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  • My FIRST stupid question

    I have got to ask and this is where I'll do it---

    How do you cut from different woods and it all fit together.
    Do you cut ON the line or to the right or left and how come I can't get it right except when I cut from one board.
    I have tried to incorporate different woods to make one piece a couple of times and only made me fuss untill I got a headache.. I cut on the lines and I knew I would have to make adjustments but I was so far off it wasn't even funny.
    But now I can ask and hope I don't sound dumb -- but I am.
    I do good on just cutting from one piece of wood but I want to use up my scraps other than for kindling.

  • #2
    the only stupid question is the one you don't ask

    Sharon making it fit is the part that we all work toward. Where you cut depends on how you transfer your patterns. If you use the template method then you would cut on the outside of the line, if you cut the pattern out and glue it to the wood the you would cut the outside edge of the line. If you use carbon paper then you need to cut the center of the line. Whichever way you use after you cut a piece out retrace the edge onto the next piece your going to cut to help with the fit.
    Go to and read the e-book. It walks you through making a Teddy Bear start to finish and it's free.
    Bruce F. Worthington 2 free e-books on Intarsia patterns
    Chat Room
    e-mail [email protected]

    You never stop learning..


    • #3
      making individual cuts from different boards actually can make a better tighter fit than cutting the entire piece from one board. There's always some minor gaps in a segmented piece because of the thickness of the blade, of course using a thinner blade, makes the gap less. I prefer to use a big thick mean blade for intarsias. I begin with a piece in the center, such as an eye. Always cut pieces that are inside cuts first. You don't need to worry about what side of the line to be on. Lets just say your making a cut out the eyeballs, the nose and the mouth. Now place the carbon paper over the board that is the face and place the pattern on top of that. Use a couple thumb tacks to hold the pattern on the face. Place each individual component of the face over top of the pattern...lets say it's an eye, put the eye on the pattern where the eye goes and trace it through. Do the same for the rest of the parts, and then trace the outside of the face from the pattern. Now drill out and cut the inside holes before cutting the face. because these are traced parts, you cut on the inside of the lines. Now use masking tape to hold the parts in place. Need to add a neck? position the pattern, carbon whatnot on the appropriate wood. place the completed face on the pattern. Trace where the neck meets the face, and then use the pattern for the rest of the neck. The line where the face and neck meet, cut on the outside of that line. Tape the neck to the face, start the next piece, keep working your way out. Inside cuts, where a piece fits in a hole, you cut inside the line, outside pieces, which are the most common, you cut outside the line. This is the match and trace method. As you continue to expand your taped parts, you may begin to have a picture slightly smaller than the this happens, you simply extend some lines on the parts that come next...a tiny bit of creative liscence.
      Jeff Powell


      • #4
        HUMMMMM -- and I hate tracing -lol. I have a copier and I had just ran off several copies and used sizzors to cut out the part I needed then spray glued the pattern to a board and cut from there. Like I said I have tried my method a couple of times but it just didn't fit together . if I just glue the entire pattern to say a piece of poplar and cut each cut individual it works out fine. but I am out of big pieces and I do have a frog on a rock I want to do using splatted walnut as the rock.. then I have to find the tall pieces for the grass- the frog is in a bunch of little pieces I can use different woods on him.. I am afraid to mess up my "good" wood since it is so hard for m to aquire. but I so do want to learn to use the smaller pieces of my poplar woods also that are scrap and not just burn them as fire starters.. by the way -- it does make for good kindling..



        • #5
          Sharon..glad you asked your question..that's what this section was made question is too silly to of the great things about this forum is the wealth of knowledge present..seems that all questions get attention and answered without having to bounce around..

          Sue Chrestensen


          • #6
            When I do intarsia I have the same challenge due to the fact that the different pieces have to be cut from different woods with different grain directions. What I have done is glue my pattern to plastic and cut each piece. Then trace each piece on the respective piece of wood with the right grain direction. When I have cut two mating pieces there will be some definite places where they do not "precisely "join. Not real bad but not perfect. What I do now is hold the two pieces together and mark a light line across the join in a couple of places. This serves as a guide for how they will fit into the project. Hold the pieces tightly together and run the entire join through the saw at high speed with a #3 Skip tooth with some reverse teeth and reduce the hills and valleys and improve the join. This may take several passes but it works for me.

            Take you time and follow the curve of the join carefully.

            Good luck
            Scrolling satisfies the passion for intricate creativity. My saw is an Excalibur EX21.


