Intarsia has been around in various forms for hundreds of years. It is one of the most beautiful and creative ways of combining art, woodworking and finishing. The very means of making (or in many cases just puirchasing) a pattern, deciding what woods to use throughout the work, then cutting, glueing and finishing the pieces is truly a time consuming pains-taking work, but when a good jog is done the results are outstanding.
Most people start off with either a scroll saw or some sort of a bandsaw. In either case, they both have their pros and cons. The next step is laying out the wood and deciding which piece will go where in order to blend the shape of the project and provide for shadows and highligts to bring out a three dimensional look to the piece.
Finding wood is easy, finding the right wood can be a challenge and finding the right wood in the right shape (or at least in a block of wood that is large enough) can be whole new experience. It is preferianal that the wood NOT be stained, but in many cases it simply is not feasible to find enough different colored woods to build a project and not stain at least a couple of pieces to really make the work stand out.
The Types of woods used are as varied as the woodworkers who use them. They can be hard woods, soft woods, scrap woods, I have even heard of people buying peices of wood from thrift stores and garage sales that are knife blocks, old burl clocks, old and broken chairs or other furniture that contain reams of valuable wood for the artisan and CHEAP prices. What a great way to re-cycle wood.
My prefered tool is a band saw, but only because I can use it for so many other things in my workshop. I do have to use a very fine blade in the saw, which is not perfect for very tight cuts. this meany I need to do more hand work than I would like to do but that is one of the drawbacks.
I guess soon I will need break down and purchase a proper scroll saw so I can progress along with my work and help me use up even more of the tonnes of scrap wood I have been holding on to for 20 years.
Copyright Colin Knecht