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  • Beckinsale/tutorial

    This picture/pattern is not up for grabs, but it is a great example piece for explaining how to tackle an intarsia...where to start for example, and some great tips can come out of this.
    The inside cuts are always the ones I make first. I cut out the eyes, the eyebrows and the mouth...then set them aside. Next I cut out the hair. It is much easier to trace the face into the hair than it is to make the hair to match the outside of the face. Making hair is just like making feathers, you can make gang cuts, but not to many, and so you need to know where to start and stop. In the first picture, I have marked all the areas that can be gang cut. This means that several strands of hair can be transfered to a piece of wood and cut out similar to a segmentation style. You can not do all the hair this way because certain areas will not fit back together, and the kerf that is removed by the saw blade will reduce the size of the picture quite considerably over 10-15 cuts. There are a few hair pieces that must be cut as just one, but most can be cut gang style.
    how to figure it out? Above her left eye is a red squigly with 4 strands above it. These strands reach all the way from one end to the other. The green above is two pieces trapped in the center between the red below and the red above. If these were all cut at once, there would be a gap in there due to the saw kerf. So there are two reasons to watch for...saw kerf that makes a gap, and just overall saw kerf dimensional loss.
    why cut the eyes first? To make a good fit, the pieces need to be traced into position. It is difficult to reach a pencil down in a small hole. Build the piece that goes in the hole, then trace and cut the hole.

    The hair is taped together as it is cut, and constantly traced to the next batch/gang. Once all the hair is cut, the face can be traced in. The board for the face is jacked up higher by a few scraps of wood. The carbon paper and the pattern is pinned to the wood. This is the most crucial time where no errors can be made..the pattern must not move. The hair is set on top into position and clamped in place<see pic2>. The hair is all traced into place...then the eyes, eyebrows, mouth and nose. (this will be a glue on then carve down nose, not a seperate nose). when all is traced, pull out the wood and carefully freehand re-trace the lines to darken them<as in pic3>. Cut out inside holes and then the outside diameter. Be careful not to break any weak spots while cutting, as are evident with this particular face at the left eye and eyebrow.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by workin for wood; 03-02-2007, 02:09 PM. Reason: pictures didn't appear
    Jeff Powell

  • #2
    Because of the weak spots, this picture will not be able to be carved. Using the already made eye and eyebrow, they are traced to a scrap of wood and re-cut. The new pieces will become sacrificial to keep the face from breaking under the grinder and the power carver.
    The sub parts are put aside till later. The eyes and eyebrows were cut as a whole<see pic1>, but now they need to be trimmed to allow the hair to flow over the face. The eyes and eyebrows are inserted into the holes and the hair is carefully placed into it's holes. I trace the hair in<see pic2> and then make then cut the eyes. This is tricky with the small pieces. A pencil was tapered on the belt sander in order to reach down into the holes for the hard to reach tracing. A pair of pliers was used to hold the eyebrows and eyes at the short ends while trimming them at the saw.
    The hair and the face are taped together.
    The hair in this project is wenge. There is paper glued on top with 3M adhesive so that transfer lines are visible. All dark woods should have paper glued on them.
    Attached Files
    Jeff Powell


    • #3
      The little belt strap is cut next because of the tiny little pieces. It is easier to trace it into the big pieces than vice versa. It is taped together and then the rest of the pieces are cut. <pic1>
      The nose is going to be higher than the face to some degree, so it is now cut out. Earlier, the nose was traced onto the face just so that it would be able to be cut out later and glued to the proper position. After cutting the nose, it is sanded down and a taper down to the forhead is sanded on to it, and then it is glued onto the face<pic2>. When dry, and when time permits, out comes the grinders, carvers, knives and face mask.
      Stay tuned for tips to gang shape the hair.
      Attached Files
      Jeff Powell


