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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Treasure Box - Series #2 - Post #13: Top incrustation

As promised some news on the marquetry top for the treasure box series #2
The challenge here is to insert the oval white bone inlay first then cut the rest of the background repositioning the pack perfectly as some of the marquetry looks like it moves in front and in the back of those bones.

I first build the pack with 4 layers of paperbacked ebony sawn veneer

I used a idea of mine and an idea from Patrick to locate perfectly the veneer with the 2 drawings that had to be used to cut this background twice.
I used lines and a v cut to clamp the pack with the first drawing and he second drawing

and drill 4 holes with a bit the right size to use veneer nails to rebuild the back after cutting the oval.
The drawing for the oval has bridges to keep everything at the right spot

Cutting the cavities on the marquetry chevalet

I prepared a light paper assembly board as I had to glue it twice on an assembly board and did not want to add to much paper and glue to the front.

I had to cut some ebony string inlays to go in sandwich between 2 bones purflings.

And soaked the bone to make them more bendable.

Here is the background with the oval cut done, the ebony string inlay and the bone. The assembly board is ready, the glue is hot and I have podcast on my Ipad, ready to go.

The background is slapped down on the assembly board with hot hide glue

I cut the middle bridges as I go and insert the 3 string inlays in the cavity, here is a particularly horrible picture to illustrate this step

You can see now the locator hole Patrick thought about to rebuild the pack precisely

and the rebuilding in action

Ready to cut some more.

The pack was fairly heavy (3 Lb) and the ebony is really hard to cut. 

It took me roughly 5 days with 5 hours of cutting a day to finish it. This is after 3 days.

But the locators did work great. As you can see the pieces I had to keep as they were to small for bridges are exactly the same, better than expected.

When I open a pack I always keep all my trash you never know what you are going to miss

Like this broken bridge

I got myself ready for incrustation

A series of picture to illustrate the incrustation session, almost 2 weeks for 4 panels

And as usual I love details shot. Please pardon this excess of pictures, but this has been my biggest marquetry challenge so far and I did sweat a lot on that part, and not only because I was working at 85-92 degrees because of successive heat waves…

Thank you for following !

-- Patrice lejeune


  1. Patrice, this is awe-inspiring. Thank you for posting.

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  3. Patrice, for the first assembly board where you used a "light" paper (it looks white in the picture), what kind of paper did you use?

  4. Hey Wes! How are you doing?
    I used a thinner Kraft paper, that we normally used for picking, but the custom chaps decided to run it over with a forklift so We can't use it for that purpose. It was not my greatest area as it is a paper with less strength and is more subject to the pull of the drying glue, therefore allowing compression of the veneer under this pull. As long as you do not have only to assembly for a background and you are not using very thin veneer, I would most likely stick to the 90gr that we usually use in the future.

  5. what kind of bone purflings did u use? how much did they bend?
    and where could i get some?

    1. They are cow bone string inlay. I get them in France through Delaruelle. Bone do not like bending but there is different technique you can find on old books on diverse way to do so. Try them and find what works for you.