Saturday, 27 September 2014

Intarsia Finished

Hi all,  In my last post I left you with a picture of the intarsia project that I was working on. Here it is again just to jog your memory.
At this stage it looked like a kid's jigsaw puzzle, but there was still a lot of work to be done. After cutting the pieces out they had to be shaped to give the fish a realistic look when it is glued together. The shaping was done using various bit of kit in my workshop. A disc and belt sander was used to make sure the back of the pieces were flat and the edges were rounded over with my oscillating drum sander. I also used a rotary tool in places where the drum sander wouldn't go and then stuck the fish together on a backer-board that was cut from a piece of 3mm ply.

The whole thing was then sanded by hand, down to 240 grit and then given three coats of gloss varnish. Finally, I put a hanger on the back and stuck it on the dining room wall for my wife's approval. Here it is complete with a pyrography eye that I forgot to mention.
My wife liked it and asked me to leave it exactly where I'd hung it, so I did and now it stares back at me every morning while I'm eating my toast.

So what are my views on intarsia?
Well,to be honest, they are mixed. I enjoyed shaping the wood and the end result is reasonable, however it is very time consuming. In other words, the amount of effort put in was beyond the amount of pleasure I derived from the finished product. Having said that, I learnt a few things while creating the fish and will use my newly gained knowledge on future project  even if they are not intarsia based.

If you fancy doing some intarsia, please have a go. I can recommend the book I used by Kathy Wise, it is informative and well written with clear photos of the processes involved.

For my next project, I will be doing a couple of commissions that came from my wife. I will show you them in my next post. I will have to ask you to be patient because time will be tight. I have just started decorating the living room and I promised a few people that my latest book, 'The Reluctant Pom' would be published buy the end of September. It looks like that might have to slip a few days; still, it's good to be busy.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Reluctant Pom

Hi all,
I thought I'd just share with you the cover for my new book 'The Reluctant Pom.' My father dragged me off to Australia when I was an impressionable 16 years old. Having just started work, purchased my first motorbike and discovered girls, moving to the other side of the world was the last thing I wanted to be doing. This book is the follow up to 'A Staffordshire Boy' and is my recollection of the  adventure.
Any comments would be welcome. Scroll sawing and pyrography posts will be resumed shortly.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Hi all,
In my last post I mention that I was doing some intarsia. Well today I'm going to show you how I'm getting on. But before I rush in, perhaps I ought to explain what intarsia is because until very recently I'd never heard of it either.

According to those who know, intarsia was probably practised in Italy and it is the the name given to pictures made from various pieces of solid wood that are hung on a wall for decoration. To me it seem to be a mixture of, sculpting wood, marquetry and a jigsaw puzzle.

The intarsia process involves sticking a pattern onto one or more pieces of wood and then cutting them out with a scroll saw. Each separate piece is then shaped by sanding and or carving  before they a stuck back together. One can use different types of wood and also grain direction to produce effects like those found in marquetry. But other mediums can also be incorporated to good effect, these include pyrography, stains or paints.

 I've always fancied having a go at sculpting some wood, and this seem to be the easiest option because it is only two dimensional.

I guess my description of intarsia is about as clear as algebra was to me at school, so it might be better for you google some  'intarsia' images and you will see what it is all about.

So far I have managed to cut out the pieces for a fish of the carp family.
At the moment it looks like child's jigsaw puzzle, but I'm hoping to bring it to life with some delicate sanding and then finish it off with some pyrography. Please watch this space if you want to see how I get on. It will get better, I hope.

By the way, for those interested in my books, my latest  offering to the proofreader. It is called 'The Reluctant Pom' and should be available soon. I will give you more details in my next post.

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Hi all,
Apologies again for the lack of posts, but the house renovation is taking top priority at the moment. I hate the smell of paint so I want to get as much as possible done while the weather is warm enough to have the windows open. This means the intarsia project went to the bottom of the pile.

Talking of paint, what the hell's happened to it? I am using major brands but my experiences are nothing short of terrible. I purchased yellow emulsion and it took four coats to get the walls to the colour on the tin. I could understand if I was trying to cover some black paint but the colour I was painting over was a light shade of pink. Also, the brilliant white gloss I used on my bathroom door has gone yellow after only three months.

The scandalous thing is that I'm paying a fortune for this paint. Does anybody know a brand that doesn't let the side down. I don't mind paying for quality stuff but paint I'm using is a rip off.

That's enough moaning for now, let's get back to the intarsia. I have actually made a start by sticking the pattern onto some wood, so bear with me and in the next couple of days I promise to share my progress with you.