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  • Intarsia Wood

    Hey Everyone,

    I am interested in starting an intarsia project, but I am not quite sure what type of wood to use. I have seen a lot of beautiful projects that use only different shades or red cedar. Does anyone know of a website that sells 1/4" thick red cedar, in small pieces so I don't have to spend a fortune on wood for one project? Thanks!

    -Dan

  • #2
    Dan,
    Another option would be to use a wood that you have easily available and stain the wood. Some purists insist that you use only the natural color of the wood, but to get those colors, you sometimes spend a lot of money. Judy Gale Roberts uses Cedar a lot, but that's because they have a lot of it locally. Look at the things Neal Moore does with Poplar and different stains...

    That's where I started with my first Intarsia project, a St. Bernard Puppy...Poplar and different colored stains. I can get the poplar at Lowes and choose the grain...

    That way I won't mess up more expensive wood!

    Bob
    www.GrobetUSA.com

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    • #3
      Many online places sell thin cedar. over to the left is a link "other great sites" which will have links to a few, or, under the thread in wood and materials on wide boards, is a few excellant links to try. dale
      (most intarsia involves wood thicker then 1/4 inch though)
      Dale w/ yella saws

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      • #4
        I just read an article on intarsia that uses what he has and makes his stains out of acrylic paint that is watered down and sometimes watercolor-- sounds like it is even something even I could do using poplar and just turning the grain in different directions.with all the colors of acrylic just think of the endless possibilities you would have.. Now if I just had a good sander ...

        Sharon

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        • #5
          Great information! I think I will try the staining/painting method first, because it will most likely be cheaper, but maybe after I have a few more projects under my belt I will try one with cedar. Thanks, and I'll try to post a picture of it this weekend.

          -Dan

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          • #6
            Try Lowes or Home Depot for Cedar

            Take a look at some wide cedar fence boards at your local big box store. Some of them have pretty nice grain and with a fair amount of sanding, are not too espensive. I'm not a huge cedar fan, since it is so soft, but have scrolled some in the past for intarsia work and it worked out pretty well.
            Jim

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            • #7
              If you're going to go the stained route, I would get soft white wood (the "white wood" at big boxes is usually spruce or pine). The horse head and dog head in my gallery are both cypress. I chose that because I have a lot of it on hand that is soft, white and clear. Soft matters because it soaks up stain so well. Mix your stains to get the exact shade you want by soaking the piece (miniature pie pans work great for that). Don't depend on being able to match pieces done at less than full strength by lightly brushing. Use wood conditioner (I am assuming use of oil stains) first so the pieces stain evenly.
              -Andy

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              • #8
                Stained wood and intarsia

                Andy gave you some good advice regarding staining. The only problem you might encounter with stained wood for intarsia is that it will raise the grain on soft wood such as pine and poplar and you won't get as smooth of a final finish as you would with natural wood. You can sand the wood smooth before staining using a sealer but it is more difficult to get it to soak the stain up evenly.
                If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!

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                • #9
                  Good point about grain raising. Oil stains are not as bad as water based about grain raising, but they do a little. I ignored it. I should post another picture of the dog; that one is prior to clear coating. But you can see a little grain. On the horsehead, the contouring makes it far less obvious. You can spritz water on, wait a few minutes and sand, then wait a few days for full drying and then stain if you want to eliminate it. On a piece like the dog, that isn't contoured, you could do that to the whole board prior to cutting.
                  -Andy

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                  • #10
                    Dan;
                    Have you ever checked ebay for intarsia wood ? ?
                    I was reluctant to try ebay because I had heard that some have got ripped off but one of my son's was here a while back and showed me the ins and outs of buying on ebay and I have been getting some real nice wood at reasonable prices.
                    As an example, here are some zebrawood pen blanks that just arrived today and I am very pleased with them.
                    There is all kinds of nice wood available there for different types of projects.
                    W.Y.

                    http://www.picturetrail.com/willyswoodcrafting

                    The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

                    Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .

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                    • #11
                      W.Y. is right, lots of good wood on eBay. If you look back in the archives of this section, around mid-December, there was a great thread on "Where do you buy your wood". Here's my two cents from that thread:

                      Living in the frozen north, I pretty much order most of my wood. For some reason, finding businesses in "America" willing to ship via the US Postal Service, instead of UPS or FED EX is tough.

                      I get most of my hardwood from suppliers I met thru e-Bay. The top 4 are:

                      Gary at Peppermint Springs Furniture, http://www.peppermintspringsfurniture.com/ ,
                      eBay name peppermintsprings Great walnut, cherry, and maple.

                      Kim, aka deerhunter56 on eBay - excellent thin wood at prices that can't be beat!

                      Scott and Nancy aka CRWOOD4U on eBay - great selection of all domestic species, I buy wide (9"+) cherry and butternut here.

                      Chit at Chit's Exotic Hardwood Cache, www.chitswood.com, or aka chitswood on eBay. LOTS of exotic stuff at this place.

                      I have NEVER had a problem with any order, you get what is described, and often is is much nicer than expected.

                      There is one other place I bought from "in person" while visiting family in Minnesota. Heritage Building Specialties in Fergus Falls offers great domestic and exotic wood. They will even resaw and glue-up wide scroll blanks for you. Contact at www.heritagewood.com
                      ‎"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They're easier to ignore before you see their faces. It's easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes."

                      D. Platt

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Bearfretworks;
                        I printed out that page for future reference.
                        W.Y.
                        http://www.picturetrail.com/willyswoodcrafting

                        The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

                        Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          One of the biggest sources for intarsia woods that is over looked is the local high school.

                          Many kids in school are taking woodwork as an easy out from the workload.
                          Some do not have the feel for wood, or its value that we do.
                          A few years ago I went to a school and gave some scrolling demos and lessons. The Shop teacher gave me free reign in the junk bin. He also gave me a slab of teak that was about 3 board feet. In return I cut out a Rams head for the school, their mascot, and made a couple of other projects.

                          High schools get so many types of wood you will have no problems picking up the colours you need.
                          If you are looking for just cedar scraps, try a fencing company. If they are not building fences from scratch they are constantly trimming fences to fit lots.
                          If you tell them what you are doing with the wood you are probably going to get it for free. It seems there is much honour and reverence between craftsmen in the woodworking field.
                          CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                          "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                          Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

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                          • #14
                            I would like to start a first Intarsia project but my wood selection here in Taipei is pretty bad. About the only kiln dride stuff I can get is fir or pine. I went to a local saw mill yesterday. Now this is a place that would make OSHA go stark raving mad. But they had pieces of unidentifiable wood all over the place. But is was all pretty wet. In this humidity no telling how long I'll have to wait to get it dry enough to work. A trunk load only cost me about $9. I can get somne fair quality 1/8 to 1/2 sized ply wood.

                            Here is my first project with some 5mm plywood I bought at the local B&Q, British Home Depot.


                            I'm going to try the Tightgate free pattern from Scroll Saw Patterns.

                            I have to make a trip to Hanoi in a few week and I'm going to see what I can scrounge up there.

                            This is really fun.
                            MinotBob
                            Makita MSJ-401
                            Universal Tools:
                            Remember you only really need 2 tools: WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the Duct Tape

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