FANTASY MARQUETRY #3: Preparing a packet For Cutting

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Blog entry by stefang posted 08-20-2014 04:20 PM 3390 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Preparing Veneers for a packet Part 3 of FANTASY MARQUETRY series Part 4: Evolution of the Wizard Design »

You might remember from the last time that I was busy preparing veneers by cutting them to size and also putting reinforcing tape on the face sides. The marquetry will be cut with the back side up and the design in a reverse position (mirror image) placed on top of the packet.

Taping or gluing paper on the face side protects the veneers from damage and levels the face veneers so that any differences in veneer thicknesses will appear on the back side and can be sanded/filled to level for gluing to a substrate without affecting the face side which is already flat and in good condition.

Something I forgot to mention last time is that when the face side of the veneers is being taped or papered the best side of the veneer should be selected. The ‘open or ‘loose’’ side of the veneer will be the back when finished. This is the side that the knife cuts as the veneer is cut off the log. it is slightly more porous and less shiny than the face side.

Most of the veneers in the packet will be cut in one go on my chevalet. To save veneer and to orient the grain, the veneers will be put into windows cut out in thick poster board which will be the size of the picture plus borders (A4 in this case). Here is a photo of them together with the design transparency I’m using to locate the veneers properly on each layer. There will probably be 6 or 7 layers altogether

The poster board is almost exactly the thickness as my reinforced veneers. With the veneers cut into the poster board they will be flat and thereby easy to compress evenly when stacked in layers. The poster board and the compression will also help to keep the veneers in their proper alignment.

Here you see an alignment board with some nails to keep the poster board and transparency in the correct position while I locate the correct placement of a piece of veneer. I slip the veneer between the transparency and the poster board, put it in position and then trace around it to make cut lines as shown in photo 2. Then I take the poster board to the cutting board and cut out the hole to put the veneer into. Then the veneer is placed in the hole and taped on the back to hold it in place as shown in photo 3.

This is all the work I managed to do today. The last photos show the results of about 3-1/2 hrs. of work. It goes slower than I thought it would, but that’s ok with me. I had hoped to place the veneers more tightly together and to get more per page, but I haven’t been to good at that part.The important thing is to do a good job of it since the success of the marquetry picture will depend on it.

The rule is that veneers for adjacent pieces in the design cannot be placed on the same layer If two pieces of veneer are placed next to each other on adjacent pieces of the design, then they would have have to overlap each other in order to get a cut with two edges that would fit perfectly together. However, overlapping the veneers would create a bulge in the packet which would prevent the packet from maintaining a perfect 90 degree angle to the saw blade. The blade would then be deflected causing an inaccurate cut.

Also please note that none of the veneers in the photos are overlapping each other even though they appear to do so. The are all cut in to the level of the poster board. I had to notch some of the veneers to get others into place. All of the veneers are about 1/2” larger than the actual piece requires.

I hope my wordy explanations of the process are clear enough. I am hoping I will get enough done next time so that I can begin assembling the packet and perhaps wind up with something that can be cut. I should mention that I am also using the design which has the veneer nos. on them, but not yet the part nos. I will have to do that to on the design copy which will be glued onto the packet. Essential to keep track of all the pieces. I hope i don’t screw it all up, but if I do, then I will have at least learned how not to do it. Thanks for following with. Comments/criticism welcome.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

11 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4552 days

#1 posted 08-20-2014 05:42 PM

well all i will say is that it sounds like you know what you’re doing, i am beginning to be able to follow along with this and i sure am excited to see this turn out, with your new chevy , this will be a new adventure…i imagine your garden time will be coming to an end there, when does the fall weather start there mike…can’t wait to see this, i know you will do well…

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

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3915 days

#2 posted 08-20-2014 06:05 PM

Hi Mike
Sure looks like a lot of planning is going into this and I hope all those little pieces are staying in place .
Now I am waiting for the end result as I just love that character you are working on .
Good luck !


-- Kiefer

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4582 days

#3 posted 08-20-2014 06:10 PM

Hi Bob. I am familiar with the theory, but time will tell if I can make it all work. I hope you are enjoying the blog a little.

It looks like summer is over for this year. it’s been raining quite a bit last week and this week. It was even a little chilly so I have had the heat on in the shop already. It was so warm in the first half of August that my hedges grew quite a bit, so I have to trim them down again and then help my wife get the garden ready for fall and winter. Same old, same old.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile


8753 posts in 4046 days

#4 posted 08-20-2014 07:13 PM

Looks great Mike. That transparency sure makes it easier than the “traditional” method of drawing alignment lines off the page and swapping veneer pieces for paper, then re-drawing the lines. It doesn’t matter if you understood that, because even I will be using a transparency from now on. :-)

-- 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

#5 posted 08-20-2014 07:26 PM

Klaus I’m glad you like him because I’ve posted a lot of pictures of him already. I’m not sure when this marquetry will be done, but I hope not too long. I am almost finished with the different layers of the packet and that seems like the most time consuming part of the project.

Paul Glad you liked the transparency idea and it’s good to know that I did one thing right anyway. I’m using 2 large pieces of oak and walnut each for the tree truck. I just wonder how I am supposed to mark all those thin pieces of bark with numbers. I haven’t given that problem much thought yet.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3787 days

#6 posted 08-24-2014 01:46 AM

Looks great Mike!

-- I never finish anyth

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4088 days

#7 posted 08-25-2014 12:14 PM

MIke as usual looks like your ducks are in a row. Well written and filed in my head for good reference.
I do hope all is well and you have a great summer.

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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4582 days

#8 posted 08-25-2014 12:26 PM

Thanks Dave. This has been the best and warmest summer in Norway in the last 96 years. It started well in March and lasted all the way through July and part of August, but now it’s just rain every day. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for me because I can be in the shop instead of working in the garden. luckily everything is pretty up to date in the garden, but I will have to clip the football field length of hedges for a third time (just the tops). I hope you are having fun with your woodworking and metal working. I think those two skills go so well together and make the whole thing more fun. I wish I had the energy for both.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4088 days

#9 posted 08-25-2014 12:39 PM

Mike we have had the mildest summer in years. Good to here you are doing well and having fun. We are catching a few hot dog days of August now. I have not been in the shop a whole lot but will return when the weather gets cooler.
Thank you !

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

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4052 days

#10 posted 08-26-2014 12:57 PM

Wow Mike. You’re doing a fine job.

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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4582 days

#11 posted 08-26-2014 04:29 PM

Thanks Roger. Time will tell how good I did it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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