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Painting with Wood
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As the product reviews keep piling up on the Rockler website, we’re finding more and more examples of truly great work done by our customers. We really need to feature more on the Rockler Blog. To get started, here’s a truly striking example of inlay work employing the ready to use thin lumber that we offer for the purpose. It was posted recently by Bob Shultz, along with this review:

“I used 1/8" African Padauk and Purple Heart for a table top inlay project and am very pleased with the color and quality of the wood.”

customer inlay project

We think it’s a great example of inlay work, and of our thin stock lumber. The technique, if you’re not familiar with it, involves cutting the desired pattern pieces out of thin pieces of stock, tracing the pattern onto the receiving surface, routing and chiseling out the recess, and gluing the pieces in place. Judging by the shape and the quality of the work, we’re guessing the example you see here involved a good deal of careful scroll-sawing, hand fitting of parts and delicate chiseling and filing. If you’d like to try something similar, but don’t think you have the time or patience for anything quite so demanding, there is an easier way.

inlay bit and bushing router setWith Rockler’s Inlay Bushing and Bit with Removable Collar, you’ll be able to cut perfectly matching inlays and recesses using a single pattern. Simply use the guide bushing without the removable collar to cut the inlay components by following the contour of your patterns. Snapping the solid brass collar onto the bushing will situate the router bit in exactly the right place in relation to the pattern to cut an exactly matching recess in the receiving material. You will be limited to more curvilinear shapes due to the circular shape of the guide bushing, but it’s a small price to pay for the ease and precision the tool hands you.

intarsia planOr, if you prefer to follow a predetermined plan, you could go with Rockler’s patriotic Presidential Dollar Intarsia Plan. Intarsia – as it is currently practiced – also takes advantage of the wealth of patterns and colors available to the woodworker, and typically adds a degree of three-dimensionality. The Presidential Dollar plan was designed for Rockler by intarsia’s leading expert Judy Gale Roberts, and can be completed without a lot of challenging inlay to recess matching. If you decide to give it a try, be sure to read the intarsia plan customer reviews for a couple of helpful tips. And if you like it, consider picking up a copy of Judy’s intarsia book for loads more patterns and some great instruction in the craft.

marquetry bookMarquetry offers another way to create pictures and patterns with wood. Instead of using thin pieces of timber, marquetry is constructed using wood veneers. And while marquetry graces some of the finest furniture ever made, it also turns out to be a great sport for anyone who’s short on space and has a limited supply of tools. In fact, with just a few hand veneering tools, you can make designs in wood that are as intricate and complex as you like. And since it doesn’t rely on power tools or bulky, dusty equipment, you can complete the majority of a marquetry project while sitting at your kitchen table.  You’ll find a great selection of veneers at Rockler, along with a couple of excellent marquetry books and DVDs to help you get started on the right foot.

Many thanks to Bob for sending us the photo. We hope it inspires other Rockler customers to try their hand at one of the many ways to “paint with wood”, to show us the results when they’re done.

posted on June 6, 2008 by Rockler
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One thought on “Painting with Wood”

  • Horse Painting

    Marquetry (and parquetry too) differs from the more ancient craft of inlay, in which a solid body of one material is cut out to receive sections of another to form the surface pattern. The word derives from a Middle French word meaning "inlaid work".

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