Side Table with Herring bone parquetry

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Project by CreekOne posted 01-12-2015 11:35 PM 1749 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the project that created my hate-love relationship with parquetry. I hate that I love it and I love that i hate it.

This is a project where all the students have to make the same table, exact measurements and shape, but, not everyone has to make the same parquet or use the same wood. We was grouped together two and two to make the same parquet pattern and me and my partner decided to create a Herring bone pattern, traditional and nice.

It all started with two weeks to create the parquet, this is a lot of time you might think but we have to do a AutoCAD drawing of the parquet, make a work plan that we have to follow, and make all the calculations on how to cut and so on on paper before we could start. As a bonus we had to write a little on Parquetry and on the Herring bone pattern’s history and use.

We selected the most beautiful Honduras Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) for the parquet and ended up creating 5 jig’s and cutting hundreds of small pieces that went in the trash. Its harder than you can imagine to get a perfect 90º on these small pieces, 1” by 2”. The goal was to get an A in this class but I ended up with a B as you could see glue lines showing up between 7 pieces.
Now I know some woodworkers won’t understand this but invisible glue lines are not thin black lines, its invisible!, you should not be able to see the edge to edge joint at all.
And a point on the 90º, if you cut it at 90.1 or even 90.05 you end up with a wrapped pattern that tend to build up more and more until the pieces don’t meet perfectly all around.

When this was done, I had two days over and my partner’s son was sick so I had time to play with parquetry and marquetry technique’s and ended up creating a block of Khaya/African Mahogany (Khaya ivorensiss), Wenge (Millettia laurentii) and Swedish Birch (Betula pubescens), from where I could cut thin strips to outline the parquet.

Part two (two more weeks) was the table itself, we selected Swedish Birch (Betula pubescens) for the rest of the table for the beautiful contrast with the mahogany. This was mostly straight forward and also took about a week to do, remember that we have to wait a lot to access machines, there are about 40-50 students sharing the same machines…
One week left for assembly and finish. Assembly of our two tables took about a day. Sanding took two and than French polish (Schellack and Wax-oil)... well, we put the last layers of wax and oil at the end of the last day.

I added a picture of a table made by a classmate, Erik, its made from Flame Birch (Betula pendula or B. pubescens) with a beautiful sun-feather parquet made of Tulipwood (Dalbergia decipularis)

5 comments so far

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3919 days

#1 posted 01-13-2015 06:33 AM

Your teacher / mentor is very rigorous and meticulous. Excellent work by you and your partner, I am very impressed.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Ivan's profile


17324 posts in 4359 days

#2 posted 01-14-2015 05:04 PM

Your work is magnificant, don’t stop hateing it.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Bud_3's profile


907 posts in 2716 days

#3 posted 01-26-2015 11:03 PM

Nice textures .I like them.

-- Personality and character of a man is like wood,you must polish it to shine.....

View USERNAMESUX's profile


19 posts in 2633 days

#4 posted 04-15-2015 05:57 PM

This was a cool project buddy! I enjoyed working together!

-- Hey, don't forget to listen to Black Sabbath!

View cjwalker18's profile


16 posts in 3446 days

#5 posted 06-06-2016 04:00 PM

WOW! That is just AWESOME!!! Keep up the great work!!!!!

-- John, WI

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