FANTASY MARQUETRY #3: Preparing A Packet For Cutting

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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.

TODAYS WORK
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

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Hi Ian. I will try to explain.

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.

I’ll add this to the blog in case others have the same question.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway

Mike,
I got lost here: “The rule is that veneers for adjacent pieces in the design cannot be placed on the same layer (for obvious reasons)”

I probably missed the “why” in your previous post

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

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