Commissioned Intarsia

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Project by Dr_T posted 01-01-2016 05:25 PM 1141 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This piece was a commissioned project for a coworker. It will be Christmas present for a family member. I knew that I would not be able to get it done before Christmas, but the client was OK with presenting a stand-in and giving the completed project when it was finished.
The pattern was from Judy Gale Roberts, and I used it at full size. The white pieces are Ash, light and dark brown are Cedar, and the jersey numbers are Padauk. The finish is spray lacquer.
I had not used Ash or Padauk before this project, but both worked very well. The Padauk was a very hard wood similar in working characteristics to Walnut, but took a very nice finish once it was cut. I was surprised at the difference in hardness between the Ash and the Cedar, with the Ash being significantly harder and denser than the cedar.
I took a bit of a different approach to shaping this project. Typically I shape the pieces individually, and then assemble them. In this case, I glued all of the segments that needed the same shape together first, and then shaped them as one piece. This approach had several advantages, namely much smoother transitions between pieces, and automatic filling of joints with sawdust.

Photo 1: The finished piece. Note – all photos that include the base piece have been slightly edited as the client requested a scrollwork name on this portion of the piece.
Photo 2: Everything except the white pieces laid out on the boards. I did not have a piece of white board that was wide enough for this project when I started. The Ash that I found turned out very well and I enjoyed working with it.
Photo 3: Some of the interiors of the scrollwork letters. I was surprised that I was able to remove many of these basically intact.
Photo 4: Residue of working the Padauk. Looks like I spilled some chili seasoning on my workbench. :)
Photo 5: All of the pieces cut and assembled to check the fit.
Photo 6: Almost all of the pattern pieces have been removed. This is the first time since the pieces were laid out on the boards that I could see if I got the colors and grains the way that I wanted them.

8 comments so far

View majuvla's profile


14541 posts in 3262 days

#1 posted 01-01-2016 06:07 PM

You’ve realy done a great job with this intarsia. It has nice 3D effect.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 1571 days

#2 posted 01-01-2016 06:22 PM

Very nice work. How much time to you think it took?

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Redoak49's profile


4003 posts in 2383 days

#3 posted 01-01-2016 07:11 PM

Very nicely done. Your shaping looks very good and lifelike.

View rtbrmb's profile


718 posts in 2783 days

#4 posted 01-02-2016 07:57 AM

This is an awesome piece-thanks for sharing.

Bill in MI

View Desert_Woodworker's profile


1810 posts in 1609 days

#5 posted 01-02-2016 11:07 AM


-- Desert_Woodworker

View Dr_T's profile


45 posts in 2186 days

#6 posted 01-02-2016 03:59 PM

All – thanks for the nice comments. I really like how this one turned out, hopefully the client will as well.

WoodNSawdust – I didn’t keep a strict tally, but probably around 10 hours total.

View jfk4032's profile


366 posts in 2921 days

#7 posted 01-02-2016 05:39 PM

Nice piece and great job cutting on it. I like to use varying woods on my pieces as well and you can have substantial hardness differences in adjacent pieces, so you do have to be careful when cutting them together. I’m sure your client will love it.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12785 posts in 3551 days

#8 posted 01-03-2016 06:42 AM

great piece, very nice details captured…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

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