re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

#52 Other forms of wood working: Intarsia- Elvis, roses, nativity and more.

Someone asked me what “Intarsia” was after I used it in a past post.   It is a style of wood working.  Wikipedia says, “Intarsia is a form of wood inlaying that is similar to marquetry.”

Intarsia, Wikipedia, Wolf

Intarsia nativity 2

intarsia rose

Of course you might ask what marquetry is.  Wikipedia says here, “Marquetry (also spelled as marqueterie) is the art and craft of covering a structural carcass with pieces of veneer  forming decorative patterns, designs or pictures”

Marquetry picture

Marquetry furniture

Elivs in intarsia

“Intarsia is a woodworking technique that uses varied shapes, sizes, and species of wood fitted together to create a mosaic-like picture with an illusion of depth. Intarsia is created through the selection of different types of wood, using their natural grain pattern and color (but can involve the use of stains and dyes) to create variations in the pattern. After selecting the specific woods to be used within the pattern, each piece is then individually cut, shaped, and finished. Sometimes areas of the pattern are raised to create more depth. Once the individual pieces are complete, they are fitted together like a jig-saw puzzle and glued to wood backing which is sometimes cut to the outline shape of the image.” Wikipedia

Intarsia, amish children

Intarsia nativity 1

Intarsia, orca pattern

The pattern above is the beginning of an intarsia piece. The artist lays out colors and wood choices.  The pattern is copied onto paper which is pasted on to the selected wood and cut out.  Each piece is then fitted into the primary pattern just like a jigsaw puzzle as you can see in the next picture.

Intarsia, process 1

I like how intarsia highlights the beauty of wood’s color and grain.  The craftsmanship in shaping, choosing and assembling the pieces is truly great.  I love the look and texture of a well done intarsia piece.

Intarsia, lute – an amazing piece

However, I have not tried it myself.  Perhaps after I master wood carving, wood turning, wood finishing, playing the harmonica, learning Chinese and a few other hobbies I have laying around.  But, perhaps intarsia is your hobby!  Let me know if you do pick it up.  I would like to see your work too.

“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!”  Proverbs 16:16


6 responses

  1. Steven LoCoco

    April has done some Intarsia wood work let her know if you would like to see some

    January 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm

  2. Steve, please bring it along. JK

    January 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm

  3. I LOVE the Intarsia Nativity 2 you have pictured here. In fact, I love it even though it shows the magi at the stable!

    Are these pieces you have done yourself, or are they the works of others?

    January 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm

  4. Sorry Mel. I should have made very clear from the outset that I have not done any of these pieces. I have done no Intarsia at all. Another hobby waiting in line behind bowl turning, book writing, scuba diving and kayaking. But, I am glad you like them. I really like the looks of the Amish children. Shalom, J

    January 10, 2011 at 10:01 pm

  5. Jamie

    I have done 4 so far, I am hooked!! It took forever to do my last one, i got a bit ambitious and planned a 10×13 tiger. It turned out awesome! Now working on an Elvis for my husband! Let me know if you would like to see! Jamie

    May 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

  6. Jamie, thanks for taking a look at the blog. Glad you found a few things to like. I would enjoy seeing some of your work. My email is Send some that I might be able to post here. Shalom, John

    May 18, 2011 at 10:06 pm

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