Marie's Table... A Marquetry Adventure #3: A Sidetrack and finishing the Tabletop

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 07-21-2012 11:48 PM 7783 reads 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: More Marquetry for the Top. Part 3 of Marie's Table... A Marquetry Adventure series Part 4: The Marqueteur's Nightmare »

When the last episode ended our fearless hero was in a quandary. He had ditched the purpleheart garland in favor of a rope band that he didn’t like either and was in search of a way to bring some dark color back into the pale interior of the table top. (OK enough third person already) Anyway the decision was to re-cut the “music” motif, this time in the piece by piece or classic method. That would render four identical copies for my trouble and I could use them on other projects. At the same time I needed to make something nice to show to a couple of local galleries so I used one of the motifs to make a simple tray.

That left me three copies, one with a purpleheart field for the table.

Which looked like this.

It was time to leave this part for a bit and do something else for a while so I assembled the rest of the top and glued it up to the baltic birch substrate. My press isn’t big enough to accommodate the whole thing and the hot glue would be cooling before I could assemble everything anyway so….(You may have seen my post when I built the press and wondered what the bar-b-ques were for.) I took my time spreading my glue and making sure my piece was accurately aligned on the substrate and then put half of it in the press with a hot 1/2” aluminium caul on top of it. This re-liquefies the glue and presses at the same time for the best of all possible glue joints.

When the first side cooled I re-heated the caul and pressed the other side whose glue was now stone cold.

Then I got to work cutting in the banding between the ebony border and the birdseye field..

A couple of quick jigs and my cheap but wonderful HF trimmer took a bit of the tension out of the task.

Then I milled up some tubi (queen ebony) on my big router table.

Glued it on the edges… Oh yes, the time away from thinking about the medallion gave me clarity. I realized that the solution was to go back to the original medallion and tie it to the outer part by using a purpleheart band. Just enough dark in the middle…. Happy at last!

and added a 1/8” holly band to join the ebonies. In this photo a protective coat of epoxy has been applied.
I’ll explain why the epoxy in the next segment.

That’s enough for me for one go. Next time I’ll step away from the progress and use some of the “opportunities” that came up on this table top to explain the marqueteur’s greatest nightmare, sanding through. It isn’t the end of the world but when you first notice it you would be hard to convince of that.

Thanks for looking in

Questions, comments and critiques always welcome.


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

22 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3937 days

#1 posted 07-22-2012 12:01 AM

well you didn’t disappoint Paul, and you did yourself well by making more for other pieces, very frugal of time and energy…if my back could handle the sitting and cutting of these small parts, i would give this discipline a go and have some fun, but ill stay with what i can do and try to be the best at that, thanks for sharing your talent, i enjoy it so much…hows friendship these days…....i hope many a morning is shared with your cup of joe…and sunrises too…..grizz

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

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4277 posts in 3195 days

#2 posted 07-22-2012 12:03 AM

Wow You did a wonderful work of art there. It is hard to believe it is all by hand like you have shown.

You are a Master of Marquetry I do believe and would love to take some classes from you.


-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View bobasaurus's profile


3618 posts in 3818 days

#3 posted 07-22-2012 12:38 AM

That is an amazing table. Your marquetry skills are superb… I can’t really fathom all the steps that went into this, though someday I’ll go back and see if I can figure it all out.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4613 days

#4 posted 07-22-2012 12:48 AM

Fantastic work, Paul.

Makes we miss being in the shop.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View a1Jim's profile


117950 posts in 4211 days

#5 posted 07-22-2012 12:54 AM

Wow Paul your work keeps getting more and more amazing just when I thought your last piece was way beyond perfect in workmanship and design then your next work of art pushes the envelope even higher . Congratulations on another masterpiece .


View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10897 posts in 4686 days

#6 posted 07-22-2012 01:12 AM

Awesome… Beautiful… WOW…

Thank you for your hard work documenting this…


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

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 4464 days

#7 posted 07-22-2012 01:13 AM

Great to see the progression of thought that gets you to your destination Paul! Wonderful work.

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

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 2840 days

#8 posted 07-22-2012 01:23 AM

YES! That is it! Beautifully done Paul!!!! You nailed it! Thanks for sharing!


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View tinnman65's profile


1398 posts in 4048 days

#9 posted 07-22-2012 02:05 AM

Great post Paul, I think that glue up was very cool, I’ve only tried hide glue a couple times on very small things. I really should experiment a little more with it, it looks like it could come in very handy. There’s no reheating Unibond 800 and re clamping LOL!

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

View Boxguy's profile


2868 posts in 2901 days

#10 posted 07-22-2012 02:11 AM


Thanks for making this so much fun to read. Thanks too for all the extra work it takes to add in the pictures that make this so clear an explanation. The heated caul is a master stroke. Great idea.

-- Big Al in IN

View DocSavage45's profile


8885 posts in 3476 days

#11 posted 07-22-2012 02:43 AM


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Karson's profile


35212 posts in 5034 days

#12 posted 07-22-2012 03:47 AM

Paul: A beautiful creation.

Do you still have any hair left, or is it all pulled out?

-- 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 lightweightladylefty's profile


3482 posts in 4346 days

#13 posted 07-22-2012 04:21 AM


That is quite the big router table! Thanks for taking so much time to carry us through each step. Realizing from your dimensions just how intricate the design is has us even more impressed with your table. It is an heirloom already!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View shipwright's profile


8466 posts in 3432 days

#14 posted 07-22-2012 05:18 AM

Thanks for he kind words everyone.

Al, The heated cauls are a very old trick. They are mentioned among the tools of the marqueteur’s workshop in Pierre Ramond’s “marquetry”, the bible of French marquetry.

Paul, Hot hide glue is an acquired taste with a definite learning curve but if you stick with it (yes, I know) the rewards are many and you won’t likely go back. I’ve thought of doing a “Hide glue for beginners” primer if there was interest but for now I’ll just get this blog finished..

Karson, Yes I have lots of hair left but my brain overheats and sometimes smoke comes out of my ears when I think too hard.

Thanks again

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

View sras's profile


5308 posts in 3763 days

#15 posted 07-22-2012 05:21 AM

Wowser! You are inspiring me. I might have to put marquetry on my skills to learn list. This is just AWESOME!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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