Intarsia Basic Steps
Woods: The most common wood for Intarsia is Western Red Cedar because of its endless variety of colour and grain texture. But you can use any other wood you like the look of. I regard all the woods as the palette I have to work with in the same way an oil painter looks at their paints.
Start with a pattern: And it just so happens that I have some patterns for sale! Transfer it to the wood by tracing with tracing paper or make a template of the pattern. I prefer the template method. I also offer a couple Free Patterns for beginners. They are very simple and a good way to get your feet wet in Intarsia.
Another method of a lot of people use is the classic scrollers technique. Cut out the various pattern pieces and glue them onto the wood, with spray glue or glue sticks. You have to make a few copies of the pattern with this method. I give permission for the purchaser to make up to 10 copies for their own use and note for resale. If you can purchase them as PDF's, some programs will allow you to print off parts of the pattern.
Cutting: Technically the most important step, cut very carefully and the project should fit fairly well. After its all cut out assemble the project and check for fit. You may have to trim the odd piece or even remake a piece. Use sharp scroll saw blades with lubrication for best results.
Shaping: Try to achieve a smooth look, an even transition from one level and piece to another. You want to achieve a nice relief look. Glue the pieces on to a backing of 1/4 inch plywood. Baltic Birch is the best, with ordinary white carpenters glue.
Finishing: Apply a finish, and again there is no one finish for Intarsia, any wood finish will work. Use what you like and are familiar with. I prefer a satin durathane finish. I apply it with a brush, three coats to the front and one to the back.
Hanging: Attach a hanger, hang it on a wall, stand back and admire!
Click here to contact Garnet with your Intarsia questions >