The Technique of FURNITURE MAKING

INLAY LINES, BANDINGS, ETC

It is a little sad that inlaid lines and bandings are no longer used in modern furniture, for they add great richness and a touch of welcome colour. Figure 302:1 shows various traditional examples, and 302:2-5 the method of assembly in which composite blocks are built up of layers of contrasting woods and veneers and then sliced as in 302:3, with a special planer or swage - set circular saw projecting only sufficiently above the saw-table to cut the thickness. Reproduction-work still makes use of these bandings, and those usually available from marquetry and veneer suppliers include 1/16 in (1.5 mm) boxwood and blackwood strings, 1/8 in (3 mm) boxwood, blackwood and rose inlay lines, three-line bandings box/black/box and box/rose/box, and some patterned bandings, viz. dentil, check, rope, domino, feather, herringbone, diamond and chevron in combinations of box, blackwood, mahogany, rosewood, tulipwood, satinwood and walnut, etc.

Lines and bandings can be incorporated in the veneer pattern at the time of assembly and laid as a single sheet; or the veneers can be taped together, laid and then incised for the lines which are cut in with a cutting-gauge or scratch stock working from the edge, or knifed against a template; or, if in circles or circular sweeps, a waste block can be cramped/clamped or paper glued to the surface, with a stub dowel in the centre working in a hole in a straight bar which has been part saw kerfed and screwed together to form a scratch stock. Various forms of cutters for use in scratch stocks are shown in 301:11, while 301:9 illustrates a simply made double knife from old hack-saw blades for use against a template (301:10). If the veneer has been laid with hide glue the waste can be lifted with the heated tang of a file, and eased out with a narrow chisel; but resin glues will require cutting out with the bevel of the chisel flat against the groundwork/substrate. If the grooves are fairly tight the line or banding can be glued with hide glue or Seccotine, pressed into position with the pein of a hammer and weighted down if necessary, or taped in position for cold-setting glues and re-pressed. Complicated assemblies may require several such pressings, working from the centre outwards, although it is possible to lay thin strings and bandings with resin glues and a soldering-iron or electric iron which will set the glue instantaneously, but there must be no surplus of glue or it will harden into lumps before it can be pressed out. Where the line is fitted against a central veneer with a cross­banding to the edges of the panel, the veneer should be cut and trimmed to shape, the line glued and held in position with veneer pins until set, and the crossbanding then fitted and glued, taping it down with cellulose tape tightly stretched to hold it firmly in position. Figure 294 shows the crossbanding of a circular table-top done in this way. Square lines rebated/rabbeted into the edge of a top are also anchored in this fashion and cleaned off flush when dry. It is essential that inlaid lines and bandings should be allowed plenty of time to settle, for the contraction of the glue will pull the inlays below the surface if they are cleaned off level too soon. Work containing inlaid brass lines should be brushed over with dilute polish to protect the grain against fine brass-dust, while the lines can be scraped flush with a steel scraper and polished with finest silicon carbide paper.

INLAY-WORK

The general term inlaying covers the practice of inletting any one material into another material of different colour or composition, but more specifically wood inlaying is divided into intarsia, in which relatively thick sections are set into suitable depressions cut in the groundwork/ substrate, and marquetry, in which the pattern is built up of veneers or materials in veneer thickness and applied to the groundwork as an overlay. Confusion often persists between the two terms, for marquetry pictures which adopt a naturalistic approach are sometimes known as 'intarsia pictures', but in practice it is better to confine the term inlay to intarsia or cut-in work, and marquetry to veneered work.

Intarsia-work

Originally developed in the fourteenth century this process uses separate inlays of wood, ivory, bone, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, brass, silver, etc. cut to shape, laid on the ground/ substrate, the outlines traced with a fine point and the appropriate recesses cut in with wood - carving tools, slightly bevelling the shoulders of the cuts to give a tight fit. Wood thicknesses are usually from 1/8 in (3 mm) to 1/4 in (6 mm) thickness and can be levelled off flush after laying, but the more precious materials in thin sheets are laid on a bed of plaster of Paris and hide glue suitably coloured. Metal insets can be laid with hide glue if the surface is first rubbed with a slice of garlic to destroy the grease, or preferably with epoxy glue. The original intarsia-work employed arabesques and elaborate perspectives.

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The Technique of FURNITURE MAKING

ESTIMATING THE COST OF MAN-HOURS IN HANDWORK

Where no previous records are available the proprietor must assess his own capabilities and those of his employees. Common joinery items are usually in softwood of fairly large dimensions, with …

Costs of man-hours

The total cost of man-hours at the rates paid, plus overtime rates where applicable, plus health insurance, pensions, paid holidays, etc. have to be considered. Here again these may be …

Appendix: Costing and estimating

Costing is the pricing of completed work taking into account not only all the direct expenses— materials, wages and insurances, fuel and power, machining costs, workshop expenses, etc.—but also a …

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