Marquetry Box Full of Experiments

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This is not my application to join the fancy box club. It represents a series of experiments conducted to prepare the way for that application at some later date. As with all experiments, some went well and some not so well but all were valuable learning experiences.

This is an MDF based box, veneered inside and out with hot hide glue using vacuum bag, hammer veneering and clamps with cauls in the various areas as required.

The veneers are:

  • Lid and insets on sides, back: Carpathian Elm Burl
  • Stringing: Paduk
  • Body of box: Black Mottle Makore
  • Inside of box: Walnut
  • Inside lid and bottom: Big Leaf Maple
  • Inside detail: Purpleheart, Zebrano
  • Dyed marquetry: Big Leaf Maple

The hinge is Purpleheart and Holly, the trays are Arbutus with Purpleheart handles and the base and lid trim are Wenge.

The experiments were:

  • To see how far I could force a burl veneer to conform to a non flat surface.
  • To see if I could apply my watercolor dye process to tiny pieces of thin veneer.
  • To see if it was feasible to hammer veneer round corners.
  • To see if my wooden hinge would work on a thicker, heavier box.

What I learned:

  • Burl veneer can be remarkable malleable.
  • Burl veneers aren’t a good background for dyed marquetry.
  • You can hammer veneer corners.
  • The hinge works famously but should have been full length.
  • MDF is not a good base for gluing / stripping / re-gluing with hot glue. Hardwood would have worked better.

For the most part I’m quite happy with it although it has many flaws if you get close and examine it. Any day you learn something is a good day.

Thanks for looking.

Comments, critiques and questions are always welcome.

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

19 Comments

I can’t even!!!
I can’t even find words — beautiful; extraordinary experiments!

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

Marquetry Box, very Pretty. Beautiful workmanship.

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

Even your experiments turn out amazing! that lid looks like it was made from a solid pc. Great job Paul!

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

Extra nice well-done paul.

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

i was digging and found this treasure ! wow just stunning paul.

working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

That is beautiful Paul, not even close to an experiment. Well done. So, the MDF is not a good base, what about using Poplar?

Main Street to the Mountains

The problem was that I had some repairs to do and the MDF turned to mush when I used warm water to reverse the hide glue. Any solid wood or plywood would be better.

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

Hmmm, water color dying. Very interesting "experiment"! I tried transTint on maple veneer but it would only penetrate the very surface and got dulled after a light sanding. How did the WC hold up (or did you do it after assembly and prep)?

I might try my vacuum pot and dye next time....

Box is  fine looking structure with all the curvy detail, but the marquetry is pure art, excellence !
I like the lid and this looks amazing! I'm looking forward to seeing what will come after this experiment:)

No name noobie here

Thanks all,

*YRTi,* this was originally posted six years ago so a lot has come after it already.

*SplinterGroup,* “watercolour dyeing” is a term I use to describe a method I developed several years ago to dye marquetry after cutting the pieces. I did a blog on it at that time and since I’m moving a lot of blogs over here now anyway, I’ll add it soon.
Keep an eye out for it. 

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

That's pretty awesome Paul,
What did you use to form the veneer over the lid?  Curious how you got it to roll that much of a compound?
Another masterpiece.  
(Probably made it on your 30,000.00 work bench?)  :)

Figuring out how to do something you have never done is what makes a good challenge.

*Bentlyj*, I vacuum bagged it with HHG after soaking the burl in hot water. Some tiny darts were cut at the very corners but they are easy to hide in burl.
….nope! Before I built my $200 bench 😉

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

Thanks,
Even with the little dart cuts, which I can't even see,  I'm surprised it rolled like it did.
Testament to being a True Craftisian.
200 materials 29,800.00 labor......

Figuring out how to do something you have never done is what makes a good challenge.

*Bentlyj* Here you go. More than you ever wanted to know about this box. If a pic is worth a thousand words, here are 101,000 words. 🤣
https://photos.app.goo.gl/4kiGmn8sdgY3VBRt8

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

Thanks Paul,  it's pretty amazing to watch the transformation.  You have the patience of a saint.

Figuring out how to do something you have never done is what makes a good challenge.

Stubbornness can often be mistaken for patience. 😁

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

So true,  I looked up stubbornness in the dictionary,  yep,  your picture was next to it.  😉
If that's what it takes to create those masterpieces then,  .....stubbornness is a virtue

Figuring out how to do something you have never done is what makes a good challenge.

🤣🤣

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

Also with this work you fall into the category of exceptional artists.

https://dutchypatterns.com/