Four Trays of Chickadees

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Project by shipwright posted 12-18-2012 01:00 AM 3910 views 22 times favorited 62 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife asked me to make her a tray for her birthday ….. with a chickadee on a branch. This is in my mind at least a very overworked theme in marquetry but I agreed to give it a shot. I at least wanted it to look lifelike so I started a search of images on Google where I found this one.

I imported it to inkscape, did a nice tracing, retooling the branch for artistic effect, and added a few other branches and some faint terrain and sky to fill out the area. “How do you like this?” I asked, proudly showing her my drawing. ” I like the bird” she said, ” but lose the other branches and the landscape. All I want is a bird on a branch.” “As you wish my dear.” I said (or some fairly similar expression) .........and so just a bird on a branch it became. When all is said and done I have to admit (begrudgingly) that in this case at least, less may have actually been more. I quite like the little guys.

The marquetry is quite simple as the pieces are larger than what I’ve been doing lately so I decided to cut them in classic style and get a few extras, after all you don’t have much more cutting to do … and it is a bit more challenging. The marquetry itself was done quite quickly. What took me way too much time was the silly idea of having round inside corners. I guess it looks nice but it presented a new problem (opportunity) at every stage.

The veneers in the backgrounds are mostly maple in one figure or another plus a piece of what I’m guessing is a burl-ish redwood. The marquetry veneers are ipe, holly, fir, oak and the redwood for one branch. Two of them have legs like my music motif tray and the other two sit right down on their bases.

All cutting was done on my Green Valley chevalet, the first one I built (and maybe still my favorite).

....... boy, that shop looks uncluttered. I’ve added a lot to the little six foot square marquetry shop since this photo.

Thanks for looking in.

Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome…................. Merry Christmas!!


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

62 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5327 posts in 4153 days

#1 posted 12-18-2012 01:08 AM

Your wife has taste. The simple bird shows quite nicely. But simple it ain’t, you did remarkable work on these. They look great.

Too bad you did not have sharp inside corners, they would have looked better. (Just kidding)

Merry Christmas. Enjoy the warm weather.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Frank Strazza's profile

Frank Strazza

10 posts in 2837 days

#2 posted 12-18-2012 01:09 AM

Paul nice work as always!
How did you get that shading on the overall body of the bird, in the white part? Is that the wood?

-- Heritage School of Woodworking

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3579 days

#3 posted 12-18-2012 01:12 AM

Looks very good to me Paul…and your wife has to be extrremely happy with the results.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3574 days

#4 posted 12-18-2012 01:16 AM

these are really quite nice, beautiful in fact, your wife is one lucky lady, ask and it appears…all of them are really nice but i really like the one that looks quilted…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3574 days

#5 posted 12-18-2012 01:18 AM

oh and please tell your wife i said happy birthday..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Woodenwizard's profile


1350 posts in 3314 days

#6 posted 12-18-2012 01:24 AM

Another great project. I always appreciate your sharing.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Karson's profile


35158 posts in 4671 days

#7 posted 12-18-2012 01:26 AM

Beautiful job, and a smart move to follow her directions.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View rustynails's profile


817 posts in 2800 days

#8 posted 12-18-2012 01:30 AM

Paul you know what they say “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” or in this case 4 trays….... Well done.

View gbear's profile


518 posts in 4370 days

#9 posted 12-18-2012 01:32 AM

You obviously have a lot of talent when it comes to marquetry…and…when it comes to keeping a happy home!!

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View a1Jim's profile


117468 posts in 3848 days

#10 posted 12-18-2012 01:48 AM

Wow Paul
These are amazing ,they look like they could fly off the tray. I wish I could look at these everyday.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2961 days

#11 posted 12-18-2012 01:54 AM

Paul, Another amazing set of projects from the master. That bird looks alive and I like the single branch design. All of your stuff is so perfect. I never see even a tiny flaw!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 3184 days

#12 posted 12-18-2012 02:04 AM

Your Work Is Amazing!! Can’t get enough of it!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View tinnman65's profile


1364 posts in 3685 days

#13 posted 12-18-2012 02:08 AM

Beautiful work Paul. I really like the pine cones on the sides, they add a nice touch. One nice thing for your wife is that when she asks for something with marquetry on it there’s a good chance she’ll get four!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22054 posts in 3376 days

#14 posted 12-18-2012 02:12 AM

WOW!!!!!!! those are amazing, Paul. just beautiful work. Your wife is so lucky to have you create such beautiful things for her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View DocSavage45's profile


8738 posts in 3113 days

#15 posted 12-18-2012 02:13 AM


Ya did good, and I’m sure the customer was pleased!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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