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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.