I wanted to try out marquetry so for my first project I made this box. I found a few good videos so I wanted to try it out and make a box that could hold maybe some pendants and a bracelet or two.
This was my first attempt at making a veneered box and my first try at marquetry. Overall I am pretty happy with it so far, there areas that could be improved but it turned out well.
This project took a bit longer than expected. If you take your time it will turn out well it is all pretty easy steps. It will take a lot of time especially when you keep getting stuck at these points where you have to wait an hour for glue to dry. It gets a bit frustrating working for 10 minutes and then sitting for an hour cyclically.
Step 1: Materials
On Ebay there are a few vendors that just sell sort of small pieces of veneer that are remnants from other projects. Getting veneer this way means you aren't going to name the species you get, but it is a lot cheaper, they just stuff a flat rate box full of veneer and send it your way.
I ended up with a fair amount of variety. The species I probably had the most of was Wenge, rotary cut Bubinga, and Walnut. I think I had somewhere from 12-18 different types of veneer in that package.
Veneer will cover every part of the box that isn't felted. The majority of the box was covered in Kevazinga (rotary cut Bubinga) with part of the lid on the inside covered in some rotary cut rosewood.
The actual marquetry on the top used:
Sapele, Mahogany, Kevazinga, Shedua, and some rotary cut Rosewood (not sure on the specific species) made up the wings
A small pieces of ebony is in the transition from the body to wing and the eye were made of ebony
The body was a piece of yellow pine
The head was I think made of sapele
Walnut is used for the antennae and legs
The branch is made of some unknown fairly open grained wood. I can tell it is rotary cut because of the bark inclusion, but beyond that I don't know what it is.
And finally the background is made from what is called Karelian Birch Burl.
I used a .25" by 2.5" poplar for the structure of the box. None of the underlying wood will show so there was no reason to use anything pretty. Poplar is also very easy to cut. Because it is so soft you can easily split it to far if you cut improperly, but it isn't as bad as something like pine.
I used some sort of fancy felt for the lining. It has a much less uniform color and texture than the craft felt, the plastic stuff available in every color at the craft store.
For adhesives I used primarily liquid hide glue. Liquid hide glue is different from regular hide glue which you have to heat to I think 140F to melt. And keeping a hotpot of glue can smell a bit bad Hide glue is supposed to creep less than regular PVA wood glue. Wood shrinks and expands as the relative humidity changes, and the plasticity of some glues allows things to move around a bit. Apparently you want something like hide glue or urea formaldehyde for marquetry for this reason. This is my first attempt so I am just going with what I read.
Superglue and double sided tape are used to attach the felt to the poplar. Double sided tape helps you position it nicely and I used superglue because I thought it would be easier to control the bleed through. If you just pour on too much of any glue it will soak through the felt to the face side, so you have crusty mess. Every site seemed to recommend a different glue, some people recommended a 3M spray on adhesive, tacky glue and contact cement were also popular.
Blue tape was used a lot for temporarily holding things together. There isn't any left in the box, but it was used to back veneer when cutting so it wouldn't split, to attach the various pieces of the marquetry together, and to clamp pieces during glue ups. Most sites recommend that you buy veneer tape for assembling the marquetry because it slightly shrinks while drying, pulling your pieces close together. I thought I would try out just blue tape first and it seems to work decently.
Right now I just have applied the Tung Oil, but I think I'll maybe put two or three coats of shellac on top of that with a bit of wax to finish it.