The War of the Roses

I decided to repeat the Rose pattern I did in marquetry last week again for practice.  With a few changes.

There were a couple of problems with the first attempt.  The main issue was with the assembly.  Things got out of control due to the hot hide glue (HHG) drying faster than I could assemble the picture.  I intentionally skipped the sand shading step, which on this piece I think really would have added a lot.  The rose bud itself has something like 21 little pieces, but once it’s re-assembled it just looks like one big red blob.  If it had been shaded you would have been able to see each little petal.  Instead, you can see the two pieces I patch in and the uneven gaps, but otherwise it’s homogenous.

Rose #1, notice how all of the pieces run together and are indistinguishable.

Rose #1, notice how all of the pieces run together and are indistinguishable.

There are a couple of things that could be done to add contrast to the rose bud next time.  One is to sand shade the edges as I’ve mentioned.  Another would be to assemble the rose using multiple colors.

The marquetry process I’m using is typically Boulle, named after Andre-Charles Boulle, a famous French cabinetmaker in 18th century Paris who wasn’t actually French.  The process involves creating a stack of all of the veneers to be used in the finished composition and sawing out all of the elements from the one stack.

So for this round of practice I’m changing a couple of things.  First, I’m using twice as many layers in my veneer stack.  This is part of an experiment to see if I can produce two good positive images from one stack.  I plan to try sand shading on these pieces.  I’ll also have enough extra pieces to assemble some negative images of the same picture — I’ll use these to experiment with mixing colors to get the contrast in the rose.

The first step was to pick out four colors, times two, from my dwindling sample pack of veneers.  I want a light color for the background, something reddish for the rose, greenish for the leaves and brownish for the stem.

IMG_0107

Materials for the packet laid out. Front waster board with the pattern glued on, rear waster board, grease paper and 8 veneers.

The pattern is glued to the front waster board.  I laminated newsprint to all eight pieces of veneer to support them.  The newsprint is on the show face and will be removed as the last step prior to finishing.  I laminated newsprint onto the back board too to help prevent it from splitting if I end up sawing without enough support.

Assembled packet.  I  changed the order of how I cut this one and discovered some improvements (and some things that worked better the first time)

Assembled packet. I changed the order of how I cut this one and discovered some improvements (and some things that worked better the first time)

The assembled packet is about 1/2″ thick, and it’s on the edge of what I can cut with the fine 2/0 72tpi blade I’ve been using.  I really like the way this blade cuts, it leaves a nice clean edge and it very controllable.  It’s also unbelievably fragile.  It’s like sawing with a human hair.  A brittle hair.  I tried the other blade we used in class, and I didn’t like the way it handled.  I’m not able to make tight turns with it and I have a hard time following lines.  It’s probably (lack of) technique, I’ll put practice time with that blade on the roster for the future.

View of the inside of the packet after the first 8 pieces for the lower leaves have been cut out.  You can see all of the layers of veneer in cross section.

View of the inside of the packet after the first 8 pieces for the lower leaves have been cut out. You can see all of the layers of veneer in cross section as well as the thicker front and rear “waster” layers.

I changed up the playlist on my music while I was sawing these to include a selection of country-ish rock songs that were popular when I was in grade school.  It was a nice change, but I’m going back to the blues for the rest of the project.

I’ve got maybe 3 hours in sawing these parts out, and just another half hour to go.  That’s a little misleading, as after each part I’m stopping to pick out the parts for the two main images and arrange them, and them stacking the “extra” parts to the side.  I still don’t have the “part organization” thing dialed in.

Parts for the two main images mixed and laid out (face down)

Parts for the two main images mixed and laid out (face down)

The rest of the parts.  I'll use these to create some experiments in mixing colors to get the contrast in them image.

The rest of the parts. I’ll use these to create some experiments in mixing colors to get the contrast in them image.

