Now my middle child Fayth has turned sixteen and I have spent a lot of the summer working on something for her in between and around other projects. A tea tray. You may think it's an odd choice but this girl should have been hatched across the pond because she loves tea. The temperature gauge is topping 100* F outside and she's got the tea pot on the burner and Earl Gray waiting to steep.
For her birthday we found a nice antique Oriental tea set, just the pot and four cups, made in Japan. I thought a Tea Tray would be a good accompaniment.
I searched out ideas to match what I had bubbling in my mind, I wanted something early period but not a Pie Crust Tea Tray. My book collection didn't pay off but the auction houses on the internet did. Unfortunately the photos I saved of the inspiration piece are poor and from my cell phone and the piece has since sold from the online gallery and evidence erased.
What I found was rectangle in shape with straight sides dovetailed at the corners with flowing fretwork cutouts along the sides. What I was after was a canvas for a bit of redemption.
|The mistakes are there to see, especially if you look towards the bottom of the panel|
I freely talk here about the mistakes I make building something but the fact that I have to make them drives me crazy. I did this parquetry panel for the inside of my nail cabinet, my first shot at this type of work and I made many mistakes. So much so that when Chris Schwarz sent me LAP postcards for the inside, I was more than happy to pin them right over the veneer.
My incomplete list of mistakes:
- I didn't make a proper assembly board
- I didn't use / have access to the good backing paper
- I didn't use the right glue. I used Old Brown Glue when I should have used 192 hot hide glue
- I used super thin commercial veneer, this isn't a mistake per say, but it didn't help my cause
- I didn't prepare all my surfaces adequately, I knew I should, I just got excited and jumped the gun.
- I didn't get a good press of veneer to substrate and probably didn't press it long enough how I did it.
- I chipped off loose corners of veneer removing the glue on the show side.
- The list goes on . . .
I received a lot of good advice, even an email from W. Patrick Edwards, the man himself. I resolved to do better next time.
Learning, for me, tends to be an incremental process. I have to learn some of my lessons the hard way and that helps reinforce for me the parts of the process that are really important. I still didn't do things perfect this time, but I found out something that helped.
The right glue, a press, and thicker shop cut veneer go a long way.
I still pulled off some errors, I applied a mastic (mixture of hot hide glue and sawdust to fill gaps and holes) much later that I should have and made more work for myself. I didn't manage to order the right paper or make an assembly board and struggled at times laying out the pattern because of this.
|Parquetry down on the substrate and ready to go . . . or so I thought.|
At this point I realized I needed the mastic.
But foibles aside, I managed to pull off a useable and complete field of walnut parquetry. everything stuck, everything stayed, and other than the odd grain direction error here and there, everything looked good. Not the work of a master, but a might better than the last go.
I'll take any small victories I can get. Let's call it . . .a degree of redemption. Next up - the inlay.
Ratione et Passionis