Canadian Woodworking

Leaping Trout

Author: Fred Martin
Illustration: James Provost
Published: April May 2008

This is an enjoyable intarsia project that uses the trace method for pattern transfer.


Begin by selecting wood for all the project pieces, and then transfer the pattern onto tracing paper. Tracing paper allows you to see the grain direction through the pattern. Make sure that you include the grain direction and alignment marks on the body pieces. The final dimensions of the trout are approximately 6 ½” x 9 ½”.

Mark out piece (A) using the tracing paper pattern. Remember to include the alignment marks, as they will help you fit the pieces of the body together. Cut out piece (A) and then sand the bottom edge to remove any burr. This allows the piece to sit flat and makes it easier to trace edges. If you have an oscillating spindle sander or a drum sander mounted in a drill press, sand the edges square; this will allow for very tight seams between the pieces.

Orient the pattern over piece (B) and slide the transfer paper under the pattern. Place piece (A) into position and using its edge as a guide, mark piece (B). Any inaccuracy in the first cut can be fixed when you mark the second piece. Cut, sand and fit piece (B) to piece (A). When you are satisfied with the fit, glue the pieces together. As the pieces for the body are cut and fitted they can be glued together because the body is shaped as a single unit.

Continue marking, cutting, fitting and gluing the remaining body pieces using the same method outlined above. Once the glue has cured, sand the gill area smooth with an oscillating spindle sander or a drum sander in a drill press. Then drill a ⅜” hole for the eye. If you have plug cutters you can make the eye out of any type of wood, or you can use a ⅜” dowel. For final shaping and smoothing of the body I used a bow sander.

To finish the trout I applied five coats of polyurethane, sanding lightly between coats. Once the finish has cured attach your favourite fly or lure by drilling a 1⁄16″ hole and epoxying it in place, attach a hanger to the back, and hang it over your fireplace!

Use first piece to align second piece

Fit second piece to first piece

Continue cutting and fitting rest of pieces

Sand the gill area

Fred Martin - [email protected]

Fred is an intarsia artist from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

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