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Project by Allison posted 05-23-2008 12:17 AM 2690 views 3 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In this stage of my working with wood journey I have come to the conclusion, (and I am not even kidding) that mathematics is a VERY major part of the working with wood experience. Of course I realize you that make furniture and cabinets and such that it is obvious that math would be a big part(measurements, angles etc.)But not so much in intarsia , or so I thought!
I have had and loved this pattern of the trees for a very long time. It is a inlay pattern. All I was waiting for was the right wood pieces for how I envisioned it.And of course I envisioned it to be intarsia. So simple I thought. I will just “pull up and out the tress and really bring forward the biggest tree so that I can place it outside the frame.” I did not take into account SOOOOO very many things, such as “now I need the background to be longer since I have brought the trees forward” and things of that nature. And quite honestly I am not as stupid as sometimes I can make myself sound. But boy I sure was on this one!!!
I would like to blame it on the excitement of getting my shop all cleaned up (spring cleaning) or that I had finally got a hold of some plain old green poplar that I could use. Or that I actually have a lot more room in my shop because my hubby has finished his basement and moved all of his stuff out of the shop and into his space.
BUT the truth is I needed a whole lot of knowledge, math wise to figure out this inlay pattern to intarsia. And I should have known better. So I am going to have my piece of humble pie and post my trees. A pattern that was suppose to be 14 by 11 but is now a plump 12 by 9 1/2! There’s truth to cutting and cutting and it still is too short! Well sanding and sanding and it is still to short also applies. So have a laugh on me! This is made from Aromatic cedar, Black Walnut, Green Poplar, Lace wood, Blood, Sweat, and Tears Oh and I just remembered, the tree on the bottom right is made out of pomegranate wood from my father’s tree.

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

21 comments so far

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4988 days

#1 posted 05-23-2008 12:32 AM

Very cool.

Sounds like you know my barber; I told him to cut my hair longer, but the longer he cut, the shorter it got.

I like the way the tree stands out and goes beyond the border. It increases the depth of the picture dramatically.

-- Working at Woodworking

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5363 days

#2 posted 05-23-2008 01:21 AM

Thats really cool!

View SteveKorz's profile


2140 posts in 4763 days

#3 posted 05-23-2008 01:29 AM

Allison, that is pretty cool… the sky is my favorite.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View odie's profile


1692 posts in 4889 days

#4 posted 05-23-2008 02:08 AM

DAMN what’s wrong with it? You owe yourself an apology. Looks great to me … miss ramble on. I will send you a photo of something I painted for my watercolor class … same technique. That thing on your shoulders … yeah that’s it … now push it up … leave it there. Don’t post with your head hung down again …. Promise!


-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

View toyguy's profile


1751 posts in 4886 days

#5 posted 05-23-2008 02:22 AM

If everything was easy we/you wouldn’t want to do it…..... Nothing to be ashamed of here, shake off the saw dust and get shaping some more atarsia. we are our own worst critics…...

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View unknownwoodworker's profile


221 posts in 4752 days

#6 posted 05-23-2008 02:54 AM

I like it. Do you mean, “I cut it twice, and it’s still too short”? Old Saying! I love your work. It’s very artistic and done with feeling.

-- ??? My mistakes heat the house. It's very warm in here. ???

View SM's profile


77 posts in 4744 days

#7 posted 05-23-2008 03:02 AM

You see the mistakes but it is not as obvious to others. Three dimensional perspective in a two dimensional form is not intuitive, except to a few. Many with some formal art background still can’t do it well, but it can be learned. (But don’t ask me how, ‘cause I never did get it!)

I like the disappearing stream and the way the smaller trees float. The big tree is most interesting. It looks like some mutant force that is going to grow past the frame and into the room. Having unresolved perspective makes for a very compelling image. Take that wacky perspective and push it a little farther and you’ve got modern art: check out Marc Chegall, Salvador Dali or even Pablo Picasso. Then give me some courage to try even a small one of those interasiosisis. (I can’t even spell it much less do it!)

-- SM

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4871 days

#8 posted 05-23-2008 03:22 AM


I don’t see anything amiss about this as well. It is a beautiful work of art that should be on display.

I would not know where to begin to create something like this.

This is a very nice piece.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View bobdurnell's profile


317 posts in 4946 days

#9 posted 05-23-2008 03:52 AM

Beautiful use of the colors of the woods. Looks great!

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5267 days

#10 posted 05-23-2008 04:08 AM

A very beautiful piece, Allison.

I know what you mean, though. Why is it that so many mistakes seem ridiculously obvious only after you make them?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Napaman's profile


5534 posts in 5126 days

#11 posted 05-23-2008 04:19 AM

my wife…the math teacher will love you forever…no one ever thinks math is important (incliuding this dumb history teacher—-who is beginning to appreciate FRACTIONS more and more)...

Beautiful work…I really like this…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4942 days

#12 posted 05-23-2008 04:30 AM

Sweet Puzzle

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Allison's profile


820 posts in 4848 days

#13 posted 05-23-2008 06:48 AM

I did not mean to sound THAT hard on myself , but thanks everyone. What I was trying to say, you take a inch tree out of an inlay to bring it up, If you want that pattern to be the dimension it is to begin with , you have to ADD that inch into the background, because that tree is no longer there taking that inch of space! I hope I was clearer on that. Just about everything I have made with intarsia started out as a scrolling pattern, but this was soooo different being a inlay pattern where everything is meant to fit together (like intarsia) but flat)So that is where the math comes in. I learned (and actually knew, just was not thinking) that if you take an inch you must replace the inch for the dimensions of the pattern to be right! In other words my sky, my land all had to be increased, hence the much smaller outcome.
Actually I think it is kind of funny!
My teachers always told me I would need to use math throughout my life!
Tell THAT to a rebellious teenager! Or any teen for that matter! LOL!

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5295 days

#14 posted 05-23-2008 07:21 AM

Beautiful intarsia Allison, wish I could do as well. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4817 days

#15 posted 05-23-2008 12:20 PM

great job Allison. I agree that math is such a big part in woodworking, thats why its good that I’m in school now so if makes it easier for me. what wood did you use for the tree, its amazing, it looks like leopard wood but i’m not sure.

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