Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Developing Our Skills

We have been spending a lot of time developing our skills at intarsia. And what is intarsia? According to Wikipedia,

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.

We saw people doing intarsia last spring, but we were too late to take one of the beginner classes. We bought a book and tried it on our own. This year we signed up for the first class that was scheduled. The first task is to trace the pattern onto the wood.

Then we cut out the pieces with the scroll saw.

And sand the pieces to smooth the edges and shape each piece.

The pieces are laid out on top of the pattern and shaped if they don't fit just right.

We do most of the work in the wood shop here at VDO, but John did some shaping at the RV with the Dremel.

Here are the whales we each made. We sprayed them with varnish and laid them out to dry.

One skill it is important to develop is good cutting methods on the scroll saw. This nativity set puzzle provided good practice. We each made one.

Next, we each made individual projects. This is John's iris flower.

And this is my angel.

Next, John made roses. One is made of dark wood, the other from light wood. The two pieces were taped together and cut out at the same time. It worked very well, I think. This is the dark rose before it is glued together.

Here you can see steps in the projects in progress.

The projects we made last spring were each made out of one piece of wood. That is much easier to do and make it fit together. John painted his.

Next week, we will take an intermediate level class. Hopefully we will further hone our skills--and then remember them till fall when we return to Arizona.