Gaming Table Marquetry #1: Re-creating Gaming Table using Pewter, Brass and Faux Tortoiseshell

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Blog entry by smokey56 posted 11-02-2016 11:54 PM 1519 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Gaming Table Marquetry series Part 2: Addendum to series #1 »

In this first issue of a series of re-creating a gaming table will begin with collecting the materials and the research on putting the project together. Below is the table housed presently in a German museum Schloss Anholt near The Netherlands/German border. There were some difficulties in getting accurate measurements and specific designs, so my wife, Ronelle, and I “had” to go over there to see and embrace the table. The curator and the staff there were very permissive in measuring it. Below are two photos of the table—one with the lid closed and the other with the lid open exposing the backgammon portion.

These photos show that it is made of pewter, brass and tortoiseshell. Below is a closer look at the pips that comprise the backgammon portion. This photo gave me the guidelines as to the arrangement of the three materials and their arrangement in the design.

This gaming table was made circa 1744 but the country of origin is unknown. It is presented in Pierre Ramond’s Vol.II “Masterpieces of Marquetry”. It was constructed by the Boulle technique (tarsia a incastro). My love for the game of backgammon attracted me to this table. It contains three different games—two others are below the backgammon portion. The sides, front, back and legs are all of the three materials plus bordered with ebony and rosewood. I have chosen pewter, brass and faux tortoiseshell to re-creat the table. Of course, I cannot use real tortoiseshell; so I’m using faux tortoiseshell which comes to me with a clear background. I’m using the same method of the original by gluing colored Japanese rice paper on the back to get the same desired effect.

I will end this session with a sample of what I’ve done thus far. It is the center portion of the table seen in one of the above photos. It is one of the more difficult areas to cut and assemble. There are two of these and I finally finished the second one.

Subsequent blogs will explain the details of re-creating, cutting, assembly and problems encountered.

3 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8747 posts in 4011 days

#1 posted 11-03-2016 12:12 AM

Your piece looks great Ken and I know the table from Ramond’s book but alas I’m only able to see the last photo.
This really is a remarkable piece of work you have undertaken and you have done it so well. If I’m not mistaken you have the legs done already do you not?

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

View Longcase's profile


102 posts in 2660 days

#2 posted 11-03-2016 01:56 AM

Ken, I can only see the last picture but that looks very impressive.

View madburg's profile


346 posts in 2056 days

#3 posted 11-04-2016 02:45 AM

Really looking forward to seeing more about your progress with this amazing piece.

-- Madburg WA

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