View Full Version : More Marquetry

Dave Fifield
06-24-2006, 6:09 PM
Here's some of my latest laser marquetry work - click on the pictures to see them full resolution. I believe I have the process mastered now :)

Actually, the sufer girl picture is all hand sawn, but her face is laser engraved on. This will probably be my last ever hand sawn marquetry piece ever!

http://www.daveswoodenwonders.com/FunInTheSurf_s.jpg "Fun In The Surf" (11" x 13")

http://www.daveswoodenwonders.com/SandyBay_s.jpg "Sandy Bay" (11.75" x 13.75")

http://www.daveswoodenwonders.com/SawdustShopSign_s.jpg "The Sawdust Shop" (15" x 19.75")

Dave F.

Brent Vander Weil
06-24-2006, 6:54 PM

All I can say is awsome... inlay and marquetry was what got me looking around at tools... THen I found laser :-) Now I am trying to make the laser pay while I experiment and try to learn the inlay & marquetry...

But I hope your laser marquetry takes off well for you... nice to know there will be anoither person to bounce the questions off of!!! LOL

Take care...

Clyde Baumwell
06-25-2006, 8:31 AM
Do you want to sell your pieces or are they just for fun? If you are selling them-how do you plan to?

Dave Fifield
06-25-2006, 5:34 PM
Brent - it took me quite a while to work out how to do laser marquetry successfully (and fast). I couldn't find anything online about the actual process. There were a few people/companies doing it, but none of them had a full explaination on how. I did get a few tips from people here on SMC. I learned how to do marquetry the traditional way from Dave Peck, Ken Horner, and Jim Sweet (local people). I consider the laser as merely a faster and more accurate way of cutting the veneers. I'm going to write up the process and put it on one of my websites soon. In the meanwhile, please feel free to ask me any questions you like.

CB - I will be selling them, yes - the "Fun in the Surf" and "Sandy Bay" pictures are available for immediate sale. I will keep a few special pieces for my house, but the intent is to try to recover some of the cost of my laser somehow! I can make 3 or 4 pictures a month (more if pushed, I'm sure). I haven't finalized anything with any gallery yet, but I have talked to a couple of local places. Did you have some other channel in mind?

Dave F.

Brent Vander Weil
06-25-2006, 6:09 PM

As always I find your offer of assistance very generous... I can say that one of the deciding factors for me buying a laser was the fact that I discovered this site before I did.

Thank you,

Mark Fitzmorris
06-25-2006, 7:20 PM
Those pics look great! I too hope to use my laser for marquertry but have not yet mastered the technique and skills for doing it on the laser. I am looking forward to your write up!

Mark Fitzmorris

Clyde Baumwell
06-26-2006, 10:50 AM
No - sorry - I did not have any suggestions about marketing them-I was just wondering if there existed a market for them.

Also, if I remember correctly, you too are an Apple Mac man-which leads me to wonder what, if any, software programs you used in helping create your marquetry. I have been fooling with Photoshop for doing some experimental marquetry.

ed mirzay
06-26-2006, 12:46 PM
Great job on those, they are really amazing!
On the sandy bay image, is the sail "drawn" on with the laser set to a
lower power setting? I noticed that the grain in the wood is continuous with the sea but if you cut it out you'd have had a large gap of laser kerf to fill.
We've (my wife and I) have had some success lately with much smaller pieces both in size and count, you've given us something to shoot for!
Again, amazing job!

Dave Fifield
06-26-2006, 4:49 PM
CB - Yes, there appears to be a fairly good market for artistic marquetry pictures on the left coast here. I have yet to find out if my pictures are good enough.....

I'm agnostic on the Mac vs. PC debate. I own and love both. I use a dual 2GHz G5 Mac tower with twin Sony 23" LCD widescreen monitors in my music studio and a Sony Vaio desktop for my general stuff and driving my laser engraving machine.

Ed - Thanks for the kind words. The sail is supposed to be rolled up - I think you mean the guy wires for the mast, right? Those I vector cut (from the back) and then filled with glue to secure. The result is the very fine lines that you see. The trick to getting a fine kerf is a) keep the power to a minimum, speed to a maximum and pulse frequency to around 2000 (if I recall correctly, these lines were done at P35/S82/F2250 on my 45W Epilog) and b) cut with the face down with the laser's focal point at the face (you will have to manually focus the laser to acheive this).

