Two Very Helpful Tools For Marquetry And Other Pattern Work

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Blog entry by stefang posted 01-05-2013 10:20 AM 4320 reads 3 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I won’t pretend that I can teach you marquetry guys anything, but I would like to share a couple of ways that might take some of the pain out of making patterns for your marquetry work, your scrolling work or any other pattern you might need, whether for small things or even furniture.

I recently bought a program called Rapid Resizer from

1. It can make the image any size you want. Any image sized over a single page will print out on multiple pages.
2. You can print an outline and color it like in a coloring book for kids.
3. You can have the colored image and the outline in the program and a click determines which one is printed.
4. The outline can be printed in red which is great for scrolling, as you can better see where the blade is.
5. The program can make a lined image from a photo or illustration (sometimes too detailed).

For me the most important feature of this program is that it is very easy to use. The menus and options are very limited so you can learn it in minutes instead of days or weeks.

I love the coloring feature. If you are doing an inlay, intarsia or marquetry you can see what colors you have in stock and then color the outlined pieces with those colors to get an idea of what the finished work will look like and to show you what colors go where. You can then print out the colored image as a reference and then with a single click select the outline image to create your cutting pattern.

You can resize the image to as big as your house (or smaller) if you want and it will automatically print out multiple pages to cover the whole image. The individual pages will be automatically printed with small margins to allow for gluing them together.

Here is an example of an outline image that I colored with some wood colors I have in the shop and printed out.


I just bought a new color laser printer. I was tired of replacing ink cartridges all the time. I found out that laser printing is a lot cheaper per copy, but you have to invest in the machine and the toner (powdered ink) is expensive, but it lasts a long long time. I know not everyone is willing to make the outlay for a machine like this, but it will facilitate transferring images to directly your workpiece (wood, metal, plastic, etc.)

If you don’t have a laser printer and don’t want to buy one you can just print out your image, copy it in a copying machine and that will work because copying machines also use toner. This of course won’t work if you copy it using your inkjet printer.

I did this just for fun in color, and I did it relatively quickly so it’s not great. Normally I would only transfer a cutting outline which could be transferred more quickly.

I have searched the net and found different ways to do this. The basic idea is to use heat to reactivate the toner with a regular iron or a purpose made tool that fits onto a wood burner. I used my wife’s iron following these steps:

1. Lay the image face down on the wood surface and attach it with a tape hinge at one end.
2. Set the iron at cotton or wool setting.
3. Use the tip on the pattern lines with pressure and also the bottom over the whole image to heat up the wood.
4. Pull the paper up occasionally to check progress. Ensure the pulled up area is hot before you do this or it will stick onto the wood!
5. The hinge will keep the paper properly in place. Don’t iron the hinge!!

The toner doesn’t release from a paper print very well (that’s what I used on the one above). Some folks are using transparencies because the the toner doesn’t sink into the plastic and therefore transfers easier. There are two disadvantages to this method. Firstly, it is not a good idea to use transparencies in a laser printer as they occasionally melt under the high temperatures and ruin the printer. Secondly, the iron can also melt it. It has been suggested that I use glossy photo paper instead. I haven’t tried that yet, so I’m not recommending it yet. Please be aware that laser printers require special printing paper (thinner than inkjet paper) and also special photo paper (not more expensive).

I inadvertently passed the iron over my scotch tape hinge and got the melt onto the iron. My wife wasn’t too happy about that! She did get it off ok, but she informed me that this can’t happen again or I am dead!

Remember, I’m not very experienced with this stuff myself, but I thought that many of you might find something of use here. Remember, you can use a copying machine instead of a laser printer, so that should open the door for almost everyone.


-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

18 comments so far

View patron's profile


13649 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 01-05-2013 10:44 AM

what did i tell you yesterday
today you would be a master

and here you are

you learn quick

thanks for the info

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Brit's profile


7787 posts in 3319 days

#2 posted 01-05-2013 10:57 AM

Great information Mike, definitely one for the favourites. You’ve probably seen it already, but Marty from sells a pattern transfer tool and you can see a demo of it here. You’ll need to scroll down the page a bit.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View stefang's profile


16712 posts in 3811 days

#3 posted 01-05-2013 11:40 AM

Hi David. I did learn quickly not to mess up my wife’s iron!
Thanks for the video link Andy. The tool looks great. Too bad we have only 220V with special plugs here in Norway or I would consider buying one.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Schwieb's profile


1890 posts in 3938 days

#4 posted 01-05-2013 01:57 PM

Good show Mike. You always do a great job on your blogs. I always learn something.


