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Intarsia and Marquetry are they same?

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  • Intarsia and Marquetry are they same?

    Besides being a beginner with scrolling,I am some what confused with the terms intarsia and marqetry. I feel there is a subtle difference: intarsia is more of making a picture of close fitting pieces of different colored wood,shading,making illusions of 3d;marquetry is more of making inlays-that can be made up intarsia, or solids such as metals,bones,etc.. Am I understanding this correctly. or are the words synonymus???Thanks,PW

  • #2
    Looking it up in various places confirms my impression of the fuzziness of the distinction. Intarsia refers to "mosaic" of wood where there might be differences in thickness or sculpting or rounding of edges of the individual pieces. Marquetry, it appears, refers specifically to an inlay of veneers in a ground of veneer that is applied to a substrate. Marquetry would be one specific type of intarsia, where all the pieces are flat and of the same (veneer) thickness.

    I'm sure there are lots of other opinions on this -- I gathered this from poking around in dictionaries and a fer web sites.

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    • #3
      I guess there are many different ways to look at each art form. As I see it, marquetry produces a flat, two-dimensional image. Intarsia uses thicker woods and that is sanded to create a more three-dimensional detail. Go to your public library and you will find several books on both forms.

      I haven't tried marquetry yet. I dabble in intarsia and am told Judy Gail Roberts is an authority in this art. I have made a few pieces from her patterns and love all her work.

      Dan
      Dan H

      I would rather be friendly to a stranger than be a stranger to my friends.

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      • #4
        I say we just call it 'Art' and let go all the confusion.

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        • #5
          One important distinction between marquetry and intarsia is the construction method. Intarsia involves pieces of relatively thick wood being cut and then sanded to fit. This can result in a very tight fit but often there is a gap; I'm told 1/64" is acceptable. Marquetry is assembled in one of two ways and no gap is acceptable.

          The first marquetry method is the overlap method (now largely obsolete) whereby a piece is cut to shape and partially adhered to a backer board, leaving an opportunity for another piece to be slid underneath. A knife or scalpel is used to trace the edge of the top veneer onto the bottom veneer. The bottom veneer is then removed and cut to shape, the top veneer is finally glued into place and the bottom veneer becomes the template for the next veneer.

          The second method is the window method, whereby holes (windows) are cut in waste veneers, the piece of veneer to be inserted is taped underneath, and the edge of the window is used as a template to guide a knife/scalpel to trace the outline of the cut on the piece of veneer to be inserted. Once the ouline cut has been traced, the piece of veneer is removed and cut to shape.

          I've sometimes thought that intarsia has a lot to learn from the window method of marquetry.

          Gill
          There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
          (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

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          • #6
            Intarsia or Marquetry

            Yelp,you all confirm that on this one occassion I was right. Its my birthday so anything can happen. I want to lean more to marguetry, and that window method piqued my interest. Thats what David Marks used. Feel free to email me about any of this,I love all aspects of wood working and can talk all day. PW

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            • #7
              Boule

              I dont know too much about marquetry but when I did the clipboard on my gallery I used the Boule method, one piece on top of the other with the blade cutting at an angle.
              There is a school in France that teaches the Boule method. You cant go wrong with this style of inlaying, any error in one layer is matched in the other and there is zero tolerance when the project is assembled.
              So many schools of thought..... Gotta love forums
              CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
              "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
              Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

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              • #8
                The word intarsia is derived from the Latin verb "interserere" which means "to insert". Intarsia has been an art form since the eighth century where-in wood was sliced into tiles and inlaid forming a type of mosiac. I'm pretty sure Judy Gail Roberts resurrected the term and applied it to her art form. I think it has become the popular word to describe that type of portraiture as a result of her books. Based on the definition alone, I would say that any type of inlay work would be classified as intarsia.
                If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Neal Moore
                  The word intarsia is derived from the Latin verb "interserere" which means "to insert". Intarsia has been an art form since the eighth century where-in wood was sliced into tiles and inlaid forming a type of mosiac. I'm pretty sure Judy Gail Roberts resurrected the term and applied it to her art form. I think it has become the popular word to describe that type of portraiture as a result of her books. Based on the definition alone, I would say that any type of inlay work would be classified as intarsia.
                  More than just a hatrack there Neal I think you are right about Judy Gail Roberts. She is truly a master who brings new light to wooden inlays
                  CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                  "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                  Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CanadianScroller
                    There is a school in France that teaches the Boule method. You cant go wrong with this style of inlaying, any error in one layer is matched in the other and there is zero tolerance when the project is assembled.
                    Gosh, I don't want to be confrontational, Carl, but...