Mark - Thanks also for the nice words. I hope to have my "book" finished in the next couple of weeks. I think I'll be giving it away for free online, since the market for this stuff is very limited.

Dave F.

John Esberg
06-29-2006, 1:52 PM

I'm a laser owner just like you. I spend most of my time working with thicker pieces. I spend my spare time working with floor inlays.

So, here's a question for you. What techniques do you use to hold down the wood?



Dave Fifield
06-29-2006, 10:22 PM
Hi John,

I have a very effective technique for keeping the veneers flat for vector cutting.....it's simple and cheap too....and for a small sum of money, the secret can be yours....:rolleyes:

Just kidding....

All I do is to strategically place lengths of 3/16" thick (various widths from about 1/2" to 3" to suit) clean steel welding bar material on top of the veneer to be cut (which is face down, of course). I have a small pile of various width and length pieces that I choose from. I make sure that I place the bars flat so that the auto-focus probe doesn't hit anything, and I make sure that I don't put them where the laser is actually going to cut. Sometimes I put small pieces on the veneer which ends up being the bit that is cut out, but this is not necessary most of the time.

Actually, it doesn't matter too much if the veneer does come up off the cutting surface a little (1/8" max, I estimate). The worst thing that can happen is that you end up with a tiny gap that you need to fill with a glue/wood dust slurry later and/or the curly bit stays curly in the picture and tries to distort it. Focus is very forgiving in my experience.

Hope this helps.

Dave F.

Brent Vander Weil
06-30-2006, 12:11 AM
I have an idea for hold down... haven't tried it yet as I have not done any inlay or marquetry yet, but... if you know a computer tech who may have old Hard Disks that are junk... the magnets inside are SUPER STRONG !!! and it is kind of a stress reliever tearing the hard drive apart... :-)

Dave Fifield
06-30-2006, 4:54 AM
Brent, that won't work without extensive modifications I'm afraid. All the internals in my laser are aluminum. If I made a new steel base, then it'd work a treat!

Dave F.

Joe Pelonio
06-30-2006, 7:53 AM
When doing business cards on some thin veneer, I put a 12
x24 scrap of 1/4" acrylic that had 8 circles cut out of it, and
placed it in the vector grid. Then I put small bits of a very thin
double sided tape (not foam, basically just adhesive) on some
of the areas of the acrylic that were left, and pressed the
veneer onto it. After cutting, the few places where the DS
tape was still stuck onto the back of a card rubbed right off.

John Esberg
06-30-2006, 10:24 AM
Hello everyone,

I've defitely done some experiments in holding down veneer.

First I started with weights. It works just fine, but has two downfalls. First, it can take to long for a lot of pieces. I have a lot of air flow through my machine, so everypiece must be held down or it will be sucked up by the blower.

I've tried various adhesives. The best was spray tack. It's great for small pieces, but a pure nightmare for large ones. For large ones you have to use a very long/thin knife to scrape up the veneer. I also had to purchase spare 12"x12"x.25" aluminum plates so I would have to spray the inside of the machine.

If you would like to try this technique, use "Elmer's Spray Adhesive" from your local craft store, ie A.C. Moore.

For the aluminum plate, I recommend McMaster-Carr. Thier website www.mcmaster.com. If you have a hard time finding things I HIGHLY RECOMMEND calling thier customer service line. If they don't have what you need, they have an army of purchasing agents that will hunt it down for you at no extra cost.

On to the last technique.

Yes, double sided tape is great stuff. I don't really like it for small pieces, but it works just fine. I've used plenty of the scotch brand you can pick up from craft stores.

Now, here's an idea few people jump into. How do you get the residual glue off of the mounting material, ie the .25" aluminum plate. For me, I simply pull out my aluminum plate from the machine, scrape off any hard material such as tape, and then scrub it down with peanut butter and a bristle brush. Just like removing gum from your hair, p.b. is great for getting glue off of metal. Then you finish off by washing the item down with soapy water. Sounds strange, but it works like a champ!

Till later,


Jim A. Walters
06-30-2006, 6:11 PM
I would try a piece of painted brass coated steel under the thin flimsy stuff. You could magnet down to that. It might not work well for cutting, unless you didn't care about the backside. I know Johnson Plastics sells them.