I'm kind of curious of the process others go through. I have made maybe 7
projects with inlays / contrasts over the years that turned out just fine
but not that head turning wow that I'd like to hear. I see photos of some of
the projects on various websites or watch a 1/2 hour show on the TV and
wonder if it's the photography or if it's in the finishing heck I don't
know. My preference for finish is generally natural Watco and beeswax for
most anything I do that's not near a kitchen. I prefer to stay away from
exotics and work in the usual Oak, Cherry, Maple Walnut available to me from
local timber. I store and purchase lumber in rough stock so it is something
of a mystery until it comes out of the planer which brings me to the
question. Do you wait to see the wood and let it's looks/grain/figuring tell
you what it wants to be? Is there some "golden rule" about how some woods
compliment others? I personally think it's a right brain left brain thing
and I'm just missing it.
You don't say where you live. If you can see museum collections of
18th and early 19th century veneerwork you may get a better idea of
how woods pair traditionally. Those pieces are usually finished by
french-polishing (padding with shellac) which makes the grain show
In the eastern US, the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, the Winterthur
Museum outside Wilmington, DE, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston all
have fine examples. I think the Smithsonian has, as well.
Watco and beeswax can make a very attractive finish, but it is quite
different from french polish. You might want to try them side by side
on a couple of samples of walnut-veneered plywood, and see which you
If you haven't done french polish, you will need to practice, but it
can't hurt anything even if (when) you mess it up the first time.
Rodney Myrvaagnes J36 Gjo/a
"That idiot Leibniz, who wants to teach me about the infinitesimally small! Has he
therefore forgotten that I am the wife of Frederick I? How can he imagine that I am
unacquainted with my own husband?"
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