PRACTICING AN AGE OLD TRADITION
The art of marquetry requires some special skills and techniques.
SHOP OWNER: Jerry Cousins
LOCATION: Weaverville, CA
I started working in marquetry this past summer. After doing several "wood pictures" and some larger furniture, I decided clocks would be a good choice for a medium in which to feature the skill.
The body of this clock is white oak. The background of the face is a mahogany veneer. The outer yellow leaves are pau amarillo, the darker, outer leaves are greenheart, the central folded petals are canarywood, and the center is holly. The finish is five coats of shellac and two coats of Black Bison Wax.
I use the "double bevel" cutting process, which allows for the cutting of the hole for the inlay and the inlay piece itself at the same time. Once I trace the pattern onto the background veneer, I secure the inlay piece underneath, orienting the placement, color, and grain. Both the pattern and the inlay piece get pierced with a small pin drill and a 00 jeweler's blade is fed through the hole.
At this point, I place the pieces on a "donkey", which is sloped to eight degrees. By holding the saw vertical while cutting, it will create an angle on both pieces. The bottom piece comes out slightly larger than the background hole, thereby filling up the saw kerf and creating a tight fit when it's glued. The bevel-edged inlay piece actually snugs up into the bevel-edged cutout. The veneers I use are home-cut to 5/64". The process of shading, using hot sand to scorch the wood, provides a nice 3D effect.
The gargoyle box is also made of oak. The body of the gargoyle is a citrus wood (have lost the real name). The mouth is peroba rosa, and the inset whiskers are black walnut. The background is pear, with a lacewood frame. The corner splines are also of pear and are continuous the full length of the box. The finish is five coats of shellac and two coats of Black Bison Wax.
The veneered drawer fronts, in this Jatoba-framed sofa table, are fiddle back maple. The top of the table has a large maple veneer too. The flower stems are Jatoba; the petals are "blued pine" and pau amarillo. The suspended drawers ride on wooden dovetailed slides. The stems of the flowers, which "hang down" onto the drawer fronts, carry around to the top edge of the front -- but you can't see that detail until you open the drawer! The table is finished with five coats of shellac, then three coats of lacquer, and two coats of wax.. . . Jerry Cousins
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