FANTASY MARQUETRY #2: Preparing Veneers for a packet

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Blog entry by stefang posted 08-16-2014 03:51 PM 3619 reads 0 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: PLANNING, DRAWING AND VENEER SELECTION Part 2 of FANTASY MARQUETRY series Part 3: Preparing a packet For Cutting »

Finally was able to get a little work done on my wizard marquetry. I was planning to make a large picture about the size of two A4 pieces of paper, but I chickened out thinking that it might be wise to keep it A4 size instead to make it more manageable to cut on my Chevalet since I’m so inexperienced with it.

The first thing I did was to redraw the picture in the smaller format. This time I remembered to flip the picture first to get a mirror image before tracing it on my light table. This is done so that I can cut the backside of the veneer with the face side down and when I finally glue the back to a substrate the picture will be correctly oriented.This is the new tracing. I did number all the different pieces in the drawing to correspond with the numbers I assigned to the veneers after the photo was taken.

After tracing the drawing I made a transparency to use as a viewfinder to select the positioning of the veneers. This is done to take advantage of the best grain and coloring options as showing in the 2nd photo.

The transparency also helped me to find the size needed for each patch. I’ll explain what the patches are in a later part of this series. These patches were then cut and the backs covered with marquetry tape to reinforce the veneer for sawing. The photo shows the tape being brushed with a brass brush to insure good adhesion. In this case the tape was taken from my tape dispenser which has a wetting roller to moisten the glue. The next pic shows the veneer covered with paper and lastly it is put between a couple of platters and clamped. When I take them out next time they should stay flat and ready for the next step. I still have more veneers to prepare, but this shows the process.

Remember this is not a tutorial. I am doing it the way I think is right, so if you see anything wrong please don’t hesitate to let me know. Also please ask if you need a further explanation of any of the steps shown above. Thanks for following along!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

34 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8753 posts in 4046 days

#1 posted 08-16-2014 04:10 PM

Looks good Mike but newsprint and HHG is cheaper and quicker, especially as the pieces get larger.
Good to see you getting into the project.

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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4582 days

#2 posted 08-16-2014 04:17 PM

Yes, I forgot to get my HHG going today so I just used the tape this time. I promise I will try to mend my ways. I used most of my time getting the new drawing done. I hope to be a little more productive next time. I have to admit that I am finding this drawing hard to duplicate with pieces of veneer. It is a real challenge. I hope I’m up to the task. Of course that is half the fun. I’m not afraid of failing, but I hate to waste my time!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4202 days

#3 posted 08-16-2014 04:43 PM

You’re lookin’ great. Hope my first project goes as well!

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

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4413 days

#4 posted 08-16-2014 04:47 PM

OK….it is the weekend….yesterday I recovered from a late twin delivery on Thursday night.

So today my brain was ready to work at fun things and I read both of these installments. I am mostly reading these out of curiosity. I am interested in detail work. But I have never done any woodworking with fine detail.

As an aside, I am in the early stages of designing a quilt for a built in lighted niche in the wall at La Conner. It is above the gas fireplace in the living room. I plan on making a heron standing in water as the central figure. So I am collecting photographs, and will then piece parts of the photo together to control the background, time of day etc. (“Photoshopping” pictures is something I have done for decades for a variety of reasons, so I am reasonably skilled at it.)

Then I will make patches of the picture just like you did with the wizard. Then I will make full size patterns of each of the patches. This quilt needs to be approximately 3.5 feet wide, and 4.5 feet high, so making the full size pattern will be interesting. I have made full size precise cutout patterns using Sketchup before, but for this project I will use CorelDraw. It can handle large items and will print them out as separate pages ready to be taped or glued together.

So I am kind of the artist in this quilt thing, to a point. Then Sherie’s part is to select the fabrics and put it together. She has good quilting capabilities at both Anchorage and La Conner.

Technically, marquetry is a totally different problem than quilting, of course. But there is some similarity. When you talked about using your light box, it reminded me of the light box that I revamped for Sherie to use in her quilting and applique hobbies, and my mind drifted to the heron project.

Sorry for the diversion again….........nasty habit…...........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26816 posts in 4354 days

#5 posted 08-16-2014 04:50 PM

Mike, you are on your way. Can’t wait to see the finished product. You will some day be Shipwright of Norway!!

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

View Dutchy's profile


4194 posts in 3417 days

#6 posted 08-16-2014 05:14 PM

Hello Mike.

