Combining my Passions: Friendship Marquetry. #1: Upgrading my Desk Doors

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 04-21-2013 01:23 AM 3260 reads 2 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Combining my Passions: Friendship Marquetry. series Part 2: Tiny Pieces, Cutting and Management »

Back in 2009 when my “woodworking as a hobby” life was just getting started I became interested in veneering and marquetry. Problem was I knew nothing about marquetry so I used a set of router bushings made for inlaying and adapted a style of marquetry cutting with them. One of my early projects was a couple of doors for a new desk to fit a little nook in my home office.

The text accompanying the project post says ” I will improve” so I guess the time has come to upgrade those doors. This may become a remodel of the whole desk but for now I’m going to get at the doors. They will be done from the same photograph as the originals but now I’m tracing with inkscape and cutting with my chevalet so I’d better make some noticeable improvement. I will be cutting in classic or piece by piece style, making four copies of which two will make the new doors. I’ve been doing the tracing an hour or two here and there for a while but just got around to the actual cutting today. Sit back and relax this one may take a while.

Here are some photos of about four hours of cutting today. I’m still experimenting with colors and may change my mind if I don’t like what I see. That’s one of the nice things about classic style. If you don’t like the color of one element you can just cut it again out of a different veneer. As all pieces are cut independently, none of the rest of the motif is affected.

This one shows the first few pieces cut from some “previously enjoyed” packets I found in the drawer. They are holly, poplar and amaranth (purpleheart). The pattern is on a standard 8 1/2 X 11 page for size reference.

Some of the cut pieces in the tray. Although this will be a larger piece than most I’ve done recently, the pieces are still very small.

These are a coupleof new packets, bloodwood and maple. You can see where I have cut pieces from several copies of the pattern and pasted some to the face of each packet.

This is how far I got today. I used amaranth for the shaded front of the cabin and bloodwood for the sides …. not sure it works. Also will have to re-cut the cabin sides anyway to orient the grain better but generally I’m not unhappy with the fits and most of the tiny parts are proving do-able.

Here’s one more photo. These letters may not appear perfect but they will look good in the context of the completed picture. They are, after all, quite small.

I’m enjoying this. I haven’t done one of these for a while so I am up for it. ..... Question is … are you??

Thanks for dropping in and please ask questions, comment and don’t be afraid to critique.



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

30 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10955 posts in 5023 days

#1 posted 04-21-2013 01:32 AM

Very NICE! ... as usual…

Nice desk setup…

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

View tinnman65's profile


1411 posts in 4385 days

#2 posted 04-21-2013 01:35 AM

Very nice Paul. Those letters are tiny, they must be awfully fragile!! I look forward to seeing the finished piece.

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

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 4800 days

#3 posted 04-21-2013 01:37 AM

oh my, you are in for a journey on this one Paul… those are some tiny pieces. Off to a great start!

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

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3468 days

#4 posted 04-21-2013 01:51 AM

You’ve a good eye and hand for the wave patterns, I’d swear they were alive. That’s why I like your work.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3988 days

#5 posted 04-21-2013 01:56 AM

My eyes are not what they used to be and I would have problems seeing things that small! Plus I have extra large hands that would find difficulty picking up these teeny tiny pieces! Yes, I see tweezers, still same problem for me. You are to be commended for your perseverance and dogged dedication to this beautiful art form. It’s not for everybody!!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4894 days

#6 posted 04-21-2013 02:04 AM

One word OptiVISOR. Have you figured out how to scale in inkscape? I bought a tablet to try my hand at making some designs but nothing worth using for a project yet. Can’t wait to see the new make over.

View DocSavage45's profile


9028 posts in 3813 days

#7 posted 04-21-2013 02:05 AM


Your were a craftsman,

Now you are an artisan. :)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View MontanaBob's profile


873 posts in 3654 days

#8 posted 04-21-2013 02:54 AM

Outstanding Shipwright…

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4279 days

#9 posted 04-21-2013 03:29 AM

A definite test of the eyesight. Very nice…!

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3596 posts in 4683 days

#10 posted 04-21-2013 04:11 AM


I agree on the eyesight comments. Those are some awfully small pieces. Each new work of yours is getting more and more challenging. Keep thrilling us with your artistry!

On a sidenote: has anyone ever considered using a paint-by-number picture for the marquetry pattern?


-- “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 tomd's profile


2221 posts in 4741 days

#11 posted 04-21-2013 04:20 AM

I can’t even imagine cutting pieces that small let alone that many.

-- Tom D

View rance's profile


4274 posts in 4131 days

#12 posted 04-21-2013 05:50 AM

Cutting the ‘1’ would be the worst. But I’m guessing it is inside a packet during cutting so it is held like that.

Wonderful work. Particularly the new Waves. I’d hate to see you take those doors down though. Maybe transfer them to your shop.

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

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1123 posts in 3283 days

#13 posted 04-21-2013 06:13 AM

Wonderful work. Looking forward to following this (no pun intended!) to learn more.

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

View cathyb's profile


843 posts in 4215 days

#14 posted 04-21-2013 07:09 AM

Should be exciting. I’ll be enjoying this ride…......

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3827 days

#15 posted 04-21-2013 09:25 AM

Paul what an upgrade, although I must admit that I do
like the originals. I hope that they are incorporated into
another project as they are all part of where you are today
Looking forward to the voyage no matter how long it takes

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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