Marquetry Class – Finishing Up

I decided to “finish” the class exercises from the class I took a couple of weeks ago with Patrick and Patrice at ASFM.  My view of these is a little more objective now than when I was at the class.  Lots of obvious mistakes, but I’m hopeful that once I get my Chevalet built I’ll be able to work through these again and do a better job, moving on to be able to incorporate marquetry into real projects.

The main thing I did here was to re-saw some walnut scraps and laminate my marquetry discs onto it to make coasters.  The story behind the design on these is that they are a simplification of a design used on backgammon pieces from an elaborate marquetry game table.  That just makes my head hurt to think about…

In class we assembled the projects face-down onto special French ribbed kraft paper (there is a joke somewhere there, but it escapes me), and packed mastic into the saw kerfs.  The the brown smeary stuff you see here.

Walnut blanks ready for the glue up

Walnut blanks ready for the glue up

Gooey mess in the clamps

Gooey mess in the clamps

I used Old Brown Glue and clamped the discs to the Walnut bases between waxed paper.  Once the glue is dried the process is to wet the paper-covered face and scrape off the kraft paper and excess glue.  That always feels a bit dicey, getting enough water soaked in to be able to scrape the paper mache mess off without releasing the veneer from the substrate.  But it all worked out OK.

Coasters glued to the bases and scraped clean

Coasters glued to the bases and scraped clean

Then I sanded the surface a little and started applying finish.  I’m using spar varnish on these because I needed something waterproof and wanted a glossy build up.  I sprayed (rattle can) two coats, let it dry, knocked it down with 220 grit and repeated, twice.  This is the first coat going on.

Building up the finish

Building up the finish

While these parts were drying I rube some oil into the self portraits.  Two coats of oil, then a top coat of wax.  It’s oil-only in this picture.

Self-portraits with a coat of linseed oil

Self-portraits with a coat of linseed oil

Here are the final coasters drying in the sun.  Unfortunately I can see every inconsistency in the sawing, and places where the veneers are reversed (the two green veneers are different shares, for example).  Regardless, with a cup of coffee sitting on one, from across a darkened room these will look great!

Completed coasters

Completed coasters


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Marquetry Class – Finishing Up

  1. Even better with a cold stein of suds.

  2. These look really great

  3. These look good Joe. I’m looking forward to what you will create in the future. I’m sure that once you have your chevalet completed we’ll be seeing some very fine examples of marquetry.


  4. I’m impressed with your results.

  5. Robert Demers

    Nice looking, not bad for a beginner 🙂 Seriously, they look good with or without a beer stein.

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