Marquetry: The art of decorating furniture with beautiful motifs like flowers, birds or cute things made of wood.
Manquetry: The art of awesoming furniture with badass sh... like an axe or the handshake from Predator or in this case a viking made of wood!
Step 1: The Tools
You need a surface you can hack into with an exacto knife.
A Ruler, I used this piece of aluminum to protect my fingers while knifing. I also glued sand paper so the veneers don't slip.
An Exacto knife
A fret saw or Scroll saw
Step 2: Veneers
Veneers are super thin slices of wood, usually with sought after features or exotic woods that would be too expensive to buy as lumber. You will see terms such as: quilted, spalted, tiger, birdseye, burl etc.
For symmetrical or mirrored patterns, you can buy sequencial venneers meaning that all the slices come from the same tree in the order they were cut so you get the same grain patterns everywhere.
I bought mine from Lee Valley, it comes in a large pizza box and has a bit of everything.
Step 3: The Image
Once you have selected or drawed your image, print it so it's the size you need. Mine si 8.5x11 in or standard size, how convenient...
Step 4: The Sandwich
Now make yourself a sandwich. First you need a substrate, a piece of maximum 1/4 in thick. Anything bigger will just be harder to cut. On top of that, add your veneers in layers, make them larger than needed being careful to orient the grain the way you want it to show in the piece. Tape everything down with your image on top of course.
Step 5: Cut
You can see in the first image that I numbered every cut I want to make and in what order, I also traced a path that you can notice the entry way for the saw is in a joint so it will blend in. As soon as the pieces are free I can put them where they need to be in the final image. With a scroll saw or fret saw cut very slowly and carefully.
Step 6: Shading
With a pan of hot sand dip the pieces so as to shade them lightly, they will give great depth to the image. Be carefull because if you wait too long they will burn, cup and twist.
Step 7: Preparation for Glue
Once all your pieces are in place, tape them up pressing them firmly together to limit the gaps.
Step 8: Putty
Flip it over and if there is any gap, fill them with a homemade putty. Use a card scraper and a piece of the same wood species as the gap you want to fill and make some dust. Mix it with animal glue to make a paste. The animal glue part is important because it will take stain and finish which other glues won't. When dried, sand it down.
Step 9: Press
Put your piece on the substrate, something that will not twist or cup like mdf or russian plywood. Use animal glue and put it in a veneer press or vacuum bag or put weight on it. Leave it 12hrs.
Step 10: Trim and Back
If you make a stand alone piece, the sides will be tricky to glue, it will be slightly oversize so you can't use tape. I used a scrap pieces of wood to press the against the mdf and clamps and did 2 sides at a time.
Be very carefull when trimming the sides when the glue as set as to not chip the front and back.
Step 11: Final Sanding and Finish
Sand everything with 320 grit paper at least, then you can use the type of finish you want.
There you go, a beautiful piece of manly art made of wood.