Merlot Anyone?! - The Marquetry Wine Box Saga #9: Merlot Anyone?! - The Marquetry Wine Box Saga

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by justoneofme posted 04-21-2013 06:10 AM 2300 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Merlot Anyone?! - The Marquetry Wine Box Saga Part 9 of Merlot Anyone?! - The Marquetry Wine Box Saga series Part 10: Merlot Anyone?! - The Marquetry Wine Box Saga »

Holy Moly but time is flying by!! There are slips of paper all around my kitchen desk (where I’m blogging to you all on my laptop at this very moment!) ... messages reminding me to do this … do that … don’t forget … appointments to keep … plans to make … phone calls. Yikes!! I don’t know about you folks, but when I see this kind of mess pile up I just head straight to the workshop :) Today I couldn’t avoid it any longer … the mess had to be cleared away so I could blog!!

It’s time for Nouveau Gal and Lady to get a lovely hairdo! And so the front panel that I began working on so very many blogs ago!! ... incorporating the Poplar veneer motif into the rich Brazilian Rosewood veneer background … comes back into the light of day.

My pinky and forefinger are holding Nouveau Gal (literally by the hair!) and a straight edged section of the template in proper position.

With tape holding other parts down so nothing shifts, I pencil around where needed … and scribe everywhere else, as this whole portion will now be entering into the background.

Then everything is dismantled. Notice the lower curlycue of motif remains intact with the background … because there are grapes that enter that portion of the motif.

The scribed lines are then ‘shoe-polished’ in for better visibility … and that whole portion to be cut is taped securely to a piece of cardboard for support during the scroll saw cut.

You must be wondering why all those X’s are marked everywhere? … ‘workshop messages’ ... as a reminder for me to be cutting on the inside of that scribed line. Sometimes you really have to think … what side of the scribed line should be cut … inside or outside?? When the Exacto blade scribes all around the outside of Nouveau Gal, the cut line is fully exposed. For NGal to fit snuggly into that space, rule of thumb states you should cut on the inside of the scribed line to achieve that snug fit.

It’s a good rule to follow … however, I feel quite fortunate just being able to follow the line!! I’m not going to fly into a hairy conniption if I stray from the inside to the outside or smack down the centre … because … and I’ve said this before … filler is my friend!!

Just to ‘clarify’ … because for some of you younger and more capable members able to follow lines, and wanting to learn the finer points of protocol … this is one of the more important points of Marquetry 101!! I’ve purposely marked ‘waste’ and a dotted line on the photo below to show that I should cut on the waste side of the scribed line.

Hey! Whadaya know?!! You can clearly see (peering through the magnifying glass!) that I’m doing exactly what I should be doing. Please allow me to bask in this splendorous moment as it is very short lived!!

Now … with the background veneer cut to incorporate Nouveau Gal it’s time to fit her into place … and work the motif into the bouquet.

Ah! I like what I see!! And that’s exactly what I thought, walking into the workshop to start another day of play. But wait!! Something’s wrong!!!

............. and I noticed it right away as I gazed upon my NGal from a distance.

It is always good practice to step away from the constant up-front and intense working of your design. Most importantly because this is the time any changes can easily be made!

I didn’t like how the Poplar of the bouquet and the Poplar of the motif collided … that didn’t look good at all! But an easy enough fix to remove excess from the bouquet …........

........... and yes, because I’ve blown this photo up so things can be seen clearly … OMG! Look at all those gaps!! They look much larger than in real life and will really be nothing at all once the filler comes into play.

My mentor and teacher, Herbert Lapins, explained to me (many years ago) that gaps are actually good! As wood tends to swell, these filled gaps allow movement without damaging the Marquetry picture. That was his story … and I’m sticking to it!!

In actual fact, the poor fellow was having ‘seeing issues’ such as I’m experiencing more and more as I ‘mature’. Once upon a time I didn’t need anywhere near the amount of filler I need today!! ......But I digress!! The fix was made, and all is much better now :)

At last … it’s time to tackle her hairdo!!

I’ve chosen Bird’s Eye Maple for her hair. Nouveau Gal will be restricted to the confines of the motif … however, because there are no restrictions for Nouveau Lady’s hair, a second piece of Maple is place underneath the scribed section made for my Gal. Notice the second piece has a black asterisk on either side (more workshop messages to myself!).

And this is when I got confused because I wasn’t paying attention!!

With the two veneers put together, I marked with an overly big dot just where I wanted to stop cutting … to separate the two veneers so that I could continue on finishing off my Gal’s haircut. Nouveau Lady’s haircut would happen a bit later. However … I started at the wrong side of the veneer and ended up actually starting where I should have stopped. But, not only that … I ended up cutting in the wrong direction!! Are you confused yet?!!!

