OK, The French Veneer (at last) #10: Ten days of cutting .... but the end motifs are done

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 12-17-2014 01:27 AM 3003 reads 1 time favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Just Some Pretty Pictures Part 10 of OK, The French Veneer (at last) series Part 11: Mounting the end motifs »

With the design decided and the drawer front marquetry installed the time finally came to tackle the cutting of the end motifs. This is by far the most ambitious motif I have ever attempted and I can say in all honesty, I wasn’t all that sure I could do it.

I decided to use the painting in wood technique as the motif lends itself to the style and there were to be only two copies. I made up a packet with two layers of Poplar face to face, two layers of Ebony face to face and three layers of basswood waster to carry the other components. The two Ebony layers were made up of the previously fitted drawer side components veneer taped together. The flower and basket parts were added to the wasters and were Araracanga, Bloodwood, and Curly Maple.

Very careful alignment of the layers to each other, and even more importantly to the pattern, was absolutely essential.

Then, at last, it was time to drill a hole (three actually) and start cutting.

This is the first piece that I cut. What you see is the bottom plywood piece from the cut placed in the top plywood hole. This is a check that I repeat often during stack cutting to be sure I’m not getting conical.

As I cut, I assembled the parts in a drawer, closely fitted because there were so many tiny parts, many that looked very much alike. This was quite scary as the picture grew because all it would take would be to bump the tray and I would be spending hours trying to reassemble the parts. I took lots of pictures, one every time I moved a group of parts from my working tray to the storage tray.

.... You get the idea.

Finally, after ten days and ~ 40 hours of cutting, it was done and I could at last open the packet and remove the backgrounds. This meant I could move the “loose” assemblies into the enclosure of the Ebony grounds and breathe a small sigh of relief.

At this point, if you are Patrice or Patrick, you shade all the pieces and then assemble on a paper mounting board with HHG but since I’m not and I’m nowhere near as confident in my shading, I pre-assembled on clear adhesive backed shelf liner. This gives me a chance to look at my motifs and make changes if I want and it also allows me to remove the pieces, one at a time, sand shade them, and replace them. I like to be able to see how the shading looks and maybe adjust my technique a little as I go.

Here are the two motifs as first assembled.

Here I have changed some of the flower colors. I had three colors for each part and only needed two assemblies so I could make changes after seeing the finished pictures.

And after taking all that time to cut, shading only took about four hours for the first one. This photo shows dramatically how much difference can be made by sand shading.

All and all, I am very pleased to have gotten this far without losing a single tiny piece and with no serious mishaps. It is by no means perfect but I feel like I have crossed a line in my marquetry journey with this cut.

I still have to shade the second one, mount them on paper mounting boards, fill with black mastic, and separate them into threes before they get near the drawer sides, but I feel like the hardest part is done ...... for this part.

Thanks for looking in.


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

33 comments so far

View Texcaster's profile


1286 posts in 2216 days

#1 posted 12-17-2014 01:40 AM

Wow! That is pretty sensational!

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Woodbridge's profile


3692 posts in 2960 days

#2 posted 12-17-2014 01:43 AM

Wow, I wish I had something more profound to say, but wow is what comes to mind. So much detail, so intricate looking. Your work is amazing.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Druid's profile


2152 posts in 3337 days

#3 posted 12-17-2014 01:50 AM

Ok, when is the textbook scheduled to be published? Your attention to detail, along with the clear explanations and photos, could easily become a popular reference manual.
Really interesting and inspiring Paul. Thanks.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11873 posts in 3970 days

#4 posted 12-17-2014 02:02 AM

It’s going to be fantastic…..Heck, it already is.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3495 days

#5 posted 12-17-2014 02:03 AM

Going to be spectacular. You’re going to have to do some clowns, or maybe puppies, something shamefully banal, to come down from the buzz of just working on this project. LOL

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View DocSavage45's profile


8872 posts in 3384 days

#6 posted 12-17-2014 02:30 AM

Instead of saying “WOW” I’m just sighing! LOL! You my friend are in another world of crafting!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View JoeMcGlynn's profile


219 posts in 2895 days

#7 posted 12-17-2014 03:27 AM

That’s just fabulous Paul, thanks for sharing.

It’s amazing to see this come together, and I’m totally blown away by the work your doing. I’m eager to get started with my own marquetry projects now that the chevy is finished. I ordered some dyed veneer and plan to amuse myself with making some more sample pieces and assorted tchotchke.

-- Blog:

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

23554 posts in 3647 days

#8 posted 12-17-2014 03:30 AM

just…WOW…............look at all those tiny pieces. What an exquisite piece it will be!!

Nice work, Paul….....................Jim

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

View MontanaBob's profile


871 posts in 3226 days

#9 posted 12-17-2014 03:53 AM

Thanks Paul, It is really outstanding to watch this process….

View kiefer's profile


5688 posts in 3209 days

#10 posted 12-17-2014 04:02 AM

Ok no more WOW I am stunned by what you just presented and you say you are not done .
This is absolutely mind boggling that one person can have that kind of endurance and focus .
But I see your secret to all of this and I spotted it in the eighth picture the good luck penny that explains it .LOL
Thanks for entertaining us and you deserve all the comments above and then some and a tutorial certainly is a thing for you to keep in mind since you are keeping such good records with pictures .

Thanks for the terrific blog segment .


-- Kiefer

View shipwright's profile


8399 posts in 3340 days

#11 posted 12-17-2014 04:44 AM

Thanks everyone, I’m pretty happy with this myself.

Peter, you talk about intricate! but it is really only about half of the original Gole motif.

John, Thanks but I’ll leave the book writing to the people who are actually good at this. I’m feeling better about my progress but I’m not in that club just yet.

Roger, You nailed it. I’m worn out on this at the moment so I have a few simple little boxes to knock off and a chevy reno on for the next couple of weeks. Then I have to start thinking about the main motif …. the top.

Klaus, This is as close to a tutorial as I can get. I strongly recommend ASFM for anyone who wants to learn how to do this correctly.

Thanks again

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

View Longcase's profile


101 posts in 1989 days

#12 posted 12-17-2014 04:50 AM

Paul, Very nice indeed. Well done, Keith

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3434 posts in 4254 days

#13 posted 12-17-2014 05:27 AM


This is really incredible! Thanks for the picture showing the difference after the sand shading. It really brings the piece to life.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10784 posts in 4594 days

#14 posted 12-17-2014 06:56 AM

Yes!! That is a Major WOW!!


I just cannot see myself coming close to doing that… with all of that ULTRA SMALL stuff all over the place… One sneeze and I would be a basket case! LOL

I’m glad that you can DO IT!

You do absolutely WONDERFUL work! I admire you!

Beautiful work…

Thank you very much for your work in taking the pictures and posting it for us!
... I know that That takes a lot of time and effort to do… and you do it well!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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

View Dutchy's profile


3431 posts in 2710 days

#15 posted 12-17-2014 07:52 AM


Thank you for taking time to make pictures and tell us how you did it. I like to read it very much! But more I like the things you are making. GREAT.


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