            • #7
              you know, rather than cutting to plastic then tracing to wood, you can just have the pattern photocopied to vellum paper. Then you can see through the pattern to be able to tell which way the grain flows. Personally, I just set the pattern on the wood, fold up a corner and eyeball the grain direction.
              If using the trace method, it's easiest if all your lumber selection is the same thickness, but otherwise size doesn't matter. If the taped up pieces are too big to sit comfortably on your next piece to be traced, use some scraps to put under it for support. Do not ever cut spacer/riser pieces until all the pieces are cut out. If you have a piece glued to a riser, it may not give you an accurate tracing to the next piece.
              Jeff Powell


              • #8
                Thanks for asking the question Sharon. I have never tried to fit different woods together also. This challenge will be more than just a Aries challenge for us. But it will be a great learning experience.
                Owner of a nice 21" Excalibur
                Owner of a Dewalt 788
                PuffityDragon on AFSP


                • #9
                  No question is to stupid to ask....that's why there are forums for the questions and even i had questions in the beginning of Intarsia which are now obvious to me.

                  Everybody gets their own hang of it, with different kinds of wood using particular tpi saws.

                  With every piece i've finished i look back what i have done and how i did the project and try to fix the problem for next time.

                  My website:
                  That stuff on the floor....did my head just lost it??


                  • #10
                    I also use the photocopy method as I don't like the tracing. I have used both but for me the photocopy works best. I make as many copies as I need to cut each part out with a small border of paper around the cutting line. I start in the center of the project and cut on the line. As you work outward you can lay the previously cut parts on the pattern for the adjoining pieces and trace the edge of it to get a more accurate cutting line. This way if you have strayed off the line a bit you can match up the next piece. I also print a copy of the entire pattern to lay my pieces on as I go, this also helps me make sure my fitting is correct. If things don't fit very well, as Bob said, you can hold or glue them together and recut the line, whether you hold or glue is determined by how far off the join is, real far off, hold it, just a little off I like to glue. Drum sanders in a drill press are good for sanding off little areas where you have too much material.

                    One of the main things in intarsia is making sure you are cutting at a 90 degree angle. I keep a small square right by my saw to check my cuts. If it is off, your pieces just won't fit together. You must keep plenty of tension on your blade and be sure you are feeding the wood straight into the face of the blade.

                    Hope this has helped, don't ever be hesitant to ask questions.
                    What! There's no coffee?!!


                    • #11
                      Sharon....I visited the MSN Intarsia site yesterday and took a look at the Ebook on the intarsia rose. It's a nice little visual aid tutorial that might shed a lot of light on your questions. I had never seen anyone who applied the gel varnish after the whole composition was assembled but I like that approach. Most folks seem to varnish individual segments and then glue it up. I've been looking for a better final finish for my segmentation but never considered gel varnish for fear that it would collect in the many tiny cuts that are incorporated to approximate hair. I'm going to try it on my next one and blow the crevices out with air to see if it will work!!! My problem to this point has been that anything other than "spray ons" tends to lift the stain no matter how long I let the stain dry.
                      If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!


                      • #12
                        thanks chris I will try your method -- I have my saw set square so that may be why they won't fit when cut from different woods ..
                        Neal-- my sweet darlin' -- I did another rose but this time I use artist oils as my stain -can't really complain but I don't think I like it - I tried the oils on other projects and ended up burning them after a weeks worth of work on a 195 cut piece.. who knew that oil won't dry -
                        My oldest son gave me 2 gallons of clear semi gloss concret sealer that works wonders. I can spray it through my air brush or brush on -by the way if you brush it on it tends to bleed the colors if you don't keep the brush clean. The finish really brings out the grain in the wood like you wouldn't believe and it is resistant to water. 2 coats sparyed on would stand up to even being outside. Brushing on one coat brings out the grain and seals it good but for a gloss add another coat. Man this stuff is super-
                        I bought a refillable aerosol can at harbor freight and am going to try this for the sealer. when I get around to it.
                        But word of caution -- be in a well ventalated area or you will sing like a bird after the fumes hit you. it soon goes away after it cures- usually about 8 hrs. so I open the shop door and have the fans going.. then I take a break for a while away from the shop.


                        • #13
                          if your after more of a marquetry look, you should tilt the table a degree or three,that will make the pieces fit tightly together. Dale
                          Dale w/ yella saws


                          • #14

                            First of my article in the current mag!! Seriously... It seems logical to go to one side of the line, but actually, I have found that if you go right down the center, the fit is usually best. And I also draw all lines to adjoining pieces - not just cut out all the pieces and cut them all to fit later. I find that it's easier in the long run because you're not trying to get 20 pieces to fit - just one at a time.



                            • #15
                              Janet actually as we speak I am taking a break from cutting out the cat of yours.. I like this pattern real well but it is tricky with all the little points. I am using 3/4 poplar and not sure what colors I will make her. probably calico since I like calicos. I also have a frog on the rock I am cutting out - cutting the cat while I wait for glue to dry on my frog.. gee I hope I don't get the cat on a rock and the frog with a tail --lol


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