Marquetry update

Cutting marquetry with the mini-chevalet

With the prototype working, I’ve switched gears, and have been focusing on marquetry for the past few weeks. Specifically, the KickStarter marquetry panels discussed previously. As a refresher, the design that adorns the table top is composed of wood veneer cut and assembled like a jigsaw puzzle, a technique termed “marquetry”. This differs from the “parquetry”, or geometric patterns on the aprons.

First, I had to dust off, and tune-up the mini-chevalet. Considering the number of pieces that need to be cut, it just makes sense to get this fixture running as efficiently as it can. Like all chevalets, this is a user-/shop-made affair. Much as I’d like, you just can’t order one from your local “chevy” dealer. This is its first major run, so there are bound to be some system hang-ups – literally!

  • Alignment of the holes where guide rod runs through the saw arm is critical. Saw operation becomes stiff, and binds if this isn’t the case. Not helpful especially when cutting rice-grain-sized pieces! It also helps to clean and lubricate this rod occasionally.
  • Although the wing bolts work, tightening them with pliers provides a better grip on the blade. The blade holders on the chevalets at Marc Adams (based on the design Patrick Edwards promotes) required an Allen key to operate! So, I suppose I cannot complain about this.
  • I am still not pleased with the vertical fixture that holds the packet while cutting. It seems the packet edges get hung up on the jaw arrises. It might be beneficial to round these!

Finally, I’m able to cut marquetry! Now, it’s time for me to get busy. By my count, I’ve got around 70 copies of this flower, and its counterparts to cut and assemble!

Cutting a marquetry flower using the mini-chevalet

One final note before leaving this topic. I’ve received requests to create mini-chevalets for others. While I would like to, I really need to spend my time working towards completing this project. Consider this, though; you don’t need a mini-chevalet to create marquetry. While it certainly can be used to create one-offs, the chevalet excels at being a copying machine, and this is where its strength lays. I’ll explain several methods in an upcoming post that can be used to generate more than one copy of a design per cutting. This should clarify things (hopefully). I’ll also briefly discuss techniques requiring fewer tools so you can get started.