Much of the marquetry inlaid to the central panel of the Chippendale replica I am working on. Now I have added 80 laurel leaves (seen centre) covered in white protective paper. Inlaying these is a test of patience and precision. The leaves follow a green stringer which I have already dyed and inlaid into the Harewood background veneer. This will be a change from counting sheep tonight !! Wish me well.
My current project as seen below, shows a replica Chippendale pier table, first made for Harewood House, near Leeds in 1772. Note it has a curved back and front. This was because it had to fit into a circulate dressing room at Harewood. The table was subsequently damaged and sold, at auction, at Christies, in 1974 and purchased by the Chippendale Society for £8800. Today the table resides at Temple Newsam House. I have been invited to make a replica which will be on display in the Leeds Museum next February to celebrate Chippendale’s tercentenary. The table consist of two matching panels at either ends and a central panel which was decorated with marquetry using the inlay technique. This is where the background veneer, in this case silver/grey Harewood which is sycamore veneer dyed in a solution of sulphate of iron and logwood, is first glued to the substate. The marquetry, seen held in place with tabs of tape, is inlaid with a small inlay knife and tack hammer. The glue below is removed with heat and water allowing the marquetry to be installed into the resulting cavity. The marquetry will be constructed using the same tools and techniques used to construct the original. I am also videoing myself during construction and will be shown to the public when the table is displayed next February in the Leeds Museum. The colours of the veneers were scientifically proven by my dear friend Dr Heinrich Piening, using UV Spectronomy analysis on the original marquetry.
These images show about 80% of the marquetry elements in place. The central panel will take a few weeks to ‘inlay’. Following completion and polishing, the foliage will be professionally engraved by Malcolm long which provides the all important artistry to the leaves, as applied to the original.
My inlay knife (scene below) replicates the same tool used by London based marqueteurs around 1760. The tip is ground on both sides with bevels front and back. This helps turning the knife round sharp angles as one taps the knife with a small tack hammer to follow the inlaid lines. In turn this allows the background veneer to be lifted using heat and water to soften the glue below. It is a very rewarding exercise and one I get most satisfaction from. The end result provides tight joints throughout.
See more information re this project visit Replica pier table project