Introduction: Manquetry

About: I'm an atheist tatooed soundman and woodworker. I also have qualities...

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.



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17 Discussions


1 year ago

I have used all different types of glue to make my own putty and find that the stain doesn't take well to it (like you said) that is why I am curious about the animal glue.

1 reply is where you can buy animal glue, there's two I like, fish glue which is ready to use but smells like rotting fish or Old Brown Glue which has no smell but is so thick that you have to warm it up in warm water before use, both are slow to dry so have a lot of working time but it should be clamped for min 12 hrs. Don't overdo it for the paste, yes it takes stain but it absorbs like endgrain so it will show up darker. Always try to be as precise as possible to minimise the need for paste. I personnally use Old Brown Glue.


1 year ago

Very nice job! What is animal glue and where do you buy it? Also, since you are experienced with inlaying you should try using mother of pearl on a project (not saying this one needs it because it is already awesome, just saying give it a try some time). I used it on a piece that I did (on my instructable) and it adds a nice earthy element to your inlays.

As a person of Norwegian ancestry, I'd love to make something like this for my son. He is big into Vikings and I love working with wood. I just received a scroll saw for Christmas last year. Can you tell me where I might find a Viking pattern like this? This old(er) lady would like to give it a try!

1 reply

Google Image : viking intarsia, it should be among the first image that pops up.

Handshake from Predator. Funniest thing I've read all week

1 reply

Really smart project, thank you for putting this together. I've been interested in Marquetry for a long time but was always a little hesitant about trying it as I didn't know how to make the pieces fit together nicely. Your trick of stacking everything up and then running the whole stack through the scroll was is simple and brilliant at the same time and would ensure an almost perfect fit. And just like everyone else, I also love the hot sand shading trick, that's just genius. Thanks for the great tutorial!

1 reply

Thank You, the packet technique and sand shading comes form Andre-Charles Boulle, the master woodworker under Louis XIV, you can find a couple videos from the Boulle school in France on youtube showing how it's done.

Beautiful work! I love the tip about heating the pieces to darken them. Logged that one away for future use :)

1 reply