Intarsia 911 tribute

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Project by Rick Wallace posted 08-06-2012 01:33 AM 2495 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project is one I did last year.It measures 36”x24” there are 7 wood types in this piece/oak,mahogany,cherry,poplar,hickory,aspen and cedar…Before I start on a project.I always pick out the best material.I look for quality,color and wood grain.Wood grain can really make an intarsia come to life…This project took alot of research before starting.Ive never been to New York city before..So I had to study at lots of pictures to get an idea on how,I was going to put this piece together.After all the planning,I got started..I started cutting out the skyline first.All the pieces were cut with Olson 7r mach blades.These blades seem to stay super sharp for any thickness of material.After all the cuts were made for the skyline.I used sanding drums and my belt sander to do all the different shaping..Everything was still kinda plain.I looked everything over and decided to cut Lady Liberty into the piece.I used poplar for Lady Liberty & oak for the the statue base.I cut 3/4”shims to raise her up.The reason for the shims,is to create depth perception/making Lady Liberty seem to be father away for the skyline.After that,I thought a few ships in the harbor would be nice.I used mahogany,walnut an aspen for these boats and ships.I cut the material down to 1/4”thickness…Again just to add to the depth in the work..After looking at the top half of the piece,I noticed there still was more work to do.So,I cut the hot air balloon & blimp into the picture.I used cherry for the balloon and walnut for the basket.For the blimp,I used walnut & aspen…After cutting the hot air balloon & blimp out I had more shaping to get effects for them…Now that everything had been cut,shaped and sanded.I started adding finish.I used Tung oil for the finish…When,I was younger my father showed me the how to get a good finish with Tung oil.The trick is to sand everything with 3 grits to start out.Then add a coat of tung oil and let setup.After the 1st coat sets up use fine steel wool. Repeat this step 3x.After the finish was done.I carefully glued everything down.I used gorilla glue for the glue down.The picture frame is cedar..At the time,I hadn’t made very many picture frames,so please be forgiving,lol.Thanks for giving this intarsia project a look.

-- Rick ,Neoga,IL,

8 comments so far

View Woodenwizard's profile


1369 posts in 4382 days

#1 posted 08-06-2012 01:48 AM

Geat Job! I especially like the way you get the 3-D affect. Intarsia is something I have yet to try.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View KarenW's profile


131 posts in 3527 days

#2 posted 08-06-2012 01:49 AM

Nice work. I love big intarsia projects – just wish I had the time to really get into them!
Question though – did you have any problems with the gorilla glue expanding too much?

-- Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best. --Theodore I. Rubin

View Hawaiilad's profile


3384 posts in 4359 days

#3 posted 08-06-2012 04:45 AM

Rick, you did a great job on this piece. A piece that should hang in your home for years to come…we should never forget.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Dana1972's profile


86 posts in 3468 days

#4 posted 08-06-2012 05:48 PM

Rick this looks awesome!!! Again another great job my friend!!

-- Dana, Tn and Tx artist

View Time2beupinAZ's profile


453 posts in 4300 days

#5 posted 08-06-2012 05:58 PM

Very nice work there. I like it, great wood choices.

-- Tim - I usally measure twice after I cut......then I know for sure that I cut it short.....

View Rick Wallace's profile

Rick Wallace

16 posts in 3465 days

#6 posted 08-07-2012 01:23 AM

Thanks for the great comments everyone…Woodenwizard/I think the 3-D effect is what makes Intarsia awesome.There are a number of ways to get good effects.You can cut shims to raise pieces.You can shape angles and waves into flat pieces.Even to resizing thickness works.The scroll-saw is the best tool for cutting and the belt & drum sanders can make it all come to life…KarenW/One thing I do is lightly rough the back side of each piece and where its going to go.I lightly dampen the back side of each piece & use small drops of the Gorilla glue.Stay with the project for the first 30 min.If you see glue bleed out,wipe it away with damp cloth.You can reclamp it again and let the glue down finish…Hawilliad/I’m so proud that this project turned out like it did..It took over 35 hrs. to complete.It has a soft spot in my heart.I have it hanging at my studio space at the Factory Art Studio in Sullivan,IL..Its just for display…Dana1972/Thanks and your work is so incredible.Ive never seen such awesome pyrography skills in your style of work…Time2beupinAZ/Thanks, it was hard to decide on what wood types to use..I ended up using what,I had laying around int he shop lol.

-- Rick ,Neoga,IL,

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4673 days

#7 posted 08-07-2012 05:32 PM

Nice work Rick and patriotic too. After reading Shipwrights blog on hide glue I plan to try it on my next intarsia project this fall because it’s fast and reversible, which is good for someone like me who makes so many mistakes.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4300 days

#8 posted 08-07-2012 08:47 PM

Very nice tribute to 9/11/01. I spent three weeks in sales training in the south tower a couple of years before the tragedy.

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