Functional Intarsia ... Well Aged!! #1: Functional Intarsia ... Well Aged!!

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Blog entry by justoneofme posted 01-13-2014 06:08 AM 2574 reads 3 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Well! It’s about time I got my act together to greet you all, and wish each and everyone a very healthy and happy New Year. Late I know, but better late than never, eh?!

I know many of you have been very productive since my last posting in May … having enjoyed viewing and commenting as often as possible. Between cabin life, Xmas projects with the grandkids, and moving my 93 year old Dad just before Xmas into his semi-assisted lifestyle (where he is very content) ... the whirlwind around me has finally calmed down!

So now that I’ve explained my cluttered life (excusing myself from posting until now!) ... it’s time to show you this special project I made for our daughter as a Xmas gift. I’m thinking this must be the only Intarsia Wine Box in existence … not trying to brag here, I’ve just never seen one. Maybe somebody out there can prove me wrong!!

This project got started up at the lake in my Arthaven Workshop …

I’ll try to speed things up by not ‘talking’ so much! But … I do have to give thanks to Paul (aka Shipwright) for thinning a nice plank of his beautiful cedar until it was only 1/4” thick, because otherwise I would have ended up with a gigantic wine box!

What you won’t see is the basic plywood box that was prefabbed before heading off to the cabin so I could take it with me … but what I do have to explain is that for the front of the box (where the spigot would come through) I used some 1/8” pine I had kicking around. The idea being that the spigot hangs out only so far from the box, so the total thickness of wood surface could be no more than 3/8” max.

That being settled, above is the design placed over the pad of cedar panels that will eventually become the 4 sides of the wine box. And below … all the design cut out.

There’s a story behind the design that I hate to bore you with … but … my original thought was Forget-me-nots, thinking it a lovely sentiment between Mother giving and Daughter receiving. However while chatting with company one day shortly after I had created this wonderful design (and of course it was a deep dark secret) ... the topic of wine boxes came up, and our darling daughter blurted out to all that I was going to make her an Intarsia wine box (she knew this would come to pass, just not when). Then continuing expressively, this wine box was going to be covered with grapes and leaves!! Damn … back to the drawing board!! So much for sentiment, eh?!

So now all 4 panels are cut, assembled back-to-front/front-to-back/upside-down/right-side-up so the pattern has continuity (whatever!) ... believe me when I tell you that took more time than it looks!

Yep … times 4 … the shaping has begun. Here’s a look at the tools that helped me out! You’ll notice the pretty yellow fabric ‘net’ to the side of my belt sander. It’s there to catch any little part that goes astray! Actually that is the waterproof cover used to protect this unit when not in use.

Ah! 4 panels of leaves shaped ….... Grrrrrr!!!! and 4 panels of grapes to begin shaping. Talk about a Mother’s Love!!

One down … a gazillion to go!!!!

There! That wasn’t so bad, now that I can sit back and look at these photos after the fact … my fingertips have healed nicely!

It’s amazing how little I thought (beforehand) about how many times this design would be taken apart and pieced back together … repeatedly!! ... Mother’s Love is blind!!

And then the painting began! I’ll let that speak for itself in the following photos.

Except to explain those clear cedar pieces to each side of the panel, which will eventually become the exterior corners of the box, framing the Intarsia panels.

Mother’s Love Mother’s LoveOMG TIMES FOUR!!

Now, while all those grapes were drying in stages, I was gluing the leaves together side-by-side because this is actually a free standing panel. But once the leaves are glued together … more glue has to be applied and rubbed into the back of the design … so it can be held up to admire without falling apart!

Mother’s Love is wearing thin!! Even thinking about gluing all those grapes side-by-side gave me a major headache … so I skipped that process and went onto the next. After securing those cute little grapes in place with masking tape, I proceeded to apply a liberal amount of glue to the back side, rubbing it well into the cut grapes. Then everything was flipped (wet glue down) onto a flat waxed paper surface, and pressed down to make sure they didn’t dry in all kinds of horrible positions! That worked well, thank goodness!

At last!! Time to press these babies onto the prefabbed wine box. My innovative presses work rather well!

Ah yes … we’re back to those clear slats of cedar viewed previously … now cut to size, glued to form the corners, filled and sanded in preparation for …..

You guessed it … painting!! Then more innovative pressing and voila!

One last part to finish off before this box is ready to pack up for our return home … the base for the box to sit upon ….....

Not only was this work under pressure, but so was I … needing to get this finished so I could close up my little Arthaven for its long winter’s nap!

Once home again, with all sorts of demands holding forth … I did finally manage to find time for the completion of this project. If you notice the date in one photo above, it was September. Work to create the lid for this Intarsia Wine Box began the middle part of October.