                    That method sounds similar to the overlapping method I described earlier. It's fine when you're dealing with relatively large pieces of veneer, but error does creep in when you're dealing with small pieces.

                    Or have I misunderstood you?

                    Gill
                    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

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                    • #11
                      the angle

                      Not confrontational Just lots of points of view
                      The angle of the cut will compensate for the kerf of the blade.

                      There was no glue holding this together. The taper in the pieces wedges into the mating piece.
                      It is very similar to the stacking cuts but the 3 or 4 degree angle makes the difference.
                      CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Carl

                        It's certainly a nice piece of work. What about when you start looking at detail, though, especially on small pieces of work? I would have found it impossible to use the method you describe to insert the stork's leg and eyes:



                        Similarly, when you have a long, curved detail such as the jaw on the alsation portrait it's very difficult to get a consistent angle without using the window method:



                        I think it's important to bear in mind that both pieces of marquetry were carried out using a knife and not a scroll saw. I can understand how a tilting table on a scrollsaw will contribute towards (but not guarantee) a more consistent angle, but often you need to manipulate veneers in ways that only a scalpel or knife can achieve.

                        Gill
                        There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                        (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Gill:

                          About those knife/scalpel tool you use...
                          Could you take a photo of your tool?
                          Do you get them from a medical supply house?
                          If medical supply, they don't ask a ton of questions about buying scalpels?
                          Are they the 'use once' surgeon's scalpel? or the old fashion type that can be sharpened?
                          Is it what we on the other side of the pond call a hobby knife with a replaceable triangle razor blade edge?
                          http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...?v=glance&s=hi

                          If you sharpen your tool, Water stone? New Ceramic stone? Leather Strop?

                          Thanks

                          Phil

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                          • #14
                            Sorry Phil, but my answer's going to be a bit irregular.

                            Back in 1990 I was serving in the RAF and I happened to show a medic a marquetry project I was working on. Like you, he also asked me what sort of knife I used so I told him it was a standard orange craft knife, something like this . The next day he gave me a standard surgeon's scalpel like this, together with a number of spare blades. I was quite surprised, but he told me that they wouldn't be missed and they were regarded as being disposable anyway.

                            Since then, all my marquetry (including the alsation) has been cut with that scalpel and the original blade it came with. Of course, the blade couldn't last that long without maintenance, but it's important to remember that only the tip gets blunted. So I sharpen it frequently on a much abused India oilstone. However, I never bring the cutting edge into contact with the stone. Instead, I merely stroke the back of the blade over the stone a few times. This wears out the tip's support and removes just enough of the cutting edge to give me a very sharp point. The blade is now significantly shorter than it was when I first started using it, but it's like an old friend now. I reckon we've still got a few years together before I need to think about a replacement.

                            Gill
                            There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                            (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ah-HA!
                              It is the Tool and the Skill that make the craftsman, er-r craftsperson.

                              I just knew you weren't talking about some inexpensive hobby knife. Those long straight bird legs had to be made with a better tool.

                              You must have several sources for tool supply but have you ever tried this site http://www.dick.biz/ this is a hand tool company in Germany. Under the Fine Tool selection, and then Sharpening Tools, they have some Japanese Waterstones. You can get a waterstone several times finer grit than your well used India stone. I noticed the prices in EU are high, includes a VAT tax, but the edge from a 6000 or 8000 grit waterstone are something to be seen. Look at the man-made Stone King brand waterstones. (ah-h, don't be drinking a cup of tea when you see the prices.)

                              Anyway, the above link to Dick GmbH, do a search for scalpel, and they carry a craftsman's carving scalpel. Click on replacement blades, and then check out blade type 'E' item 700428. Thosr blades just may fit your knife.

                              BTW: I came across this site because I a while back I was looking for Intarsia carving knifes, because I didn't want to use a drum sander to shape Intarsia if I ever tried it. Dick hand tools has a set of three carving knifes just for intarsia. The knifes are from France.

                              Phil

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