finish top coat. There are a host of methods for removing those smudge marks without having to apply more lacquer … but I’ve found they are not only time consuming, but seldom with good results. Far easier (even if time is spent protecting a bordering surface from over-spray) to just apply that extra finish coat … and be happy!!

Here’s an example of over-spray … practically impossible not to have happen in this situation with such tight corners. Trying to sand over-spray from these areas is an exercise in frustration! The simplest solution is to brush lacquer over top of those areas affected. The fresh lacquer amalgamates, and the over-spray vanishes.

Time to prepare the hearts for the completion of the rosettes. Each heart had a piece of 1/8” doorskin glued to their undersides for elevation. They will end up being the highest section of the rosettes. A mixture of lacquer and Pearl-Ex powdered (silver) pigments was applied over the acrylic paint, then set with clear gloss lacquer finish.

I wanted to add a bit of moss inside the bird house opening, and had a small collection of well dried moss ready to work with. It’s amazing what Weldwood glue can do! One trick is to dip things like moss into a weak solution of glue and water, then set it to dry. I dipped these pieces twice, because I wanted to make sure whatever was used remained firm … forever! The colour set beautifully, and the treated moss was hot glued for a permanent fix!

My original plan was to attach a silver eye and wire from the top of the bird house up to the branch far above. Attachment at the bird house was not a problem, but I couldn’t get the wire to conform to my wishes for a neat wrap around and tuck under the branch. Well then … go with plan ‘B’! A very thin wood dowel, painted in the Pearl-Ex, glued into the hole on the roof, to extend into a hole in the upper branch. Then, with a heavy mix of glue and Pearl-Ex, paint the rest of the ‘wire’ in place. Do or die … I couldn’t leave the bird house hanging without support!!

At last!! The mirror is cleaned and put in place … the backing attached …

Now I’m ready to attach this entire mirror’s weight with it’s own ‘hanging support’! I know … this may look a bit like I’ve over-done it … 3 wires braided together (that wasn’t easy!!) ...

... then a 3-way support system?!! Hey … I’m not prepared for our daughter to experience 7 years bad luck!!! The frame is designed so the whole thing will fit snuggly against the wall once hung in place.

I’m not done yet! Over my extensive years of Marquetry, there are always bits and pieces of left-overs to use … and this was a good time to sort through my collection …

... and play around until …

... a plaque was completed to document this momentous occasion for two very special people in our lives … a gift given with so much love attached!

It’s finished!! … and just in time to wrap for travel to the cabin. It will hang at the cabin while the lacquer completely cures, before it’s final wrap for the wedding. Until then, Bill and I can enjoy looking at ourselves in this one-of-a-kind mirror!!

Thank you all for joining me throughout this journey … from start to finish. Never having blogged before, I’ve learned much during the process and am enjoying this form of communication with my Lumberjock buddies. Well … I would have been happier if this laptop hadn’t abolished my last attempt! I’ve been holding my breath ever since!!

Your wonderful comments have truly been welcomed, inspiring me to continue on … to …


Until next time … keep happy doing whatever makes you happy!

-- Elaine in Duncan

7 comments so far

View rejo55's profile


190 posts in 3165 days

#1 posted 05-12-2012 08:01 AM

Elaine, I have been waiting with “bated breath” to see how this was going to turn out and you have truly outdone yourself. Talk about a labor of love!!!
This thing is simply incredible!
I have never had a chance to try intarsia yet because Miss Honey Ma’am and our five daughters, 14 grands and 15 greats have kept me pretty well wrapped up in more ways than one, but I’m not sure I’d live long enough to do anything even close to this.
Tremendous job, Girl! Congratulations and keep up the great work.
Have a good’un

-- rejo55, East Texas

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4257 days

#2 posted 05-12-2012 10:56 AM

I have to second everything rejo55 said Elain. Congratulations on finishing this wonderful gift. I advised you earlier to get a professional to frame your mirror, but now I can’t see that a prof. could do it any better, or even as well. Apart from your artistic skills, I am really impressed with you methodical and well thought out approach to your work.

This is sure to become a highly valued family heirloom with many generations of your family coming to enjoy and admire it, and perhaps inspiring some of them to try their hand at similar work. I can’t think of a better gift than that!

Have a wonderful wedding day and congratulate the bride and groom for me!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View ~Julie~'s profile


623 posts in 3957 days

#3 posted 05-12-2012 12:55 PM

Fabulous work, Elaine!
Your attention to detail takes the piece to a higher level.
(You must get a photo with the couple reflected in the mirror!)

-- ~Julie~

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3941 days

#4 posted 05-12-2012 05:32 PM

Congratulations on your series of a great blog, it shows what a great craftsman you are.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Skylark53's profile


2824 posts in 3983 days

#5 posted 05-14-2012 12:48 PM

What tremendous satisfaction this must give you! As has been mentioned, this will be a treasured family heirloom and, no doubt, will inspire future generations and will make virtually everyone who sees it smile and stare as they appreciate the intricacies of your work. Excellent work on the blog too; the photos and your detailed descriptions and instructions made for an informative and pleasant journey for us.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View justoneofme's profile


841 posts in 3403 days

#6 posted 05-15-2012 04:10 AM

To My Support Group … many thanks! You’ve made this journey well worth the time it took documenting each stage for my blogs, and all your wonderful words of praise definitely helped me carry that ball right through to the end. I’m so very glad you enjoyed following me along!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Bob817's profile


679 posts in 3305 days

#7 posted 05-19-2012 03:28 PM

Elaine, You are so Talented. That Mirror is Beautiful!! You did such an Awsome job you must have the patience of a saint. Your daughter is going to love it more than anything I’m sure. I get awe struck from all the talent thats on this LumberJocks site.Thankyou for sharing this venture I loved it.

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

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