.....and they all looked just the same....

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Project by shipwright posted 08-16-2013 01:15 AM 2730 views 6 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m back experimenting with “watercolor dying” marquetry. These little hummer boxes were made to determine the feasibility of assembling and finishing hand dyed marquetry without sanding at all. When dyes are applied this way they don’t get to soak in much so sanding is difficult without losing the color.

The marquetry pieces were cut Boulle style on the chevalet from a packet of six layers, all maple. After cutting the individual pieces were dyed with an artist’s brush and reassembled. At this point a coat of wipe on poly was applied to seal in the dye and they were applied to a maple substrate.

All six box components (sides, tops and bottoms) are identical square pieces with miters on all sides. The tops were reduced in thickness to allow for the marquetry. After assembly with masking tape and hot hide glue the tops were sawn off and a mitered lip placed inside for a snug “snap down” fit. A final sanding made sure everything lined up perfectly. The finish is satin wipe on poly. For very simple mitered boxes they are actually quite attractive.

I was keeping track of time to see if they could ever be made profitably. They took about two hours each first time and could be done in not much more than half that if they were cut and assembled twelve up instead of six.

Hand dying marquetry fascinates me and with what these taught me I have started a much bigger, more complex piece. You’ll have to wait for that one.

Thanks for looking in. ............... I hope I made you smile.

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

29 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23609 posts in 3666 days

#1 posted 08-16-2013 01:35 AM

Very cool and it looks like dainty work. I think that if you finish them with a clear coat, then you can wet sand and level the surface of finish material without disturbing the dyed pieces….........Jim

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

View Woodenwizard's profile


1360 posts in 3604 days

#2 posted 08-16-2013 01:46 AM

Nicely done Paul. even If I don’t get into the coloring, I need to try my hand at the Boulle style packet cutting. Having multiple copies would be very beneficial. So much to do and so little time. I guess I just need to add it to my to do list.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2693 days

#3 posted 08-16-2013 02:08 AM

Simply MAGNIFICANT! I particularly like the Humming bird pattern and the quality and clearness of the maple is really something to admire

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4484 days

#4 posted 08-16-2013 02:11 AM

Nice project Paul. Cant wait to see the next piece your working on.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3864 days

#5 posted 08-16-2013 02:19 AM

there really beautiful paul, its always fun trying new things , and you have done a wonderful job with this…looking forward to the next item of wooden joy….

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

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3384 days

#6 posted 08-16-2013 02:48 AM

Yes Paul I can vouch for your ability to produce a series of identical pieces as you did with the coaster set you sent me, I have looked at these several times but can’t see any variations,
These are lovely little colourful boxes & would make great gifts .
Well done “Inlay king”
cheers Pete

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3639 days

#7 posted 08-16-2013 03:48 AM

They ae very delicate and beautiful, Paul. How big are the boxes?

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10809 posts in 4613 days

#8 posted 08-16-2013 03:55 AM

They all look very nice & cool to me…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 4390 days

#9 posted 08-16-2013 04:24 AM

Well done Paul, I really have to try this. The hummingbird is a universally recognized motif and I really like how the flower turned out too. You should have no trouble selling these. What is your marketing plan?

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

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4273 days

#10 posted 08-16-2013 05:05 AM

Amazing boxes, the superb execution is incredible!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3721 days

#11 posted 08-16-2013 06:01 AM

I like the pattern, I like the simplicity of the boxes, and I admire your workmanship. Looks like a good pattern for a beginner to try. Thanks for sharing your skills.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1099 posts in 2873 days

#12 posted 08-16-2013 08:10 AM

Very nice! Did you add a black border around each colour or is that appearance from the dying process?

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View stefang's profile


16862 posts in 3895 days

#13 posted 08-16-2013 10:44 AM

These boxes are very attractive Paul. The dyed colors do give a bright decorative look. I like the humming bird motif too as I haven’t seen a live one since I lived in California. I think that was in when I was a little kid. The flowers came out extremely well too. I’m glad to see that you are experimenting as you always come up with interesting and creative ideas.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3481 days

#14 posted 08-16-2013 01:37 PM

Very beautiful and delicate! I love them and the colors are soft and pretty!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View kiefer's profile


5689 posts in 3228 days

#15 posted 08-16-2013 01:57 PM

Nice work Paul !
Love the colours .
Six at a time of these beauties ?
How about three left and three right facing is that possible ,just a thought .
I suspect Christmas presents being made .

-- Kiefer

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