Paul Schürch recently returned to Phoenix at the Southwest Center for Craftsmanship to teach his marquetry class again. This is the same class I took a couple years ago and wrote about here. Yes, he's flipping a 1½" chisel in the air in the photo :) He's a professional; don't try this at home.
Downy Woodpeckers and the trees are Birch.
The cartoon includes three lines sweeping down from the upper left corner. This divides the cartoon into 4 regions we'll call A, B, C, and (wait for it!) D from left to right.
The idea is that this marquetry progresses from an idea or drawing through increasing levels of detail while simultaneously going from grayscale through full color.
Section A is a very light Holly veneer and is a single piece; the bird and tree parts in that section will be drawn on the veneer after it is veneered to its substrate.
Section B has a light gray background and different shades of gray for the entire bird portion and whites for trees. Details will also be drawn in those "coarse" grayscale units.
Section C has a darker gray background and each detailed part of the marquetry is cut out of grays and whites. Nothing in this layer is drawn in after the fact.
Section D is normal marquetry in full color and detail.
But wait, there's more.
In preparing the packet for packet cutting, I included 2 sheets of veneer for the trees. One will be included in the initial glue-up then later routed out; it's necessary to have it in the initial glue-up since you need a full skin for proper parts placement and so you don't have some big place for glue to ooze out. The second duplicate piece that matches the trees will be used to contour-cut the bark to the same size to be placed in the routed recess. At least that's the theory at this point since I just completed a first pass at the skin on the last day of class.
In my case, I also sand shaded a number of veneers. Two of the veneers in the B section I decided should not have been sand shaded but rather shaded with the pencil to hold to the cartoon's design. I'll contour cut those two pieces for replacements.
The birds lack detail unless you open the picture and look carefully as there are black pieces next to black pieces. However, I'll use white glue to glue it to the substrate so they will be outlined.
Paul had an additional suggestion for the tips of the wings' inner features: bleach the black out. I'll be trying that with two-part wood bleach on some scraps... I kept every scrap out of the packet in a special garbage for dumpster-diving replacement parts!
CertainlyWood.com; the sheets I used looked like this but more black. booyeah!
Darker wings like those further back behind foreground wings were done with a very thick Ebony veneer. Brittle, hard, difficult to knife for replacements. You could tell when the scrollsaw hit it. It won't be fun to level after the glue-up, but that's another day.
I'll veneer this skin onto Medex, a water-proof higher-quality MDF. This will be framed in solid wood, though I want to see the panel before deciding which species.
Another benefit of the external form is sometimes it is the only option. For example, Paul created a bent lamination for a spiral staircase. It was laminated on-site against the built staircase. In this case, he had a shop-made bag 6" wide by 30'+ long.
Back to the curved apron... it will also have a marquetry inlay in it. This is new for me. The marquetry will be simply some wings out of that fumed Eucalyptus inlaid directly into the Maple after turning the wings into plywood. However, I'll follow the design of the main marquetry in that the inlay on the right side of the table will be complete. On the left side of the table, the design will be drawn in. In the front, we have the transition from drawn to full detail with the left half drawn, a small transition section in grayscale, followed by the full fumed Eucalyptus wings.
The legs will be tapered Maple legs. There will be an inlay on each, I have some ideas, but will wait for the rest to be completed before deciding. However, they will follow the design with the left legs having drawn patterns, the right-front leg having inlay plus drawing while the right rear leg gets full detail.
Paul's two-volume collection covers everything I've done to the marquetry so far. Get both volumes if you are new to veneer. Also remember that the booklet (or PDF for the download version) contains more information than is in the video so leaf through that, too.
the infamous crocodile scene) was good. That said, follow his DVDs and give it a go with your own cartoon or one from his site.
Angle Madness episode recorded for some finishing experiments so that's next on the block to record. I think this table will wait until I'm done with the Angle Madness build, which will go faster now that the day job calmed down. Gee, just in time for Arizona summer heat :-/
Also, I ran across some lost photos of the Michael Fortune seminar last November. I've since added them to the article. If you read it in an email subscription, you would have missed them.