The Inlay Technique of Marquetry

The Inlay Technique of Marquetry


– [Voiceover] Marquetry, or wood mosaics, are made by arranging hundreds of small separately cut pieces of wood
into an intricate design. The process for making marquetry began when I craftsman
drew, or more often traced, a design on paper. This drawing was then secured to a sheet of heavy brown paper. Following the lines of the drawing, the craftsman perforated the pattern. Although now made with a device
similar to a sewing machine, during the 18th century,
thousands of holes had to be laboriously punched by hand with a needle. This heavy sheet, called
the pounce pattern, was laid on top of a sheet of white paper. The craftsman then rubbed graphite over the surface of the perforated pattern to transfer the design
to the bottom sheet. The design could be
reproduced several times using this method. The wood was then sliced into
thin sheets called veneers. In the 1700s, skilled artisans using a cumbersome hand-held saw, could cut veneer as
thin as one millimeter. Elaborate marquetry designs required dozens of types of wood, some chosen for their natural color, some for the interesting
patterns in their grain. Others were dyed to produce vivid colors. Copies of the design were carefully carved into petals, leaves, and other elements. These small paper patterns
were used as guides for cutting the veneer into hundreds of individual pieces. Multiple sheets of veneer were then nailed together into packets. Then, using animal glue, the patterns for the leaves and petals were affixed to the veneer packet. Having secured the
packet in a special vice and cutting frame, the craftsman cut out the individual pieces using a jigsaw. This allowed him to make
multiple copies of each piece. Hot sand was then poured
over certain pieces to burn shadows, creating a sense of depth and movement in the composition. The numerous pieces were now ready to be assembled into the final design. Once the background had been cut out, it was glued onto another
copy of the design. Each piece was laid face down. When all the pieces had been put together, the craftsman was ready to
flip the assembled marquetry, and glue it to a piece of furniture. The supporting paper
design was then removed, and the surface was cleaned. The marquetry was now complete and ready to decorate an object, like this writing and toilette table.

5 thoughts on “The Inlay Technique of Marquetry

  1. Really cool.  Takes hours.  I want to do the jig saw router thing is as far as I am professionally going to do.  🙂   Love your videos.  

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