Marquetry Treasure Box series II

  • Advertise with us
Project by Patricelejeune posted 10-09-2015 11:16 PM 6074 views 30 times favorited 41 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Patrick Edwards and I started this project 2 years ago after completing our first series of 4 treasure Box.

The series II was inspired by an antique from an auction house

We created a new design and concept using the original layout that we really liked.

For our creations a re-creations we use sawn veneer mostly imported from Les FILS DE J. GEORGE in Paris

But we also started to re-saw our own

And even dye them as the dyed veneer seems to be less and less available

First step in marquetry after making the design is to cut and organize the patterns

One drawer for each sides

2 drawers also for each of the inside pictures, and for the top, being pretty busy, we used 4 drawers just for it.

Patrick had organized all our veneer packs to create our palette and choose the woods. We are making 4 boxes so all our pack will be 4 layers of veneer thick to create simultaneously 4 exact same pieces in one cut.

The first marquetry panels to be cut had to be the inside pictures. Once the color have been chosen they are numbered on a guide and each piece of pattern is glued accordingly to the packs.

All our pieces are cut on the marquetry chevalet

The pieces cut are then placed in an exploded lay out in a tray

Then they are all shaded in hot sand following a rough guide. Deeping and spooning are the main techniques used.

Time to cut the 2 backgrounds. The panels for the inside of the lid will have a more elaborate banding so I cut notches to give me the main lines of cut lines.

In piece by piece background cutting we use what we call “bridges”. They are small uncut parts that will keep the background islands in place and help you build your panels with more accuracy and less trouble.

Opening the background packs an putting the pictures together is next

My station is ready in front of the glue pot, my tray on the side

If you are interested, I did a video on putting one of those panel together

In the meantime the full blind dovetails for the boxes and the veneering of the inside with bloodwood sawn veneer has been done. The first marquetry are now being glued on the inside bottom panels and adjusted

Partitions in solid bloodwood are made

and adjusted

And the frisage (parquetry) of the inside panel is done

While progress is made on the box itself, the guide for the outside marquetry panels has to be made

Each piece is numbered with its wood from our list, in yellow the white bone, in green, the green bone and in blue the background islands.

Also cut on the chevalet

4 sides

and a top

And again, shading

As ebony is very brittle, I paperbacked my background veneers

Again, cut on the marquetry chevalet

Open and put together

The top has been a bit tricky to figure out. The problem was that I had pieces that looked like wrapping around the bone inlay oval. So I decided to cut the background in 2 steps, first the bone inlay, then rebuild the pack and finally cut the background.

To do so, I needed a way to rebuild the pack exactly and realign perfectly the second design in order to have my bone inlays at the right place as good as possible.

The solution we found was to build the first pack and draw axes lines

Do the same line on the next drawing but with notches, align is as good as possible, clamp it on the first pack and drill a small hole in the 4 corners, in what will be waste.

After unclamping the second drawing, the bone inlay cavity was then cut

The bone purflings previously soaked and ebony inlay were then installed on a light paper assembly board.

The pack was then rebuild using the small hole to realign the inside parts and the second drawing as close to perfect as possible using veneer nails.

Then the 3 pound pack was cut on the chevalet

Setting up the station for inlaying the top. My assembly board in front of the glue pot, and 4 trays around with all my pieces

If anybody knows how to do a morphing with multiple pictures, let me know as I have multiple pictures building this panel and I would like to morph them into one small movie. I will put on first and last here

We finally found at that point a solution to dye the bones all the way through

So it is time to cut the bone leaves

And have them dyed

Inlay them and apply saw dust and hide glue mastic

The sides are glued to the box

Hinges recess for the secret mechanism are installed on the inside panel

The hinges and lock recess are made

The inside of the box needs to be polished before glueing, as it is impossible to do nice french polish corners otherwise.

Do not be afraid to ruin your pad web on pore filling

This is how I like my pore filling to look like

Hinges are installed on the inside panels.

The box is glued using the Liquid Hide Glue Old Brown Glue.

Next day the excess glue is still a bit gummy and can be cleaned with cold water. Once dried you have a perfect french polished corner

Now that we have 4 glued boxes we can make the bloodwood secret trays to fit.

The tray has a 2mm recess to install a leather.

It is also time to build the base on which the box will be screwed on, the mechanism will be installed and the tray will slide on.

Time to get busy on the lid. The inside picture is build using the marquetry panels prepared couple months ago and kept on paper.

Then when all material was ready we glued the to sides on our lid. We did a video on that part to demonstrate veneering with Hot Hide Glue in a hot press to answer a question from one of our fellow lumberjockers ;-) Do not hesitate to ask question it helps us to chose topic for videos on our youtube channel

My favorite part, cleaning the paper ans see the picture for the first time appearing little by little.

It is also the first time when almost everything is veneered that you can see if it looks like you envisioned it.

While I am glueing the edges of the lid with sawn ebony

I am preparing the bandings that will finish the boxes

This banding will go around each panel, top and sides

The tray is “hidden” in the banding

Hinges and lock are set

And while I am doing the sanding

Patrick is installing the secret mechanism hardware

We did a video with our prototype of the system. We are actually out of springs, but as guys are still asking for it, we may order another bunch.