You know (at this moment) I,m not in for to do some marquetry, but really I like your contribution, and I hope you will also show how your cevalet is working. BTW Did you already buy a sander?


View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4582 days

#7 posted 08-16-2014 05:45 PM

Roger Thanks for your encouragement

Jim Bertelson I’m always interested in hearing what you have to say Jim. I envy you your skill with photoshop. I really should buy the program and learn it, but I just have to focus on one thing at a time to save my sanity. Your quilt project sounds like fun and it’s great that you and your wife will be doing a project together. I wish I could do that with my wife. She has the talent, but she’s having a problem with the skin on her fingers. It just breaks open and get very sore to the point that she can barely do any handwork these days.

Jim Jakosh I am more likely to expire before that happens Jim, but I appreciate the thought anyway.

Here it is. I’ve even got some wheels mounted on it. I’ve tried it out, and yes, I love it already. It works perfect with no tracking problems (so far anyway).

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

116 posts in 4163 days

#8 posted 08-16-2014 05:53 PM

Shipwright, try GIMP, the free version of Photoshop. There is Inkscape for vector graphics.

-- Steven Davis - see me at

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22441 posts in 4924 days

#9 posted 08-16-2014 06:14 PM

Looks like you are off and running Mike. Did you get the sander primarily to prepare veneers?

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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4582 days

#10 posted 08-16-2014 06:41 PM

Steven I think you probably meant me (Mike) not Shipwright. I have Inkscape, but I prefer using my light table. Photoshop is a different story though and GIMP might be worth a try. Thanks for the tip. I do have another program I like and use a lot ‘Rapid Resizer’. With it I can make picture as large as I want and print it out. The larger the picture the more pieces of paper.

Bob No, but it could prove useful for that too. I still want to make stuff other than marquetry and the sander is mainly for that, but it would be real useful for veneers too.

Purchased marquetry veneers are not all the exact same thickness. When you put paper on the face of a veneer before cutting, that side becomes flat while the back side which will eventually get glued to a substrate has varying thickness. This has to be leveled out before gluing it to a substrate. That is usually done by sanding down the thickest ones and then filling the thinnest ones. If you sand the whole marquetry down to the height of the thinnest ones your marquetry will probably get way too thin.

On the other hand if you cut your own veneers on the bandsaw at a little over 1/16” you can sand them an even thickness to 1/16” or even down to 1/32” on the drum sander. I had a long(ish) leftover piece of maple from my chevalet project about 4” wide that I sanded to 1/32” and it did a fantastic job. The thickness throughout was very consistent with only inconsequential differences.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3666 days

#11 posted 08-16-2014 07:22 PM

Thanks Mike. I’m looking forward to you next post as I work on the marquetry panel for my chair. I’ve only done marquetry in a couple seminars at Lee Valley, so as I strike out on my own it will be good to have your blog to refer to.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4582 days

#12 posted 08-16-2014 08:16 PM

Hi Peter You are likely to learn more from my mistakes that what I do right. It’s all part of the fun.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View poospleasures's profile


865 posts in 3732 days

#13 posted 08-16-2014 11:09 PM

Hi Mike,
You guys are speaking a foreign language to me. I will try yo keep up. This subject holds interest with me but I see you all are way ahead of my efforts.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View robscastle's profile


8280 posts in 3452 days

#14 posted 08-16-2014 11:59 PM


Very interesting work, the use of transparency is a great idea for selecting grain direction and general appearance of the inserts.

I have a friend a couple of blocks away who is in his 90’s and still active
He drops in for a chat regularly and has offered me some veneer as He does not do any wood wood any more

After seeing what you are doing and the fact I enjoy using veneers I may take him up on the offer

Good to hear the sander has been well recieved. Its a great tool.

PS there are two software applications with windows a photo viewer and paint both are good graphic altering and manipulation programs if you dont use them already

-- Regards Rob

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4582 days

#15 posted 08-17-2014 08:27 AM

PP You are probably confused because of the terminology. I suggest you buy a marquetry book. William A. Lincoln’s Marquetry Manual is a real good one. It is full packed with a lot of great info and covers all the different kind of marquetry methods. I didn’t like it too much at first as I thought it had too many words and not enough pictures, and I also had a tough time learning the terminology, but with time I have come to appreciate it a lot.

Thanks for the tip Robert, but I have mac, not windows. I really hate using the time needed to learn these programs without being sure that It will be time well spent.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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