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Project by stefang posted 05-23-2014 08:05 PM 5136 views 7 times favorited 50 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally finished and ready to go. I still have to put something into the round end of the knob, but otherwise pretty much done. I didn’t have space in the shop to get photos from different angles so I followed Paul (Shipwright’s) lead to take the pics on the terrace.

It all started with an awakening interest in marquetry
Quite awhile ago I found a video by Silas Kopf using a Chevalet and explaining it’s origins. At the time this seemed like a pretty exotic machine, and when Kopf said he had learned how to use one at the Ecole boulle in Paris that made it even more exotic in my mind. I never thought for a minute that some day I would own one, not to mention build one myself. Of course most of the credit goes to my LJ buddy Paul aka Shipwright who not only built two of them for himself, but also designed it himself and then, being the generous person he is, made his Sketchup plans available to anyone wanting to give it a go! Oh, and I forgot to mention that he also encouraged me to build one too. Thank you Paul !!

So what the heck is a Chevalet de Marqueterie?
It is nothing more than a tool to produce marquetry work with. It has a saw frame that saws on a horizontal plane and a foot operated clamp that holds the workpiece in a vertical position instead of the workpiece being held on a horizontal surface and sawn with a blade held vertically, like a scroll saw for instance.

How Long does it take to build one?
Mine took me a little over 4 months to build working on and off on it. If you keep at it I would think an average hobby woodworker would probably take about a month and still have time for shopping with the wife and doing a little gardening on the side.

What inspired me to build one?
Mainly seeing in Paul’s marquetry blogs what it could do and of course his gentle prodding too.

How difficult a project was it?
It was an enjoyable project with a few frustrating moments, but I can assure you that you don’t need to be an expert woodworker to make one of these things, unless of course, you don’t have Shipwrights’s Sketchup drawings or plans from The American School of French Marquetry. Paul’s Sketchup drawings were very accurate and made this whole project possible for me.The main difficulty for me was working with pretty heavy timber, I used hard Maple, but you can just a well use Douglas fir if you want and get just as good a tool in the end.

If you want to do Marquetry do you need a Chevalet?
No, there are many good ways to do marquetry work and you can get outstanding results using a craft knife, scroll saw, hand held fret saw or homemade fret saw rigs. I chose the chevalet because it can cut through up to 14 layers of stacked veneer to produce very accurate copies of the cut in every piece of veneer from top to bottom. So I like its production capacity. Other advantages include being able to clearly see the design line being cut as the veneer packets are held in front of your face in a clamp making it easier to see the cut line, and lastly, being hand powered it can cut at whatever speed you feel necessary to follow the cut line and to cut very sharp corners where called for by the design.

That’s it for now. I hope you found it interesting. Remember you can decorate furniture, boxes, etc. with marquetry or just frame it and hang it on the wall. Marquetry also makes great gifts because there is not much of it around, and with a Chevalet you can make up to 14 marquetries and only have to cut the pattern once. 14 marquetries on 14 boxes or whatever.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

50 comments so far

View mafe's profile


12592 posts in 3861 days

#1 posted 05-23-2014 08:15 PM

It’s nothing less than amazing my dear friend!
What a fine work you have done, I get restless and really would love to try it!
Now I can see why you have been busy too.
Lovely garden. ;-)
Now we will be exited to see what comes out of this in the future.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4076 days

#2 posted 05-23-2014 08:16 PM

yippie im first to say congrats

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2389 days

#3 posted 05-23-2014 08:17 PM

You Chevy guys are a trip. It has been interesting following your build and Paul’s work that he describes as if is just another day in the park.
You both are to be admired and I look forward to seeing your work as well.
I’m till trying to figure if Paul uses patterns or makes them as well.
Congratulations on your completion.
Bob Current

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4076 days

#4 posted 05-23-2014 08:18 PM

dang it mafe…i wanted to be first to congrats mike…mike it is a beauty, im so glad to see it done and for you to work the masters tool…..what will be your first…so glad to see this done mike, lots of work , and its a beauty….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View MyChipCarving's profile


657 posts in 3897 days

#5 posted 05-23-2014 08:32 PM

Hey Mike, how about making a video showing you using this fascinating tool? It’s been many years since I did marquetry and I’ve still got veneer in a couple of boxes in the basement that occasionally call to me.

-- Marty,, 866-444-6996

View jim65's profile


1020 posts in 2705 days

#6 posted 05-23-2014 08:33 PM

great project, really nice and you have done a wonderful job! enjoy using it, look forward to seeing your marquetry projects!

-- Jim, Marostica Italy

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

7513 posts in 4125 days

#7 posted 05-23-2014 08:42 PM

Shucks! I wanted to be the first to Congratulate Mike! I wonder how many more of those you will get Mike?
Anyway Let me say that you do some amazing fine work Mike. I Love the way you displayed this project along with your beautiful landscaping in the background! Congratulations!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4106 days

#8 posted 05-23-2014 08:42 PM

Thanks Mads, Grizz, and Bob.

Marty There are some videos out there showing a Chevalet in use here is one.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4106 days

#9 posted 05-23-2014 08:46 PM

Thanks Tony and Jim. Tony, the landscaping is to my wife’s credit I just assist her with the heavy lifting, transport and lawn mowing (while I dream about being in the shop).

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SPalm's profile


5335 posts in 4654 days

#10 posted 05-23-2014 08:51 PM

Yay Mike, you completed it. Congrats.
What an awesome build – it looks great.

It will be fun watching you use it.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16696 posts in 3391 days

#11 posted 05-23-2014 08:56 PM

Wow. Seriously…

Mike, I’ve got to know more. Where has this stuff been / how did I miss it up to this point?

Congrats, time to go watch some video!~

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14182 posts in 4755 days

#12 posted 05-23-2014 09:12 PM

A work of art in itself ! can hardly wait to see your work from this tool

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3576 days

#13 posted 05-23-2014 09:16 PM

Purdee neat Mike. Do they make a Ford model in this??? LOL…......just kiddin. I like your Chevy

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Dutchy's profile


3731 posts in 2941 days

#14 posted 05-23-2014 09:16 PM

Hello Mike,

At last now I know what you have made. It looks great! Nice sunny weather there in Norway. But how this tool works is to me not clear. Maybe wenn you will use him and make some pictures I will understand.


View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4349 days

#15 posted 05-23-2014 09:20 PM

Wow another amazing achievement by the already well accomplished woodworker of the north. Mike you not only a extra fine human being but also an outstanding craftsman,you never fail to surprise me. So very well done, a quality build and a great tool.
Now in the next few weeks you and Paul can can start your own corner of LJs , called”marquetry masters”
It’s so wonderful that Paul has shared his expertise.


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