-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View stefang's profile


16712 posts in 3811 days

#5 posted 01-05-2013 02:07 PM

Thanks Ken. The next one will be more pics and less words.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


21010 posts in 3281 days

#6 posted 01-05-2013 02:14 PM

Thnx for that interesting fact about the difference in printers.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View stefang's profile


16712 posts in 3811 days

#7 posted 01-05-2013 04:37 PM

I’m glad you found it interesting Roger. This is all new to me too. It is so great that we can get info so fast using the internet. I wish I had this sooner. I might have been able to avoid school altogether!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3641 days

#8 posted 01-05-2013 05:12 PM

Very interesting Mike. I have a major graphics suite that will do what Rapid Resizer will do, but it is expensive and has a long learning curve. Of course it does a lot of other things. But Rapid Resizer still looks pretty interesting even to me, just because of the simplicity.

The transfer technique is definitely good information. So I said something to my wife and she promptly told me that it was old hat. In fact she had paper for transferring to cloth. Sure enough, you can find transfer paper and stuff on the internet. Don’t know how that stuff would work with wood, though. I have a color laser printer in my home office, and she has one as well in her hobby room. She prints out patterns and things for quilting, applique, etc.

A while back I attached paper templates on wood with “glue dots” for a much cruder purpose, using paper templates.
(scroll down the page to see the templates in use)

Transfer would have been a good alternative.

As an aside, she also does a lot of tracing, and had purchased a light box. But the strange ballast for the circular fluorescent bulb failed early on. Couldn’t find one in town, so I rebuilt the box to use a couple of small daylight CFLs. It works just as well as the original lighting arrangement, and there are no hard to find parts. Gotta blog on that one, someone else might find it of use.

Like patron says, you quickly become an expert at anything you do, Mike.

Great stuff….......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile


16712 posts in 3811 days

#9 posted 01-05-2013 05:33 PM

Hi Jim. Yes, I think the greatest thing about Rapid Resizer is that it doesn’t do a lot, but what it does, it does very easily and very well. As for the transfer paper, I am aware of it, but it is rather expensive, so even though I haven’t ruled it out yet, I think the regular paper or maybe the photocopy paper will do. That said, if your wife is buying these anyway, I would think that would be a good way to go. Being purpose made almost certainly means they will work much better you lucky dog!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18655 posts in 4153 days

#10 posted 01-05-2013 10:34 PM

Looks like you are in for a real adventure in this ambitious project!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View tomd's profile


2210 posts in 4247 days

#11 posted 01-06-2013 01:53 AM

Thanks for the information, got me thinking.

-- Tom D

View stefang's profile


16712 posts in 3811 days

#12 posted 01-06-2013 12:34 PM

Hi Bob, being in this for the fun is the secret. I’m not too worried about failing at anything I do in woodworking and that makes me a little more adventurous than I might be otherwise. I also don’t let myself be overwhelmed by the awesome woodworking skills of so many other LJs even though I have no hope whatsoever of ever equaling them.

Thanks Tom

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3780 days

#13 posted 01-06-2013 05:45 PM

i want to wish you the best of luck and skill, as i know you have lots of that, and im confidant you will do well at this new venture, im excited to see what you end up doing, stay warm mike, how much snow do you have now…it looked like a winter wonderland the last picture i saw from your place…i loved it…

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

View stefang's profile


16712 posts in 3811 days

#14 posted 01-06-2013 06:45 PM

Hi Grizz, thanks for the good wishes. Our snow is finally melted just in the last day or two. The snow did last a long time, but we have had above freezing weather the last few days. Right now it is foggy and wet. I hope to get into the shop tomorrow, clean up there and then start a new project. I hope all is well with you.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile


11432 posts in 3317 days

#15 posted 01-06-2013 08:13 PM

Great image transfer tip Mike. But that dragon is going to be something else to cut out. My attention span is not long enough to sit and cut out such detail. I have been told I have ADD.
look a squirrel!
Sorry, I am back. Good luck on the marquetry endeavors. I know you will do well at it.
Oh the reason toner works it has plastic in it. That is how the high temp of the fuser adheres the dry ink to the paper.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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