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Project by smokey56 posted 08-16-2012 08:55 AM 2705 views 5 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project is a recreation of a table called the Table Des Muses. It was made by Jean-Henri Riesener and was to be delivered to Marie Antoinette in 1771. It was displayed in the Petit Trianon at Versailles; however, when I went to see it, it was gone, apparently displaced to another venue. I redrew it to the size of a queen-sized bed. Once the pattern was glued to the background, I then sawed it into 11 sections. This made cutting on the chevalet de marqueterie workable (67 cm throat). The veneers are sawn veneers from France that are 1 mm thick. I used the “Painting in Wood” method; which is gluing the pattern on the background; then define the location of specific areas that require that type of veneer and secure it there. This is done throughout the pattern. When there is overlap, another layer is built. The spaces between are filled with scrap creating a flat layer before the next layer is developed…...see “Marquetry Masterpieces” by Pierre Ramond (Vol. I, pp. 51-53). Once the pieces are all cut and laid out in their trays, the assembly begins. Shading with hot sand is done during the assembly process. The assembly is front side up and upon low tack contact paper, glued brown paper used to hold in place, turned over, mastic applied on the back side, turned back over (face up) and finally permanently glued (hyde glue) in a giant press onto 5/8 ply. The plywood was then counter veneered on the back. Out of the press, the face side was prepared, sanded, pumiced and french polished applying numerous layers. The final finish (satin) was with wax impregnated 0000 steel wool. The marquetry took some 1650 hours and is of over 5,000 pieces. The wood surround is European walnut carved by my good friend, Aaron Radelow.

Ken Stover

14 comments so far

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Pat Cavanaugh

175 posts in 4652 days

#1 posted 08-16-2012 12:26 PM

Simply stunning

-- Pat - Biloxi, MS

View Brice1's profile


113 posts in 3630 days

#2 posted 08-16-2012 12:49 PM

Exceptional work Ken. Flawless execution and french polish job. Thanks so much for sharing.

-- Brice, Philadelphia

View MagGeorge's profile


53 posts in 3439 days

#3 posted 08-16-2012 04:42 PM

It speaks of royalty and elegance.

View whitewulf's profile


456 posts in 4218 days

#4 posted 08-16-2012 04:45 PM

Holy Carp! At a loss 4 werds…......

-- "ButI'mMuchBetterNow"

View shipwright's profile


8760 posts in 4079 days

#5 posted 08-16-2012 04:48 PM

Absolutely lovely Ken.
I’m just finishing up a little table right now whose central motif was also cut in Painting in Wood.
I have two chevalets and am thrilled to have another marqueteur using one on LJ’s.
Reisener was certainly one of the great masters.
Welcome and post more of your amazing work.

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

View Joshuah's profile


152 posts in 3975 days

#6 posted 08-16-2012 05:06 PM

Wow, that is amazing. Very beautiful.
Thanks for sharing

-- -Joshuah

View Russ's profile


357 posts in 4359 days

#7 posted 08-16-2012 10:11 PM

Remarkable work. I love the detail!

-- Russ

View TonyWard's profile


748 posts in 5609 days

#8 posted 08-16-2012 11:31 PM

I think Jean-Henri Riesener would agree this is excellent work, well done!

View sras's profile


6425 posts in 4411 days

#9 posted 08-17-2012 02:29 AM

1650 hours! And worth every minute I’m sure. This is a truly remarkable creation. Thanks you for sharing your work with us.

Welcome to LJs!!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3709 days

#10 posted 08-17-2012 02:43 AM

A beautiful work of art, belongs in a museum in Florence where people from all over the world can see it first hand.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3665 posts in 4994 days

#11 posted 08-17-2012 03:44 AM


What a masterpiece! Overwhelmingly beautiful! 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)

View shipwright's profile


8760 posts in 4079 days

#12 posted 08-17-2012 03:38 PM

I just read your text again. Are you saying that your veneer is one centimeter thick?

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

View hunter71's profile


3559 posts in 4468 days

#13 posted 08-18-2012 12:00 PM

Amazing, thanks for sharing.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 3483 days

#14 posted 08-24-2012 09:59 PM

Stunned, such a beautiful piece…..

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

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