I have been told, do a blog.
I will try.
Try to post as often as I am able to and answer your comments

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Boulle marquetry doors

Couple years ago we were hired to build a Boulle cabinet for a client in New York who wanted a murphy bed for his office.
The project started with a all Armoire, before they changed there mind and decided to go for just the door on a black cabinet.
The Armoire project had a marquetry layout inspired by the inside of an Armoire from the Louvre and the other parts were inspired by other armoire from the wallace and other collections. The elements were “photoshoped” for the front part for approval.

The blueprints made

The side panels were designed

Then every marquetry panels were carefully drawn

We started the project by cutting up all our wonderfull white oak from France that had been drying for over 10 years.

Everything was made with hand tools starting with the coves




The all top portion was assembled

Before the Armoire project went south. The client changed their mind and decided for a simpler cabinet, and we had only the marquetry panels to do.
We had also bronzes custom made no more needed
“Staples” for the corners, protecting the marquetry

They were made in lab before to be sand casted

We had a rosette we liked from a french ormolu, bronze catalog

But not the right size so we had it carved for sand casting

We stopped the bronzes at that point and focused on the marquetry panels on the chevalet

The other part that was kind of wasted were the side panels no more needed but already cut.

We used a map for cutting color coded for what should be cut first.

When all the marquetry was cut, we put the panel together on blue tape, for easy adjustment of the pieces

Then the panels were glued face down with hide glue on paper for easy handling and glued on the panels with fish glue. The best glue for metal to wood glueing.

At this point the Boulle marquetry is ready to receive engraving in order to give all the volume to the brass parts.
We hired a friend of mine, Émilie Alem, from École Boulle who graduated in engraving and who knows very well how to enhance Boulle marquetry.

Even if it was a bit disappointing for us to not be able to complete the all initial project as it will have been a masterpiece instead of simple marquetry panels, we still have the wood for the armoire, and the beauty of Boulle marquetry is that there is a counter part, and one day, one day, we will have the time and the client to complete this project, hopefully with those existing panel on the inside like on the original and a more complicated composition on the outside.


  1. Patrice,

    I love your blog, and keep up with each entry. I have a favor to ask, if you feel it would fit your design. The writing on your blog, at least on my computer, shows up as very light grey on a near black background. My poor eyes struggle to read every entry. Sometimes I even have to infer words, as the type is unreadable.

    Any chance you could change your font to the color white? boring I know.

    Great blog, and great work.


  2. Thank you for your feed back. I could not change the color of the main text for some reasons... I made it easier to read but lost the black background.

  3. That is so awesome that you made them yourself! I love the whole look of your window, so pretty!
    . shower doors portland

  4. Patrice,

    How thick was the brass (laiton)for the marquetry and is the ebony & amarant sawn?
    Nice work!


    1. Hi Philip.

      The laiton (brass) was a little above 1mm. I wished we had something a little thicker to be more the same than the veneer but it worked

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