Mosaic in Wood No. 2 - Inferno

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Project by Mathew Nedeljko posted 12-30-2011 07:00 PM 5941 views 32 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my second attempt at creating a mosaic of this type, and is my first time working with exotic woods. Once again, inspiration is taken from the work of fellow LJ Robin Tucker (WoodMosaic) and specifically a picture of this table.

Inferno is based on a 45 deg diamond shape, and the resulting shape is an octagon.

This lazy susan is assembled from 560 individual pieces of shop sawn 0.150” thick veneer strips, 0.734” wide and 0.734” long (my micrometer came in very handy as tolerance here is +/- 0.005). Overall dimensions are approx 18” in diameter, and 1.5” high. It spins beautifully on a Triangle ball bearing sourced from Woodcraft.

The colors are all natural, and I love the chatoyance of the wood as light hits it from different angles as it spins. Finish is 2 base coats of shellac, followed by multiple coats of oil/varnish mix sanded between coats. Final coat was sanded all the way up to 2000 grit and is silky smooth. A final coat of paste was to bring out the shine.

Veneers are from the center: Wenge, Cocobolo, Bloodwood, Bubinga, Ribboned Mahogany,Zebrano, and Walnut from Ohio.

My wife liked it so much she has made it the centerpiece of our kitchen table. Sweet!

Thanks for looking!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

27 comments so far

View sgtsprout's profile


71 posts in 4106 days

#1 posted 12-30-2011 07:07 PM

That is quite amazing. My wife seen it and she thinks it is deserving of being the center piece.
Did you have any trouble geting the veneers exact to .150” along the entire length of the cut? Did you use any templates for cutting the venners to shape? How did you cut those venners shapes?

-- "There are no gains without pains." -Benjamin Franklin

View deleteme's profile


141 posts in 3942 days

#2 posted 12-30-2011 07:09 PM

One word: Wow!
How long does a project like this take? Such attention to detail. Thanks for sharing!

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#3 posted 12-30-2011 08:57 PM


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#4 posted 12-30-2011 09:32 PM


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#5 posted 12-30-2011 10:11 PM

Beautiful Mat. The finish really pops it.
Just an outstanding combination of colors and perfect joinery.

Bravo !!

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

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3393 posts in 4421 days

#6 posted 12-30-2011 10:15 PM

That mosaic seems to move even when it is setting still, I can only imagine the feeling you must have when
you watch your own work as it rotates. Having looked at your previous projects, and watched the progress
in each of them, I cannot wait to see the next one. Noticing the notation Mosaic in Wood No. 002, it
looks as though you are not going rest on your laurels, but are going to continue to amaze us with future
Mosaics. While I can not hope to match this, I think I may have to order some veneer and try my hand at
it. Thank you for sharing and giving us an inspiration.

-- As ever, Gus-the 83 yr young apprentice carpenter

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#7 posted 12-31-2011 12:09 AM

Beautifull,thanks for sharing.

-- BarnwoodBARNEY Texas USA

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#8 posted 12-31-2011 12:17 AM

What a beautiful, fancy EGCB.

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

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#9 posted 12-31-2011 12:39 AM

I’d say that kept you busy for a while . Good work,Matt!

-- there's someone in my head but it's not me...

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111 posts in 4867 days

#10 posted 12-31-2011 01:18 AM

It does look very nice.

-- It’s not so much what we know that causes the trouble, it’s what we know that’s not so.

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Scott Oldre

1128 posts in 4767 days

#11 posted 12-31-2011 02:21 AM

That is one stunning piece of craftmanship. it’s not just about the tolerences, you’ve gone well beyond and put those colors together in an amazing array and the name you’ve given it is so appropriate. Thanks so much for sharing.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

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#12 posted 12-31-2011 02:44 AM

(this is the sound of my jaw dropping)


View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 5165 days

#13 posted 12-31-2011 03:49 AM

Thanks everyone for the the nice feedback. A couple of things I can add about the construction:

1) first of all it would be a mistake to think of this as being made out of thin commercially available veneer. This is made from 0.150” thick strips I rip from solid lumber. Last month Woodcraft here in Cincinnati had all their wood on sale so I picked up a board foot of six or seven exotics. I planed each of those boards down to 0.734” and then ripped the 0.150” thick strips. I built up a nice little inventory of these strips, and it reminds me of a bar chart, don’t you think?

2) From this inventory of prepared strips, I cut the diamond and triangle shapes. With Discover, my first project, I hand cut each of the pieces, for this project I made a custom 45 deg sled for my table saw. The sled has a center fence, and on side of the fence I have a stop set to give me the correct length for diamonds, and on the other side of the fence the stop is set for the triangles.

With this sled I was quickly able to cut the individual pieces that I needed. One neat trick I re-applied from David Marks was the use of a pencil equiped with an eraser on the end to hold the strips tight against the fence and the stop during the cut. The other thing I discovered is that it is perfectly safe to use the small 7.25” circular saw blades on my table saw. I picked up one at Lowes with carbide teeth and it cut beautifully and limited the amount of lost material due to the very small kerf. Robin uses a plywood blade, but I found this carbide tipped blade gave a very nice cut that needed no cleean up in the assembly process.

3) While in his blog, Robin shows his technique for assembly by individually gluing each piece into place with a hot glue gun, I applied a more traditional parquetry approach. Once I had the diamonds cut, I immediately began assembling the top pattern on my assembly mat. I pieced it all together with blue 3M painters tape, and once I had it all taped I was able to trace the outline for the .5” plywood substrate that the entire assembly is glued to. I then went ahead and built the entire octagonal base and sides, allowing for the .150” overhang needed all the way around. Sorry no pictures of this step.

4) Once I had the base completed, I flipped over the top pattern assembly, covered it with Titebond glue, and pressed it into position on the top of the base. I don’t have a nice press built yet, so just plain old cauls and clamps did the trick.

5) Once the top is glued to the base, I began working on assembling the patterns for the sides. Again Robin shows in his blog how he fits and glues each individual piece. I go ahead and glue each of the triangles to each other to form an entire side, (20 pieces each side). Another discover for me here is that the white Titebond moulding glue was perfect for gluing up these side assemblies. It has such a high initial tack that very much like hide glue I just had to rub it together for a few seconds and it held. By the time I had applied glue to the next piece the bond had already formed sufficiently that I didn’t have to worry about handling the assembly. You can get an idea of how i did this from this pic.

Once all 8 sides assemblies were done I was able to go ahead and glue them individually to the base, trimming each to fit with 22.5 deg mitres.

6) Once it was all glued up all that is left is sanding and finishing which realistically takes almost as much time as the construction process itself.

I did not keep track specifically, but I would guess that I probably have about 25 hours invested, including all the stock preparation upfront, the actual cutting and assembly, the sanding and finishing. Not too daunting considering this will hopefully stay in the family for many years to come.

I hope this helps, there are a lot of resources availble to help you take this project on, and there are many more patterns and configurations to explore.

Again thanks for the nice comments and best wishes to all Jocks for a bright and prosperous 2012.

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View Konquest's profile


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#14 posted 12-31-2011 05:03 AM

That is some amazing precision woodworking. Well deserved top 3.

-- 9 3/4 fingers remaining.

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#15 posted 12-31-2011 06:16 AM


Absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing.


-- Voltaire: “Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities” There are 112 genders (not including male and female)

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