Back-track … pencil in arrows as I obviously need more messages to myself! ... and start again. Thankfully I had caught myself before going too far into that cut! And so the photo below shows Nouveau Lady (granddaughter Abby’s B.Day-gift-to-be) waiting patiently for me to give her lots more style … and work around that boo-boo!

But first I have to work with Nouveau Gal … and yes, Rosewood is so brittle it doesn’t take much to brake off points like this. What puzzles me is how once broken off they can just disappear into thin air! Another fix!!

.......... and a minor change to make. I’ve marked where a leaf was supposed to go, but because of the issues I had blending the motif and bouquet … I did not want the same thing to happen here. Enter flower power!!

Once the decision was made where to place the daises in her hair … and where the leaves would go … and how the hair would ‘fall’ into place …............

............ the cutting began. And this time I was more attentive once Nouveau Lady’s hairpiece was put in place for the cut! You can see where the flowers, restricted to NGal’s motif … carry through as the whole flower in NLady’s veneer. A very rough outline of where the remainder of flower would be was penciled in reminding me not to cut outside that penciled line.

A bit of sand-shading and there’s her stylish do!

This blog was rather long, trying to get her hairdo finished so I could move on. I’m just hoping you didn’t get lost along the way … or drift off to sleep!!

I’m sure you’ll find the next blog more stimulating! I’m going to show you how gaps just disappear like magic! Now … if only all these little bits and pieces of messages taped to surfaces all about me would just disappear!! Oh-oh … so … now you know I didn’t exactly deal with them all before blogging!!!!

Thanks again for tapping in and following my every move!!! Until next time … I hope you enjoy some playtime of your own :)

-- Elaine in Duncan

16 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3776 days

#1 posted 04-21-2013 09:15 AM

Elaine I thought there was some witchcraft involved in this
now I see the word magic I know I was right. :)
This is incredible, I never knew what went into these pieces
It is a wonder to watch

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4254 days

#2 posted 04-21-2013 10:07 AM

I’m sorry to see your blog end for the day Elaine. I appreciate that you are making special efforts to show us ‘younger folks’ how to keep ourselves in line, so to speak. Well, if I can’t do this kind of marvelous work, at least I can dream about it! Those ‘messages’ are a very good idea. I will have to try that. The picture is looking absolutely wonderful and I’m glad you are making a few small mistakes and experiencing some trouble with maverick pieces of veneer and making small improvements where you want. We learn a lot when we see how you handle those little problems!

I’m in seventh heaven with marquetry blogs by two talented artists, yourself and Paul both all in the same day. I am sure I will have forgotten most of it by the time I get back into the shop, but It’s wonderful that I can just reread the blogs when that time comes. Looking forward to the next installment.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2927 days

#3 posted 04-21-2013 12:59 PM

Pic 4
” Notice the lower curlycue of motif remains intact with the background … because there are grapes that enter that portion of the motif.”

WHAT? More grapes? Oh noooooes! I thought we wuz done with the grapes! :-)
Pic 9 & 10
“I didn’t like how the Poplar of the bouquet and the Poplar of the motif collided … that didn’t look good at all! ”

I keep scrolling back up to that pic, trying to figger out how you even SAW that?? Looks fine to me. But then again, whatthehell do I know about marquetry? :-)
And once again…. another nice blog in the saga of the Nouveau Gals

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View justoneofme's profile


841 posts in 3400 days

#4 posted 04-21-2013 03:05 PM

Thanks Jamie ... but I know you create your own kind of witchcraft, constantly coming up with all kinds of marvellous ideas in wood!! You are not only an inspiration to us, but also to the younger generation who bloom under your guidance :)

Hi Mike! Your comments always make me smile! Ah … sorry, but you’ve already created your own marvellous Marquetry Dragon complete with a totally awesome frame … so what more could I possibly teach you?! But I’m really glad you’re enjoying this blog that just may carry you all the way through the summer!

Joe ... thanks for that chuckle! It take a lot of grapes to produce wine … and somehow there just never seems to be enough … grapes, that is!! So … When are you going to try some Marquetry?!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3192 days

#5 posted 04-21-2013 03:26 PM


Your ‘Blogosphere Presence’ is extraordinary, akin to peering over your shoulder in a classroom.

You make me feel as though, with this tutorial at my fingertips, I could sit down to a scroll saw and be informed enough to attempt a first project.
I have always been in awe of Marquetry and now you have enlightened us (me) to some of the techniques which were such a mystery.

Thank You for taking the time and effort to present this so clearly in your Blog.

Best Regards. – Len

Work Safely and have Fun.

