Retooling the Shop to Acommodate Marquetry #1: Creating new kinds of storage.

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 08-21-2011 12:45 AM 5468 reads 4 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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It all started when I got my first “Pizza Box of Veneer” from Lee Valley.

It’s not too hard to find a place around a shop the size of mine for a pizza box but veneer is
fragile and I already had quite a bit of shop cut veneer lying around that needed a home so I made my first veneer storage drawers. This is just one pizza box of veneer.

They worked very well and the shop was much less cluttered. They are built inside my vertical plywood storage area so they are 4 feet deep and held even my longest shop cut pieces.

Then I built my chevalet and the complexity of my marquetry became much greater and the pieces became much smaller. It was clear that I now needed marquetry shelves (trays). and a place to store them along with the assorted veneer saws, veneer tape, brass wire brush etc., etc., ect. that were accumulating in support of the new venture.

These are three of the marquetry shelves that I made. They are used to organize the many small parts prior to assembly.

I decided to make use of a gap between two sets of drawers in my outfeed table and make room for the shelves and a few more drawers there. They currently have no handles and are bare MDF because of course there will be a large marquetry piece that covers the area. (eventually)

Again all was organized, not a common thing around my shop, and all was working well until I ordered a variety of veneer from a mail order supplier. When it arrived I found that most of it was in 12’ pieces.

Clearly more storage was required but this was going to be a little harder than finding room for a pizza box. Here’s my solution. The box is over twelve feet long and about four inches deep by two feet wide.

It serves as a marquetry work space on the closed end and when the other end isn’t needed open I can use the whole box as a bench for cutting and assembling.

And of course you will have noticed the lines (ropes to non sailors) to the ceiling. They pull the whole thing including work in progress on top up out of the way when not in use.

So there you have it, a few small changes that you too may have to make if you fall for marquetry. It may seem like a lot of trouble but I have had more fun with this than I ever would have thought.

That’s it. comments,etc always welcome.


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

21 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4691 days

#1 posted 08-21-2011 01:14 AM

Well done Paul great planning and organizing .


View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4422 days

#2 posted 08-21-2011 01:16 AM

Paul, It definitely shows that you are having fun with your marquetry. When you enjoy what you do nothinh is too much work or trouble.

View LittlePaw's profile


1572 posts in 4192 days

#3 posted 08-21-2011 02:17 AM

With all the left over sailboat hardware/parts from my sailing days past, I also used them to rig hoists for hanging plants at the front and back porches, bicycles from the garage ceiling, a dumb waiter from the loft and more. I also have a line bag (rope sack to non sailors) that I reach into from time to time . . . sure bring back pleasant memories from my sailing days. Nice job, Paul!

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

View degoose's profile


7281 posts in 4469 days

#4 posted 08-21-2011 02:46 AM

Glad you are so homogenised…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3653 posts in 4826 days

#5 posted 08-21-2011 04:51 AM


You certainly have some great ideas for storage! When we first started reading your blog, we thought we should sell you our sheet music cabinet. It would be pretty good for a veneer cabinet for smaller pieces, too.

We really like the ascending/descending storage table. How does it work to assure that it draws up/down level? It would be quite a mess to have all the work on top of it slide off the end!

Thanks for sharing another of your brilliant ideas!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View HorstPeter's profile


121 posts in 3943 days

#6 posted 08-21-2011 05:08 AM

I absolutely love your idea of the ceiling storage. Currently I don’t get to do any woodworking, but I can see myself making one of these as well and think it might be a nice idea to plan it out to include lighting on the bottom. That way it would act as ceiling light over my workbench and storage at the same time. Just need to make sure it doesn’t get too warm in there so the veneers don’t dry out too much I guess, but it shouldn’t be an issue with the lighting I have in mind and some proper construction.

Thank you for sharing this.


View rance's profile


4278 posts in 4274 days

#7 posted 08-21-2011 06:14 AM

It looks like you have a system that works for you. You might also keep on the lookout for a blueprint cabinet or a flat file cabinet.

I’ve realized over the last year that it would behoove me to organize some containers of various sizes/shapes to store projects in progress. I rarely have just one thing in progress at a time. I bounce from one to the other depending on the phase of the moon(it seems like). If all the parts for a project are not properly coralled together, pieces can(and sometimes do) easilly get lost.

I am curious though about your 12’ pieces. Given your typical use of smaller pieces, I would imagine that you could easilly cut those in half to make storage easier without much risk of making a piece of veneer unusable.

I recently got a bunch of veneers from an auction and they are in rolls that don’t store very well. I’ve got to come up with a better way to store them. Thanks for sharing your solutions.

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

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4048 days

#8 posted 08-21-2011 06:50 AM

Great thinking.

I was suspending bicycles in the garage with pulley for a short time until the litle one decided to take his down…
Certainly a great use of space especially for 12’.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 4036 days

#9 posted 08-21-2011 09:27 AM

Paul, Nice way and great idea. It is just like a filing cabinet in our office. The hanging storage is space saver. That is what we call… ship’s housekeeping to be seaworthy. Thanks for posting.

-- Bert

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4448 days

#10 posted 08-21-2011 11:42 AM

Creative and practical solutions Paul. It’a always interesting to see how shops evolve with changing interests and priorities. Boat builders probably have stowage solutions in their DNA.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5093 days

#11 posted 08-21-2011 01:42 PM

Hi Paul;

When you get into someting, you really get into it, huh!

Nice set-up.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View shipwright's profile


8726 posts in 3912 days

#12 posted 08-21-2011 04:29 PM

Thanks everyone. Just pointing out that a new venture may not always be as simple as it first appears.

L/W The four lines all terminate in a “manifold” board for lack of a better description. Then a single line pulls on that piece and assures that all lines are pulled equally.

Rance I don’t just use veneer for marquetry and besides it’s just not in my wiring to cut a piece that doesn’t have to be cut. You can really regret that sort of thing sometimes.

Mike That’s probably true.

Lee No point in doing it if you aren’t prepared to do it right. (OK correctly)

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

View jeepturner's profile


946 posts in 3906 days

#13 posted 08-21-2011 04:40 PM

Paul, Do you use some kind of counter weight on your floating table? How much does it weigh?
(floating table because I didn’t have a better noun to describe it)

-- Mel,

View shipwright's profile


8726 posts in 3912 days

#14 posted 08-21-2011 05:26 PM

No it pulls down with a three part tackle.
It’s still a little heavy but not too bad. I’ll post a photo later today.

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

View shipwright's profile


8726 posts in 3912 days

#15 posted 08-21-2011 09:19 PM

This is the “manifold” board. It needs to be a little stronger or have the single line pulling from a harness to both ends.

This is the tackle. The shaper finally has a use. I actually do use it, just not all that often.

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

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