I’m getting more comfortable with my sawing, which is a good feeling.  I still had a few missed turns where I was slightly off the line.  With the Boulle technique accuracy only matters in terms of having a final image that looks pleasing.  Since all of the parts are cut at the same time it’s guaranteed they will fit together.  For images like this Rose the assembly of the reverse image may or may not look good, so you might consider the other bits waste.  Eventually I want to get my sawing skills unleveled so I can use the “piece-by-piece” method.  I’ll eventually do a post on the different types of marquetry and techniques.  I’ve got a lot to learn still.

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 9 Comments

Post navigation

9 thoughts on “The War of the Roses

  1. I’ve looked at the rose again and I’m still impressed with it. I really like how it fits within the background – I can’t see any gaps anywhere.
    I agree shading would have made the rose more pronounced, but there is no mistaking that it is one.

    • Thanks for the encouragement Ralph! I’m not unhappy with the first effort, just analyzing where I need to improve so I can try and focus on that this time around. The Boulle method assures that the pieces will fit whether I follow the lines exactly or not, and the asymmetrical floral patterns are a lot more forgiving in my opinion than (say) the symmetrical scrollwork we did in class. You eye (mine, anyway) automatically starts comparing left and right elements to see if they are consistent.

      I’m trying to figure out some simple projects to use marquetry on. Simple, quick projects that are really just a surface for the marquetry. Small knick-knave boxes, the sort of thing with glued miters that can be made in a couple of hours. Maybe a Tea box, my best friend drinks tea.

  2. Bob

    The sawing looks good Joe. The picture of the cut stack was an initial optical illusion for me with the back lighting but it did provide a very good view of the cut stack. Did you also insert the “grease layer(s)”. How important are they?
    Now that I see all the “parts” is their now another project to build the trays and cabinet to hold these “project pieces” like what Patrick, Patrice and Paul show when assembling their projects? If so, man there is a lot of initial setup to get into the game. 🙂 I better get cracking….

    Bob

    • You’re right Bob, I’m on the cusp of having to do some organizational projects to keep this under control. Marquetry doesn’t require that not that much, but it’s enough specialized stuff that it can be a bit much. In the back of my mind I’m already noodling on a wall cabinet or work cart that can store the sheets of veneer, the specialized tools (I bought a gummed tape dispenser this week for the veneer tape, for example) and trays to hole sawn pieces. A sneeze could be a disaster!

      I do have grease paper in that stack. in the picture above the view is from the front. The rearmost layer is 3mm thick waster board which I glued newsprint to. Immediately on top of it is a sheet of newsprint that I brushed with a thin layer of Crisco and folded over on itself. I think it’s important, but I’d have to do a project without it to know for sure.

      • Bob

        My bigger problem getting into marquetry will be to keep the shop clean!!! Light, mine is a mess. I don’t know if I can do this. I always start with the best of intentions but then the wheels fall off and I have chips and dust all over the floor. Would never find the pieces after sneezing! 🙂

  3. You have the patience of Jobe!

    The sand shading is something that I find fascinating. Such a simple process but adds a lot of dimension to a design. I’m surprised how many pieces will actually be thrown away. I just never thought about it I guess. My respect and appreciation for this process keeps growing as you show what is involved in its execution.

    Greg

    • Hi Greg!

      With some good music on it’s actually pretty low stress sawing out the design. It’s a little tricky getting the “stack” out of the packet without dropping pieces some times though.

      I’m going to assemble the “alternate” pieces of the stack. Many probably won’t look as nice as the color-appropriate ones. Even with the wasted materials in the Boulle approach (for images that want specific colors to look right), the sawing time is the same. Some of the Boulle (technique) pieces included producing furniture in the reverse of the main image. I want to do something that has both the positive and negative images in the same piece. But then I have more ideas than time or focus by far.

      I’m really eager to get back to the shop and finish sawing this packet so I can experiment with sand shading and assembly.

  4. Bob, I did sweep up carefully before I start cutting this round. I guess in the event of a diaster you can just think about it being a ticker tape parade to celebrate!

    • rcd6875

      HA….ROFLOL…ticker tape parade…love it. Really like your attitude and approach.

      Bob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: