FANTASY MARQUETRY #13: Fresh out of the press

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Blog entry by stefang posted 09-20-2014 06:13 PM 2842 reads 0 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Nearing the Finish Line Part 13 of FANTASY MARQUETRY series no next part

The veneer press worked perfectly for me using the hot hide glue. I brushed glue on the picture back and the substrate and rubbed it in with circular motions to make sure there would be no dry spots. Here is the sequence of the pressing procedure. This was photographed as I took it out of the press, but I am showing the sequence backwards to give you an idea of how I prepared the glue up for pressing.

Photo below: a plastic layer to protect the bottom press caul from glue squeeze-out.

Photo below: The MDF substrate which the picture will be glued to

Photo below: A plastic layer to cover the top of the substrate with the picture glued in place, also to prevent glue squeeze-out from getting on the upper caul.

Photo below: 4 layers of thin polyurethane foam matting to even out the pressure.

Photo below: MDF caul the same size as the substrate

Photo below: Package in the press with the big press caul and the jack in place.

Photo below: Package out of the press and I have started removing the paper from the face side. Quite a thrilling moment! This is done by moistening the paper and scraping it off. I found that a chisel worked best, but I was very careful to not nick or cut the veneers. I took my time and remoistened as I removed the different layers.

Photo below: The emerging picture began to give me hope of at least limited success.

Photo below: After filling most of the holes and improving a couple of things Like the pipe, etc. I still have a couple of spots to fill with veneer and some very small spots to fill with mastic.

My own conclusions:

Technically it came out better than I expected, especially considering the problems I made for myself with the pattern and paper backings. The next one should go a lot smoother and be a lot better.

The artistic part is hard for me to judge, especially since the original picture, done by my son Mark, is the real artwork behind this project and my input has been to just simplify the picture to make it suitable for a marquetry project. I did enjoy choosing the veneers. My selection was somewhat limited so I had to compromise quite a bit, especially with the dragon. The compromises could have been eliminated or at least reduced by adding more contrasting details, but I didn’t feel well enough qualified to go to that level yet.

All-in-all this was a positive experience and increased my skill levels with the chevalet and the craft knife. I also got more experience with the waywardness of veneers and sand shading. I did get pretty frustrated on occasion and I even considering tossing it a few times, but now I’m glad I didn’t.

I will be finishing up the picture on Monday and then I have to make a nice frame for it. I have some ideas for that already and I will show you the final product when I post the finished project.

Thank you all for joining me on this journey into the unknown and all your kind words and interest along the way.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

30 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26774 posts in 4343 days

#1 posted 09-20-2014 06:32 PM

Neat, Mike. You have got a good process there with the hot glue like Paul uses!!............Jim

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

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3550 days

#2 posted 09-20-2014 06:33 PM

The result so far looks terrific. Thanks for sharing the trials and tribulations of your journey. We have all learned a lot from your pioneering work. Looking forward to seeing the framed version.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View mafe's profile


13332 posts in 4327 days

#3 posted 09-20-2014 06:36 PM

I think it is wonderful in every way and especially since it is a joint venture of your son and you.
You have to clap your shoulder from me.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Dutchy's profile


4188 posts in 3406 days

#4 posted 09-20-2014 07:10 PM

WOW Mike. After your blog of yesterday I didn,t expect such beautiful results. Your son will be glad with it and for you it will be a great pleasure to give. Till now it was a lot of work but I think worth it.


View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3656 days

#5 posted 09-20-2014 07:33 PM

Mike the final product looks great!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View shipwright's profile


8751 posts in 4036 days

#6 posted 09-20-2014 07:39 PM

Well done Mike!
At ASFM we used razor blades to scrape off the mounting paper. They work very well if your fingers are still good. The tip is more water is often better. It will lessen the scraping dramatically. I too was “moistening” at first but soon realized that wet was OK and as long as the veneer itself didn’t get too wet for too long the glue underneath would be fine. Assuming of course an overnight drying. I have on accession had a small piece release a bit but a quick press with a hot caul cures that easily.

The “reveal” is always exciting as is the first coat of shellac (or any finish). That’s when you really get to see your choices shine for the first time.

I think this came out well despite the setbacks and obviously there are many positives to be proud of like the sand shading, assembly, glue up, and veneer selection. The few negatives are in the cutting and they were largely caused by one simple early mistake that you have identified and won’t be likely to repeat.

Bottom line: Damn fine first crack at chevy marquetry!

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

View sras's profile


6345 posts in 4367 days

#7 posted 09-20-2014 08:21 PM

Thanks for bringing us along on your adventure!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2858 posts in 4830 days

#8 posted 09-20-2014 08:31 PM

Yes, It looks fantastic especially for the first time!!!

-- Dennis Zongker

View Brit's profile


8436 posts in 4081 days

#9 posted 09-20-2014 08:59 PM

Wow Mike! You’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. I love it.

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

View robscastle's profile


8263 posts in 3442 days

#10 posted 09-20-2014 10:55 PM

An excellent result Mike !!

I sometimes use nylon scouring pad to remove the paper,dipped in water as you did.

I am impressed with your veneer press and I use the same method but the frame is my house the base is the concrete floor and above is the floor Joist!

I also use material to even out the distribution of pressure.

Which means …Hey we must both be doing the right thing !!

As we are getting the results we want.

Good work.

-- Regards Rob

View hunter71's profile


3558 posts in 4425 days

#11 posted 09-21-2014 02:41 AM

I think it is great.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22346 posts in 4914 days

#12 posted 09-21-2014 04:02 AM

Looks pretty good from here, Mike. Very nice results! I haven’t been following too close lately. Had to prepare, run and shoot a 2 day rifle match, then get scores out and it all wrapped up;-)

Does the big “caul” have a slightly concave center to spread the pressure evenly as the jack presses the center?

-- 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


2222 posts in 5008 days

#13 posted 09-21-2014 04:12 AM

Great job Mike, looks very good. I followed you on this one, hope you had as much fun as I had reading it.

-- Tom D

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4572 days

#14 posted 09-21-2014 09:00 AM

Thanks much everyone for following with as I stumbled through this project. If you are like me, you are probably more interested in the process than the final product and that is why I like to do these detailed blogs.

Of course the quality of the final product is important, but we can’t expect to master a craft without some failures as we learn. It is easy to only do things we are comfortable with and which give us an almost guaranteed good result and much admiration from others, but we also need to challenge ourselves if we expect to grow as craftsmen. Of course the down side of this philosophy is that you might never produce an exceptionally good piece of work if you are always doing new stuff. For my own enjoyment that has been my chosen path so far.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4042 days

#15 posted 09-21-2014 10:09 AM

Excellent work Mike. Kuddos to you on a fine project.

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

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