Canadian Woodworking

Tiger lily

Author: Garnet Hall
Published: December January 2002

This project has some raising and lowering as well as some shaping to do. The more shaping you give it, the better it will look.


Here is another beginner level project with a couple twists.

The more shaping you give it, the better it will look. The actual size of the Lily is 10” x 8” and has 23 pieces.

Transfer the pattern to the wood.

You can use carbon paper, make a template or photocopy and spray glue the various pieces to the wood. Use whichever method you like best.

I like to make a template of the pattern: trace the pattern onto some thin material like 1/8” MDF board and cut the pieces out with a small blade, such as a #1 or #3 double tooth.

Trace template pieces onto the wood.

Cut the pieces out.

I like to use a #7 or #9 precision skip style blade. This is a very important step. Cut very carefully and the piece will fit better. MAKE SURE YOUR BLADE IS SQUARE TO THE TABLE!

Assemble and check for fit.

You may have to trim a piece or even remake a piece to get an acceptable fit. If I am within a saw kerf or 1/16” I am happy (and usually surprised).

Raise and lower the pieces as per instructions. I use scrap plywood to raise, in increments of 1/8”. Just glue the plywood scrap to the bottom of the pieces. To lower, just re-saw the pieces thinner or sand them thinner on a belt sander.

Shape the pieces.

Re-assemble and check for fit again. The next step is the shaping. Try to achieve a smooth transition from one level to the next. On the petals where I have marked slope down to L2 for example, that means shape the pedals down to 3/8” thick. The petals should slope down to the center marked L2. The stamens and the marks on the petals are burned in with a wood burning tool. You could also use a fine tipped marking pen.

When you are done shaping sand the pieces. I don’t sand past 220 grit. I don’t feel there is any point making more dust than I have to. You can sand by hand or use a tool like a Flap Sander.

Make sure you have some protection from the sawdust. Its best to have your tools hooked up to a dust collector and wear a good quality dust mask.

Glue up and round over.

Re-assemble the project on the cut-out back and start the glue-up. Ordinary, white carpenters glue is fine. With a small project like this, you can spread glue over the backboard and then place and fit the project on the backboard. You will have 10-15 minutes to move the pieces around. Don’t put any glue on the edges of the pieces because it will squeeze to the surface and cause finishing problems.

Round over the edges of the backboard.


Apply the finish. Any finish will work. I like to use Minwax Satin Durathane. Three coats on the front and one on the back. Sand between coats.

That’s about all, a few basic woodworking skills and a lot of patience and you will be proud of the results. This project is another step toward more challenging projects.

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