This is my first attempt on making intarsia (made some time ago). The pattern is made by Judy Gale Roberts and Jerry Booher and was published in Scrollsaw Woodworking & Crafts, Issue 8. Most of the picture is made from pine (the eyes and nostrils are made from a piece of scrap hardwood I had in the shop – Itaube, I believe). I stained the pine in two different shades of cherry and finished with a clear lacquer on top. Even if everything is made from pine, I still made every piece separately to place the grain as suggested in the plans.
Home sweet home
I discovered a nice thing about making intarsia: Even if you have a plan it is very much possible to personalize the picture as you may wish. 🙂 When it comes to the work itself I realized that there is a good reason why people, who often make intarsia, have invested in sanding equipment as Kirjes, which have inflatable sanding drums. In my case I used a rubber drum in the drill press, a belt sander, a disc sander, sanding paper and a lot of elbow grease. A big task but I’m quite pleased with the result.
If you missed part 1 please find it here.
For the frame of the clock I decided to use a dark hardwood so it would be a contrast to the gears made from birch plywood. I decided to use Itaube, an oil rich type of hardwood from Brazil with a nice reddish brown (sometimes almost orange) color. Most of all I chose that kind of wood because it was the nicest dark wood my local timber yard had in store. 🙂
In Denmark Itaube is mostly used for making terraces because of its durability so the board I bought at the timber yard had grooves on one side (which didn’t suit my purpose very well). What to do? I went to our local carpenter who was kind enough to run it through his planer for me to get rid of the grooves. The board was now just 16 millimeters thick but much nicer than I could have made it myself using a hand held planer. The funny thing is: When you sand Itaube it turns a kind of gray but after a couple of days the reddish brown color comes back (I don’t know why but I guess it has something to do with the oil content).
The backside of the frame looks like an inverted cross with cutouts on both the vertical and horizontal board so the assembled frame has the same thickness as the individual board (that kind of joins probably have a name which I’m not aware of). I made the cutouts using my router table and a hand saw (see photo number 2). On the last photo all the pieces are ready for assembly. I chose to use both dowels and glue for assembling the frame to make it stronger.
Holes for the axles and a first test
The first photo shows the finished frame (assembled but not glued) and all the gears. I chose to drill all the holes in the front and the back at the same time – and one pair at a time! Since my gears are handmade inaccuracies can’t be avoided, so I drilled one pair of holes and used the gears to find the placement of the next pair of holes (see photo number 2).