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Three Veneer Marquetry & Making The Great Wave DVD
by Peter White

This may look like an extended review of a new training and instructional DVD, but this one is, in my opinion, so good that I thought it merited a thorough review, so read on and enjoy.

Firstly, as you see here, this instructional & tutorial DVD covers the interesting, and perhaps unusual to you, specialised category of the 3 veneer class. This means that you are limited to using no more than three different veneers for the work.

The subject chosen for this tutorial is the justly famous painting by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai of “The Great Wave”.

As the original painting involves a lot of pen work in traditional Japanese style, this has to be replicated in wood veneers in order to stay truthful to the actual art work.

(Note: For details of how to purchase this tutorial DVD, or indeed any of our tutorial DVDs, just click this following link:
"Tutorial DVDs Purchase Information" )

Main Menu Screen
Introduction and main menu page
DVD Jewel Case
The DVD Jewel Case

The intro chapter of the DVD shows you some amazing three veneer marquetry pictures from years gone past.

You would not believe the inventiveness to be found from marquetarians over the last ten or more years.

The examples of three veneer marquetry from years gone past will astound you, and, every one of them is indeed a genuine three veneer picture.

They may look like there is more than three veneers there, but there isn’t!

Each of the pictures in this review is an actual true screen capture from the DVD itself, there is no tweaking and adjusting, these are true screen captures. The technical quality of these DVDs is. of course, beyond reproach, it is indeed first class.

This three veneer class was the brain child of one Alf Murtell of the old London Group.

Alf wanted to introduce a challenge which would make the marquetarians of the day carefully consider the qualities of the three veneers they chose for their marquetry picture in that they had to think carefully about the figuring, colouring and grain patterns when selecting those three veneers.

It is often very challenging if you only have small pieces of veneer in your veneer collection. Full leaves are best here, but how many of us have full leaves at our disposal? Not too many I imagine.

But it all took off a lot better than Alf ever thought it would, and is now a very popular category at our International Marquetry Exhibitions.

But I’ll not go into too much chatter here about such things, as Peter does cover the history fully in the intro chapter of the DVD in a more comprehensive fashion.

Alf Murtell
Alf Murtell
DVD Menu Screen
The tutorial starts

I have to admit that when I normally conduct a review I usually take a break half way through for a mug of tea and a slice of cake, but this DVD was so enjoyable that I watched it all through from beginning to end in one complete session.

Then I had my tea and cake and watched it all over again - it was that good.

Peter spent quite some time refining and editing this DVD and it really shows, it is up to the highest of standards and very entertaining.

Of course it is in wide screen format and has more than an hour of content divided into two chapters. Chapter one is the one we have looked at in this review so far, chapter two concentrates on the building of Peter’s award winning (it achieved first place in the three veneer category) “The Great Wave”.

But let’s get back to chapter one for a minute. It demonstrates how you can get perfect marquetry portraits from a limited palette of just 3 veneers.

Selecting Background Veneers
Peter selects the background and waster veneers
Selecting Picture Veneers
Selecting the walnut for the ocean waves

All the tones needed are there in those three veneers if you look. Peter guides you in selecting the best veneers for the task.

But, let’s now move on to chapter two which is where Peter guides us through the build of his incredible interpretation of Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”.

Now you would think that such a detailed picture with so many thin outlines would be almost impossible to transfer to the medium of marquetry.

For many of us that statement would indeed be true, but Peter, being always up for a challenge (in marquetry terms) was not put off in the least; and not only that, Peter also decided to record every step and make this training and instructional DVD from that process.

The next series of screen captures shows the build process from beginning to end, although, obviously, you only see a small handful of ‘sample snaps’ in this review, these are all taken from various sections of the tutorial.

The pricking out as mentioned in the text below
Making the cut
Peter now cuts out the pricked pattern
Peter starts with demonstrating how the A3 drawing was made, and then the background (waster) veneers were chosen after that Peter shows his choice of the main veneer for the body of the picture.

Don’t forget that in all this, you are limited to just three veneers for the entire project. It may seem a daunting prospect, but with Peter’s guidance you can see it is all done with comparitive ease. But at the moment we are just at the veneer choice stage. Now we move onto the actual cutting and assembly stages.
With one of the screen captures above you can see that Peter is selecting the best piece of walnut for the body of the wave.

The next picture below that shows the pricking out for the foam and lighter surface of the wave until it is ready for cutting and removing from the main leaf. There are some inportant points to remember here in order to get a clean cut, but you will have to watch the DVD to find that information out!

The build of the picture is now moving on apace and is starting to really resemble Katsushika Hokusai’s original painting.
It's coming along
A good two thirds of the way through
the build of this marquetry masterpiece - looking good already!

Nearly Finished
Getting ready to add the fishermen in the boats
Peter is really nailing the marquetry version of this famous picture. The sky veneer is truly amazing, a perfect choice.

And now we approach the finishing stages. As you see, the finished cutting looks perfect already, but we are not finished yet, Peter is going to show us the final stages.

Before Peter can attach and fix the picture layon itself to the baseboard, he needs to follow the old BEST principle (namely back, edges, sides and top) and affix the pieces in the correct order.
Once it's all in place with the glue nicely spread, it’s into the press with it.

The appropriate time is allowed for the glue to cure and the back veneered baseboard is then removed from the press.

It is all trimmed and the cross banded veneers for the edges are now tackled. Those veneers are attached and glued in place.

Lastly, the main picture layon itself is attached and glued in place. All then is trimmed up and flattened ready for receiving the chosen finish.
Ready to add backing veneer
Selecting the best piece of veneer for the
rear or back of the baseboard - picture

Now in the press
Picture layon is in place, glued and in the press with it

The chosen finish is then applied and polished and all is ready for displaying.

This has been a wonderful journey and thoroughly well worth watching time and time again (as I have done!)

Especially at the seasonal time of the year people are often looking for original items for presents, well, for the marquetarian in your life why not consider splashing out ten pounds (£10) and ordering this brilliant DVD from Peter at the usual address?


If you are one of our Marquetarian readers, then please see page 48 of the magazine for Peter’s details.

I’ve already grabbed one of these tutorial DVDs myself and I have to say it’s the best ten pounds worth that I’ve come across for ages. A noteable bargain indeed.

And just to finish, here is the finished marquetry picture below in all it’s glory. It may have taken a long time to complete, but I know you’ll agree, it was certainly more than worth it.

Preparing the edge veneers
The cross banding veneers are prepared
and ready for the top, bottom and sides of the picture

Finished Picture
The finished Great Wave picture in the medium of wood veneer

Yes, that is the finished picture on the left. It is as beautiful and detailed as the original painting itself, but the difference is that there is no paint used here, it is all natural wood veneers selected for their colour, grain and tone. If you fancy having a go at this yourself, then check out the tutorial DVD to learn how to do it.

Please note: All of the illustrations included in this review are genuine screen shots captured from the tutorial disc itself.

(For details of how to purchase this tutorial DVD, or indeed any of our tutorial DVDs, especially if you are not already a Marquetry Society member, just click this following link:
"Tutorial DVDs Purchase Information" )


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