Everyman's Chevalet, Simple, Inexpensive, and Elegant

This project developed from a desire on my part to make the chevalet more accessible to my students. There isn’t much point in learning French marquetry if you don’t have the tools to continue when you leave class. To this end I designed this one to be well within the abilities of an average woodworker and built of easily found materials at an affordable price.

The interlaid plywood construction is arguably superior to solid wood with sophisticated joinery and the resulting structure is immensely strong and rigid, yet it can be done with little more than a table saw, bandsaw, (or jigsaw) drill, and a router. To make things even easier I am now having the pieces cut by a local CNC shop complete with precision alignment holes.

There may be some who see a CNC cut plywood chevalet as some kind of heresy but in my mind if I can give my students a precision tool to make their marquetry with at a price that will encourage them to go on in the field, then I don’t care how it came into being.

Another new twist I came up with is the idea of making the saw frame of three layers instead of solid wood with difficult finger joints at its corners. This simplifies the construction immensely and also allows the square hole for the blade clamp to be foolproof. As the middle layer of the frame is 3/8” thick, the square hole needs not be “cut” but can just be left out of the layer assuring absolute squareness to the centreline of the saw frame.

This one was built by one of my students, Kendra and her husband with guidance and a little help from me and it took (to build the functioning plywood chevalet in photo 4 above) about the same 40 hours that it always seems to take but then Kendra went the final step and hammer veneered it with some nice mahogany and finished it up beautifully. Needless to say that added several hours but the resulting chevy is a knockout!

Thanks for looking.

The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Very nice build

-- Soli Deo gloria! ( To God alone be the Glory)

Very nice paul,I wish I had the patience and talent to take on marquetry. I always admire you and your student’s amazing work.

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

Paul, you just keep planting those Chevalet seeds and they keep sprouting and spreading. In my opinion if you do marquetry for shear enjoyment of the art, there is no better way to do it.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

No doubt having it done by a cnc millwork shop is a good idea for "production". It simplifies things greatly and speeds everything along. Good idea.

Losing fingers since 1969