FANTASY MARQUETRY #6: Learning to Drive my Chevalet

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After getting the packet ready for sawing I put clear packing tape on the top and bottom, partly to lubricate the blade and more importantly to give a slick surface to slide well in my Chevalet clamp. Another advantage was to protect the paper design, as shown below.

After that the fun began. I drilled an entry hole in the hat band buckle which will be eliminated with a later cutting and put the cut out on the picture. It slid around a lot, so I cut a piece of transparent plastic shelf paper a little larger than my marquetry and taped it over the design with the sticky side up.

This makes it easy to temporarily fasten the cut outs so they won’t shift around and at the same time the adhesive is so weak that the delicate veneer comes right off when I want to remove it. A great way to keep track of all the parts during the cutting operation. All the other pieces, 6 layers of veneer/posterboard and the 1/8" plywood top and bottom are trash.

Here are the pieces I cut today and the original design so you can judge whether I am doing it justice. As you can see I missed the design line a little in a lot of places. There are some pieces where it is important to cut accurately to retain the integrity of the picture and then there are others that are more notional and therefore can be cut less accurately. I didn’t cut inaccurately on purpose, but I didn’t strain myself keeping to the line those places I deemed less important.

I know that the yellowish veneer I used for the beard looks almost blond. I would have preferred sycamore for the white parts, but I used what I had. I do have some 3/4" sycamore I harvested from my son’s tree. It’s dry now and I might be able to resaw it and get it thin enough in my drum sander if I feel that the present veneer will ruin the picture. We’ll see.

What went well
I’m still new to the saw, but after cutting small practice pieces I did feel a lot more comfortable and in control with the A4 size packet. The clamp worked great and the packet turned nicely as I sawed.

My accuracy could be better, but I feel that it went very well considering that I’m new to the Chevalet. I know that the cutting will get better with more experience.

I have also gotten a lot better at changing the blades.

I am very happy with the poster board wasters I used instead of veneer wasters. They worked perfectly and cut very nicely too.

What didn’t go so well
I had a lot of problems with the pattern coming loose at the edges, especially for the small detailed parts and that messed up my accuracy quite a bit, but nothing serious. I will try using scotch tape to refasten those areas when I resume sawing. shopping day tomorrow, so maybe working on it later in the day or Friday. I’m having fun, so I’m not really in a hurry.

I broke two blades. My third one is still ok and I am learning to be more careful, especially on tight sharp turns and when I stop cutting to put cut out pieces onto the design.

Missing details, how will these be added?
My intention from the start was to do this marquetry in two stages and with two separate packets. When the first packet is finished I plan to use the temporarily assembled first picture as one layer in a new packet which will be just for the purpose of adding details.

There are other ways this could be done and I will be considering them too, but I’m pretty sure it will be a second packet.

My own conclusions after today’s work
I am mainly relieved that it is going as expected or perhaps better than expected. I am also excited and happy that nothing has been screwed up so far. Thanks much for following with.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway

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Hi Paul, thanks for your concern. Yes the glue was still liquid when I put the design down and I did brush it with my brass brush. I let it dry overnight before putting on the clear packing tape. It might be the tape that is lifting off the paper as I cut. It has only been a problem on the small details, but a real PITA since I have been forced to cut without the pattern a couple of times. I don’t think the larger pieces will be any trouble though. I do plan to pick up some aluminum plates soon. I’m very happy with the chevy. It’s working very well and if I hadn’t had the pattern problem my cutting would be a lot better.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway

I’m surprised to hear that the pattern is lifting. I get that sometimes when I’m lazy and use spray adhesive but never with HHG. Did you get the pattern down while the glue was still liquid? Did you rub the pattern down with a scrub brush?
It should be a thin layer of glue and should not have time to cool. This is a place where if you weren’t sure, you could use a hot caul after the fact and eliminate the doubt.

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

Thanks Abbas. The ‘cow gum’ is a funny name. I got the name from my marquetry book written by William A. Lincoln, a Brit. A great book by the way, but it may take some diligent study to digest it all.

Yes about the looking at the back.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway

The last 2 pictures are flipped along the vertical axis. I guess we are looking at the back part of the veneer packet. I think you mentioned that.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

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