This is a very attractive and popular project that can be made easily within one day.
It is also a project that has proven to be a good craft seller. Although I made this entire piece out of Western Red Cedar, you can also use various exotic woods. Or, if you prefer, you can just use pine or spruce, and stain it.
This relatively basic intarsia project becomes extraordinary by putting extra effort into the shaping. The center is lowered 1/8” and rounded, so that the outside edge is 1/4” lower than the center of the center, creating a dome shape.
The petals are rounded, from the center of the petals out, in both directions. The inside ends are sloped down to match the center of the flower. The outside ends are sloped down 1/2”.
The leaves also need a lot of shaping. They are sloped both ways from the center to 1/4”.
Select Your Wood
Follow the pattern suggestions or go wild and use your imagination. This is a very creative step and the woods you choose will have a huge impact on how your project looks.
Transfer The Pattern
Get the pattern onto the wood with whichever method you prefer:
• Trace it on with tracing paper
• Make a template of the pattern and trace it onto the wood using the template pieces
• Photocopy and cut and paste
Cut The Pieces
Cut as carefully as you can. The better the cuts are, the better the project will go together. Lately I have been using a #3 Hook Tooth blade; because of the aggressive tooth design, they cut almost as fast as a Precision ground blade and leave a smaller kerf, resulting in a bit better fit. I would go to a #5 on hard woods, but use whichever blade you are more comfortable with.
Fit The Pieces
Don’t be overly concerned about fit. As long as you are within a saw kerf or 1/16”, you should be good to go.
Lower The Centres
There are only two pieces to lower. Lower the centres 1/8” by sanding or cutting them thinner.
Draw Reference Lines And Shape
Fit the project together and draw reference lines. These lines will help with the shaping by giving you something to shape to, so the shaping gives a smooth transfer from one level to the next.
Shaping, like wood selection, is a very important and creative part of intarsia. Try to give it the depth of a real daisy. Make sure you are protected from the dust, by remembering to practice safe woodworking. Have your tools hooked up to a dust collector, have an air filtration device, and wear a good dust mask.
Sand the pieces smooth, to 220 grit. Finer sanding just creates more dust and is unnecessary.
Assemble And Glue
Assemble the project on some backing material. 1/8” Baltic Birch will do, but 1/4” works just as well. Trace around the project and cut out the back. Reassemble the project on the cut out back and start the glue up. Ordinary carpenters glue is all you need. Apply glue to the bottom of the pieces, never the sides, as glue can squeeze to the surface and create finishing problems.
Apply the finish of choice. I use Old Masters spray satin, 3 coats. Enjoy this project and experiment. Although it is a basic project, use it to practice your shaping. See how that extra attention to shaping can turn a flat object into something that is outstanding!