      • #4

        The proper order of shaping is to do the face first. Then you have a reference point as to were all the surrounding parts will go. A face is simple to understand, you simply have to look in a mirror. An animal...not hard to get pictures...most cats and dogs look the same.
        With the face carved and sanded down, the hair needs to be shaped. There is alot of it...that's most of the pieces for this entire project, and so the best way to go is to rough shape it all at once...a gang shape. In pic one, I traced out the face and the hair onto 1/4 plywood and cut it out. All of the hair and the face is masking taped together on the back side and then placed into the plywood. The plywood is clamped down. A sharp chisel is used to remove the paper off the wood and then a cheap air grinder<pic3> with a 30 grit wheel is used to grind away at the hair. It's important not to touch the face with the grinder..that would be a very nasty result. Once a rough shape is achieved as in picture 3, all of the tape is removed. The hair at the lower left is ground down deeper to appear coming from behind her head. This is done on a belt sander. Other random pieces are then altered a bit on the belt sander and then all the pieces are beveled over for a rounded appearance.
        Once the hair is complete, the rest of the picture is then shaped and beveled. Use the height of the face to trace onto the collar for example, to determine the proper height, or at least get a reference point. The collar is ground down a bit lower than the face of course.
        With all the shaping complete, it's simply a matter of hand sanding and gluing all the pieces together. I prefer to use small amounts of glue on each piece, gluing the entire picture together, rather than trying to just glue it onto a backer.

        ...This is being my funnest project ever. Kate Beckinsale...Vampire (Underworld) ! Why Kate? Why anyone....or why not?!
        Attached Files
        Last edited by workin for wood; 03-07-2007, 03:18 PM.
        Jeff Powell


        • #5
          Thank you very much for doing this Jeff, it has helped me to understand Intarsia a lot more, cheers.


          • #6
            It's pretty simple at 70 pcs, and most of that is just hair...but I don't think I ever had more fun. She is so hot. The photo doesn't even do it justice..her cheek bone is perfect. I didn't know I could pull it off...Can't say I ever saw an intarsia portrait before, but this one blows my own mind. I know I'm my worst critic, but I can't find a flaw anywhere in it! I better go check my lottery ticket!
            Jeff Powell


            • #7
              All I can say is what a beautiful piece of work,And a great tutorial.

              Don't worry be scrolling


              • #8
                is that Mrs.Working for wood...

                Originally posted by workin for wood
                She is so hot. The photo doesn't even do it justice..her cheek bone is perfect. this one blows my own mind. I know I'm my worst critic, but I can't find a flaw anywhere in it!
                Hey Jeff, I hope that piece is of your wife and not some hot chick out on the road...

                Hawk G-4 Jetcraft
                Fish are food, not friends!


                • #9
                  nice job thats all i can say wow.



                  • #10
                    That is fricken spectacular bud! Wow!
                    Check me out on the web:


                    • #11
                      The portrait is is the tutorial!

                      I like that little grinder, might have to get me one of those!

                      Thanks for sharing.


                      • #12
                        Jeff --- THANK YOU !!!! I can now see where I had some trouble with my feble attempts at intarsia and why they didn't fit as well .I started out completly wrong.. I think you helped a lot of us understand better and will improve the task. I do wish the adm will make this a sticky so I can keep it as a printer is out of ink so I can't copy it. and I know I will forget something somewhere and goof up your tip.
                        Again -- thanks for the info.


                        • #13
                          Jeff, I have to agree with Sharon on the fact that what you are doing for all of us is a tremendous help. By watching a piece of artwork form and come to life such as you have done in these tutorials it has gotten my interest up in intarsia. I have never done intarsia before but by watching your work it is getting more interesting all of the time. Thank you for taking the time to do this. Steve
                          If This HillBilly Can't Fix it Then it Ain't Broke!!!
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                          • #14
                            Yes! Thank you very much for this tutorial. I've said a number of times on these boards that I'm interested in getting into intarsia, and I'll study this thread quite a number of times. It's great seeing your work-in-progress.

                            Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss

                            NEW DeWalt 788 and that old, Jimmy- Jerry- and Kevin-rigged Delta 40-560


                            • #15

                              I am sure there is a book in your future.

                              -Just do'in the best I can every day


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