Time to pore fill. I started with the top and the inside of the lid, but more particularly the tray that we needed to send to LA to get the leather installed.

Once both sides of the lids were pore filled I polished the inside first so I could install the hinges and the lock latch.

And use them to be able to polish the outside without having anything touching my inside polish

At this time the trays were back

And the pore filling was done on the sides.

Couple days (week or weeks) to finish the polish. We did a video on french polishing that people seems to like, so if you want to watch it, please remember that there will be no need to tell me the sound is terrible, it has been commented countless times.

Putting the box together, and checking that everything works good.

And it was already time (2 years of work) to take pictures.

Patrick wanted to do a picture of us 2 so we borrowed a box from the first series for that purpose.

It is already a big post, but if anyone wants more details you can check the more developed 20 some posts I made during the making of this boxes here

If you have any questions or suggestions for videos do not hesitate

If you end up all the way here at the bottom, i would like to thank you for following and reading all of that


Patrice Lejeune

-- Patrice lejeune

41 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8747 posts in 4007 days

#1 posted 10-09-2015 11:26 PM

Wow, that post is almost as impressive as the boxes.
I feel like I just got the master’s level course free online!

I won’t spend a lot of time expressing what I think of these pieces. You already know but I will say that the two of you continue to be my biggest inspiration and just the exposure to your work makes all of us, your students, better.

Thanks for posting this and inspiring us all.

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

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4162 days

#2 posted 10-09-2015 11:43 PM

Such magnificent work is something I can stare at for hours on end, and never tire of it. Paul said it well. Those of us who have had the opportunity to have spent some time with you both in San Diego gain more than just the course material. It changes how we work, and what we work on. Many of us, anyway.

These will certainly go down as four of the best… ever.


-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View prometej065's profile


336 posts in 4892 days

#3 posted 10-09-2015 11:46 PM

Serious work .. beautiful work. Truly beautiful.


View PaulDoug's profile


2608 posts in 2913 days

#4 posted 10-09-2015 11:49 PM

Thank you so much for taking the time to post all of this. Absolutely amazing.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4356 days

#5 posted 10-09-2015 11:53 PM

Well, words aren’t going to adequately describe these boxes, or the post documenting them.

So I’m just going to say that they are truly works of art, and that I hope many people get to enjoy them, as I have!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View John's profile


173 posts in 5002 days

#6 posted 10-10-2015 12:19 AM

Absolutely incredible work. Thank you for posting this and inspiring me.

-- Brain the size of a planet and they have me parking cars.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22054 posts in 4885 days

#7 posted 10-10-2015 12:51 AM

Awesome! Beyond belief!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

522 posts in 4339 days

#8 posted 10-10-2015 01:07 AM

Absolutely breathtaking is all I can say. Thanks so much for sharing the process.

-- Dale, Ohio

View Calmudgeon's profile


515 posts in 2636 days

#9 posted 10-10-2015 01:19 AM


-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang

View Kiwib0y's profile


89 posts in 2232 days

#10 posted 10-10-2015 01:34 AM

Now I have caught my breathe for the third time, thank you for the most inspire blogs for a person who has just started to venture into the wide world of marquetry.Between the 2 of you and Paul and all the other Lumberjocks I take my hat off to you guys and wait with baited breathe for more outstanding blogs and work.

-- "It is only a silly question if it is not asked" Don,New Zealand

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3659 posts in 4921 days

#11 posted 10-10-2015 02:05 AM


I’m disappointed :-(
1. Not all the photos would open on this lousy dial-up.
2. I can’t see it in person.
3. I can’t afford one of your boxes without selling my house and your boxes are too small for me to live in.

I’m grateful ;-)
1. I was able to read all your blogs as you kept us up-to-date on your progress.
2. I have a healthy heart and good lungs so did not succumb to the loss of breath at viewing the finished work.
3. There is a hot-spot not too far away where I can eventually look at this amazing documentation and all the lovely photographs.
4. You have documented it here where we can come each time we want to see that real artist/craftsmen still exist.
5. You master craftsmen are so willing to share with all of us who can be inspired by your talents.



-- “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 BurlyBob's profile


9293 posts in 3474 days

#12 posted 10-10-2015 02:59 AM

Un freaking believable. That is so stunning. You are in a league totally of your own.

View rustynails's profile


956 posts in 3738 days

#13 posted 10-10-2015 03:13 AM

Beautiful team work guys you hit another home run of boxes. They are awesome and I love the craftsmanship and detailed along with the posts and videos on the making of these. But here lies the million dollar question. I just don’t know how you are ever EVER going to top these boxes with your next project as these are gorgeous. But I can’t wait to see how, as I know you will. :)


View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 4582 days

#14 posted 10-10-2015 03:58 AM

Simply amazing. Those boxes belong in a museum. Outstanding in every possible way.

Thank you so much for the wonderful post.


-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2949 posts in 2272 days

#15 posted 10-10-2015 04:15 AM

The process is riveting. And painstaking. But, ooooh, the results. This stuff is fantastic. This treatise is the most informative I’ve read yet on the process, and has filled me in on some wonderments. (Paul may remember me asking him a couple months ago, what the heck a Chevalet is.) I’m not ready to start doing marquetry yet. But, I’m closer, thanks to you.

-- Mark

showing 1 through 15 of 41 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