-- 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 shipwright's profile


8621 posts in 3718 days

#6 posted 04-21-2013 04:03 PM

This is coming along sooooo well.
Just a few comments on your comments:
- On the chevalet you see one side (the left) better than the other so the rule of thumb is clockwise around parts and counter-clockwise around backgrounds, keeping the line on the left. Does that make sense?
- I’ve seen you cut and you don’t miss many lines. The bit in the photo looks pretty darn good.
- Photos seem to have a way if expanding the gaps … some kind of evil camera magic. I’ve had pieces that I thought were perfect until I looked at the photos.
- Very nice saves (use of artistic license) on the bouquet and hair.

Great work! I’ll be over to see her soon.

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

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3938 days

#7 posted 04-21-2013 09:30 PM

Wow, just wow! I’m amazed!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3854 days

#8 posted 04-22-2013 04:46 AM

I was watching a woodworking video were the author was so monotonic that I almost fell asleep and decided to check LJ.
You blog awakened me; very engaging as usual. I must confess, I thought the picture with the “Xs” was a treasure map… :)

“because for some of you younger and more capable members able to follow lines”:
Most of the time I feel fortunate to cut close to the line.

I Googled Herbert Lapins your mentor and found your profile. I am blown away by your work!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Skylark53's profile


2824 posts in 3980 days

#9 posted 04-22-2013 12:42 PM

Thanks E for taking us along on this fascinating journey. Your work challenges and inspires. Sharing your work is very generous. Thanks again and GREAT WORK!

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View justoneofme's profile


841 posts in 3400 days

#10 posted 04-22-2013 04:04 PM

You people sure know how to puff up my feathers! Many thanks!!

Len ... “blogosphere presence” ... Interesting! I’m certainly glad you feel you could start right in and do some Marquetry by reading my blog, because that’s what it’s all about! This project (being a bit more involved) would be classified toward the ‘advanced lessons’. But I think anyone who has a yen to give marquetry a try, will discover just how much fun this wood-styled art form can be … and that it’s only a matter of practice and patience before quality improves. Pretty much applies to anything one decides to tackle and sets their mind to accomplish, eh?!

Paul ... You make perfect sense … inside, outside, right or left! Glad we’ve finally made contact, and looking forward to your upcoming visit!

Ian ... Glad I keep you awake!! I forgot that over a year ago, being a member of the Cowichan Valley Arts Council, I was asked to submit a profile. I had no idea you could find me by googling Herbert Lapins … Talk about being totally blown away!!

Erwin and Rick ... Many thanks for your uplifting comments!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 2993 days

#11 posted 04-22-2013 05:37 PM

Good morning Elaine. Your work is amazing! This is quite a process to put the project all together. I’m enjoying reading your blog and seeing the work in progress. Looking forward to more.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Woodbridge's profile


3734 posts in 3338 days

#12 posted 04-22-2013 07:45 PM

Elaine. Its a beautiful spring day here at the cottage in Wasaga Beach and the cable guy was around to hook up the internet so I am back on-line. I’m enjoying your blog very much and continue to be amazed at the intricate and beautiful work.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View justoneofme's profile


841 posts in 3400 days

#13 posted 04-23-2013 04:16 AM

Hi Anna! Good to hear from you … and plan to get in touch when this week comes to an end! Company and appointments have me tied up and unfortunately away from my workshop :(. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying this blog!

Peter ... Cabin life for us happens mid May … minus Internet connection! Good to know you’re connected though, and continue to be a faithful follower!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3590 posts in 4632 days

#14 posted 04-24-2013 04:41 AM


Your work continues to amaze me! I wish I had such good eyesight; I can’t see the gaps in the enlarged photos so there’s no chance I would see any in your work. Your details all look perfect to me.

The reason nearly everything I make has straight lines is because I can’t see well enough to follow a curve. I can set up a cut BEFORE the tablesaw is powered up and not risk life or limb, but I can’t put my nose on the scroll saw or bandsaw while cutting and expect safety or accuracy! I only make curves with a pattern that I first bandsaw or scroll-saw (way outside the line) and then sand down little by little on the spindle sander until I get it right. After that I use a pattern bit in the router to follow it. I don’t think that method would be very useful for veneers!

So your blog series is allowing me to enjoy a vicarious journey into marquetry that I could never experience otherwise. Many thanks.


-- “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


841 posts in 3400 days

#15 posted 04-25-2013 03:16 AM

Hi L/W … How right you are about your method of following the line not being useful when working with veneers!! However my eyesight sucks big time when it comes to following exact lines … even when I’m using my high-powered magnifying glass. We just do whatever we can, eh?!
So glad to know you’re enjoying these blogs. I in return appreciate and enjoy your comments!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics