I’ve yet to figure out why I’m drawn to marquetry. The furniture styles I prefer, Shaker, Danish Modern, Arts & Crafts—have very little in the way of embellishment. It doesn’t really matter. I like it. I like that it doesn’t require vast amounts of space. The tools are minimal. It is an economical way to use wood (I can afford a few pieces of fancy veneer). And it combines my love of art with wood. Ironically, I don’t want a house full of marquetry. I don’t want to live with the stuff. I just want to make it. I’m calling a therapist right now.

Yesterday I was able to get the chessboard I’ve been making in the vacuum bag and had a little time to play around with my scroll saw.  The scroll saw is a Hawk 226vs that I bought off of Craigslist. I had a little benchtop Delta, but it didn’t have much space behind the blade. My criteria for a saw was minimal; I wanted a lot of room behind the blade and I wanted it on a stand. I looked at a DeWalt at one of the big box stores, but the price was too high. When I saw this on Craigslist it looked brand new and they only wanted $300 for it. My son was on my lap at the time and he liked it because it was red. We took off to get it.

It sat in the garage for about a year untouched.

That is how it is when I have the best of intentions. I have the tool but that isn’t the same as using the tool. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve moved it out of the way to do something else, it would have paid for itself a couple of times over. But it was there to remind me that I did intend to do something with it.

When I dusted it off yesterday I was excited to get to use it. A while back I started working my way through a book on marquetry and spent some time with an X-acto knife. I liked that because it was easy and quiet. You can do a lot with a hobby knife. But I wanted to try the double-bevel stuff that removes all traces of a line.

I prepared a little practice packet and started the saw up. I cut maybe a half-inch down my line and the blade broke. Crap. I dug around and found some more blades and switched it out. I cut another half-inch down the line and the new blade broke. My blood pressure spiked. I put in a new blade. Same method, same outcome. I’m usually pretty cool but I was on the verge of throwing something. I checked the tension on the blade and it was where the owner’s manual said it should be. I broke another blade.

At this point I was angry that I bought a used piece of junk. Who’s ever heard of the Hawk brand anyway? What kind of a name is that for a saw? Stupid. Of course, it could always be operator error? After washing down a glass of Kool-Aid with my kids I went back out to the shop to give it another try. This time I turned the speed all the way down so that you could hear each tooth cut. It worked. Amazing.

The saw needed to slow down. I needed to slow down too. That’s the moral of the story.



7 Comments Add yours

  1. oltexasboy says:

    Listen bud , I know your a millennial, but you don’t have to analyze everything you do, just because you like it. When you like something you don’t have to justify it , just do it. Up to the point of carjacking or purse snatching maybe. Lighten up a little, you and your family will enjoy life more without trying to analyze everything you do just to see if it fits somebodies idea of what you are supposed to do. Again just do it and enjoy it . If you don’t enjoy it don’t do it.You remind me of my boys, give yourself a break.


    1. Eric Key says:

      Want to hear something funny? I’m not a millennial. And I do enjoy life. Analyzing things and learning through reflection is what makes me happy. It is also why I write about what I do. It may sound like I’m hard on myself but I’m not. I just prefer to share the defeats along with the victories.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. DR_Woodshop says:

        I love this reply. “Want to hear something funny? I’m not a millennial.” Beautiful. Share away.


  2. DR_Woodshop says:

    When I started learning to play guitar that was my teachers direction when learning songs. Especially flat picking bluegrass. Slow down to play fast.


  3. Todd Reid says:

    Being from Generation X my eyes aren’t good enough to do marquetry anymore. I wish I could video me holding up this plane iron to trying and see if the thing is square. You would get a hoot out of that.


    1. Eric Key says:

      I’m with ya. A while back I bought a task light that also has a giant magnifying glass on it. I use it for everything.


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