The Art of Marquetry
Craig Vandell Stevens
Photographs by Joy Shih Ng
This is an excellent book on the fret saw method. It has lots of detailed photographs that help with understanding the techniques being described.
Although the book is called "The Art of Marquetry", there is not too much on "ART" to say, but Craig spends most of his time describing the "double-bevelled" technique. This, as he describes, is when the two pieces of veneers are cut at the same time. The first veneer cut makes the hole, the second, the piece to fit in it, hence the "double". It is called "bevelled" because the angle of the cut is about 12% (depending on the thickness of the veneer).
In conclusion I would say that the book has some excellent detailed photographs which demonstrate the techniques being described by Craig. However, I would also add that it is only useful if you intend to pursue marquetry on the basis of cutting veneers with a fret or scroll saw. The book does demonstrate the sand shading technique very clearly. As far as the "Art" goes, Craig covers very few aspects that could be considered useful or instructive from an artistic perspective.
Craig Vandell Stevens
Craig Vandall Stevens designs and builds one of a kind furniture in his one-person shop in Sunbury, Ohio. He studied furniture making at the college of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program in northern California, a program renowned for its excellence in craftsmanship and attention to detail. There under the instruction of master cabinetmaker Jim Krenov, he developed an extensive background in traditional cabinetmaking techniques and hand-skills. The focused environment of the college became the setting for Craig to begin exploiting the delicate art of marquetry,
Craig's furniture and carvings have been recognized both regionally and nationally. He has received Awards for Excellence from the Ohio Designers Craftsmen and won and "Excellence in Craftsmanship" Award from American Woodworker Magazine's national competition. His work appears in Taunton Press' Design Book Seven and has been included in group and solo exhibitions around the United States. Craig is also responsible for reproducing many of the original architectural carvings for the historical renovation of the Ohio state House in Columbus, Ohio. The Art of Marquetry id his third book.
Craig teaches classes on a variety of woodworking topics and conducts small group workshops in his shop. He may be contacted at 11951 Wildwood Lane, Sunbury, Ohio 43074.
The book starts off with the usual introductions followed by a useful discussion on the difference between marquetry and inlay. There is sometimes confusion between marquetry and inlay. Inlay is the art of creating a design that is made up of shell, stone, metal and sometimes wood. The inlay is then glued into a cavity that has been hollowed or carved out of the surface. Marquetry is a technique where different colors of wood veneers are carefully cut to fit precisely together, creating a design in a single sheet. This veneer sheet or picture is then glued on to a solid, stable surface.
Initially in his book Craig shows some veneers and the tools required for marquetry. He also has a chapter on cutting veneers from solid wood. After this he describes the 'double bevelled' cutting technique. This technique is similar to the window method as used by knife cutters. The window methof has some advantages over the double bevelled, the main one being that while cutting the veneer you are able to see it's color, shade and direction of grain. You can still achieve the 'best fit' with the window method by cutting the veneer with the knife at a slightly similar angle. However, J do believe you get the best fits with the knife cutting techniques.
In the following chapters, Craig describes the construction of four projects; 2 leaves on a twig, a folded leaf, copper Iris, and winter bird. He shows you in detail the cutting, shading with sand and assembly (gluing the individual pieces together). Craig also utilizes an overlay method continuously throughout the cutting of each piece. This promotes the production of clean "joining" lines between the pieces.
The four projects are useful to beginners to follow, particularly if they are determined to learn the saw method. The projects can easily be adapted to the window method for cutting with a knife.
Craig does not cover the topics of finishing or framing. However, he does include a small gallery of pictures of some of his furniture pieces. These furniture pieces feature some of his marquetry work.
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
77 Lower Valley Road
Atglen, PA 19310
Phone: (610) 593-1777; Fax: (610) 593-2002
Click on the 'x' to close this window to return to the book list.