My original thought of creating something more grandiose, quickly evaporated when Dad suffered a mini stroke, and needed more care after hospitalization. Between his care and the grandkids turning my workshop into a war zone with their hand-made Xmas crafted gifts! ... the crunch was on to make a suitable lid and give the whole thing one more protective coat of lacquer so it could sit and cure enough for gift wrapping.

I have to admit that my mind struggled with “suitable”, and it took many hours just looking at that wine box trying to think beyond suitable to at least something stylish! Hopefully you’ll be able to follow the path taken by viewing these following photos … as well as a last minute change to make things right!

You caught that … right?!

The grape I thought would look so cool atop the lid, did absolutely nothing for me or the wine box!! I tossed and turned all night long, finally giving in way too early the next morning … before coffee even! … to rectify the problem. Sometimes it pays to get all stressed out … in this case, it did pay off!

Couldn’t do the gift wrapping without a ‘photo shoot’ first …...... and I hope you noticed the design’s continuity?!!

It’s a wrap!!

If you’ve managed to get to the end of this very long blog all about the birth of an Intarsia Wine Box that’s functional in serving out well aged red wine of the home-made variety … I applaud you all for being so attentive!! As always, I’ve enjoyed spending this time with all my LumberJock buddies … rewinding, and sharing this tale of this Mother’s Love!

Until next time, keep happy making your own sawdust!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

25 comments so far

View Bob817's profile


679 posts in 3183 days

#1 posted 01-13-2014 06:21 AM

Beautiful, Stunning and Amazing! Elaine.

-- ~ Bob ~ Newton, N.H.

View jumbojack's profile


1690 posts in 3424 days

#2 posted 01-13-2014 06:26 AM

Dear Mother your child is Absolutely beautiful.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3734 days

#3 posted 01-13-2014 07:04 AM

Happy and joyful new year to you to!

I can guaranty you that father’s love would have evaporated on the first cut of those tiny pieces :)

Great blog as usually very informative and lively.
As to the wine box? what else can I say beside wonderful?

Extremely nice!

Thanks for sharing you work.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2932 days

#4 posted 01-13-2014 07:31 AM

My, my what a wonderful piece of artistic craftswomanship! ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1115 posts in 3113 days

#5 posted 01-13-2014 09:15 AM

Fantastic work! It must really enhance the taste of the wine when it comes from a container like this! A truly useful present for anyone.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4135 days

#6 posted 01-13-2014 10:38 AM

Even if your daughter’s guests don’t like the wine they will surely love this box Elaine. In spite of a wonderful design and some very artistic shaping you have managed to raise the level of this work even higher with your beautiful painting. So you get three A+’s for this one or 11 out of 10 if you will. I’m glad to see you posting again. Your work is inspiring and your words are very entertaining. What more could we ask for? Ok, maybe art lessons.

I hope your father will be ok. I can understand how you must feel as we are having a similar experience with my MIL who is now 93 and just broker her hip over Christmas (twice inside of one week). But life goes on and I hope you and your family have a great New Year.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3720 days

#7 posted 01-13-2014 12:09 PM

This is absolutely a work of ART!! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this amazing project come together! All I can say is WOW!!!

Beautiful, beautiful job! (Want to adopt me???) ;)

Thank you for sharing it! Love it!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View patron's profile


13707 posts in 4141 days

#8 posted 01-13-2014 01:04 PM

what beautiful work elaine

and this tutorial sure works great
for anyone seeking to learn this art form

you are a master of your craft
and an inspiration

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12214 posts in 4229 days

#9 posted 01-13-2014 01:20 PM

What a beautiful piece of work!
Thank you for the great pictorial series.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View ~Julie~'s profile


618 posts in 3835 days

#10 posted 01-13-2014 02:32 PM

Fabulous as always! But with all those pieces I’m not sure if you’re a creative genius or a little bit insane… or maybe both? ;)

-- ~Julie~

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3667 days

#11 posted 01-13-2014 02:35 PM

This is a wonderful project. You do very nice work. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4724 days

#12 posted 01-13-2014 02:50 PM

Fantastic Elaine, Your so talented.

View Woodbridge's profile


3718 posts in 3218 days

#13 posted 01-13-2014 03:22 PM

Hi Elaine, wonderful work. The box looks great. I can’t imagine working on all those pieces.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Woodwrecker's profile


4239 posts in 4376 days

#14 posted 01-13-2014 03:25 PM

Beautiful as always Elaine.
Thank you for all your great tips.

View shipwright's profile


8570 posts in 3598 days

#15 posted 01-13-2014 03:44 PM

Elaine’s daughter is indeed a lucky one here, but so am I because I get to visit her shop and watch these things coming to life. She is an accomplished artist in everything she does and I try to soak up as much as I can.

This one is beautiful Elaine and all the work was certainly worth it when we see the finished piece.


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

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