We have answers to the most frequently asked Intarsia questions below. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for here please feel free to call or email.
Q: I am having a hard time figuring out what is light, medium light, medium dark, and dark?
A: Each project that I make the shades can vary. What I call dark on one project may be medium dark on another, that is because the medium dark may be the darkest piece of wood I have at that time. I start with what is the darkest shade of wood I have, then look for progressively lighter shades from that. Or you can go the opposite direction, pick what is your lightest shade down to the darkest. The white is the easiest, I use aspen for the white wood. I have a project that I have marked what shades I call light, medium light, medium, medium dark and dark.
Q: I can't find Western Red Cedar (WRC), do you know of a mail order place to get it?
A: One of the many reasons we use Western Red Cedar is that is so widely available. We do not mail order the WRC and at this time do not know of a mail order source. However, here are a few tips if you are looking for a source for Western Red Cedar. Call around to lumber yards and ask for “Western Red Cedar”. Do not ask for “Red Cedar” because they are two different types of wood. Red cedar is the cedar that you use in cedar chests, etc. We do not use the Red Aromatic Cedar. The WRC we use comes from Canada and Washington State as well as a couple other states. WRC is mainly used for exterior purposes. Lowe’s and Home Depot also carry some WRC but at times lacks the nice colors we look for. Try calling or visiting locally owned lumber yards. You can even ask for Cedar Fence Pickets. The 1″ X 6″ pickets can be very beautiful. The WRC we buy is “S3S” which is finished on 3 sides. We often hear the comment “I can’t find that beautiful cedar” that you use. Guess what ? We use the lowest grade we can find and that is where the gold mines lay. Our WRC is also green when we buy it and has to be dried. A good rule of thumb when drying WRC is 6 weeks for a 1″ board and 6 months for a 2″ board.
Q: Can I use hardwoods or exotic woods?
A: The color and grain are more important than the species of wood used. It is a good idea to have a combination of straight grained wood as well as some highly figured wood to accent areas. We have shades marked on our pattern (D-Dark shade of Wood, M- Medium shade of wood, etc.), any type of wood will work. On most projects you will need 4 to 5 shades of wood from a white wood to a dark wood. When you are just getting started there is nothing wrong with using some stains. It can take a while to build your “pallet of colors”.
Q: What kind of white wood do you use?
A: We use aspen for our white wood which stays pretty white. If you can’t get the aspen you might want to put one coat of “whiting” on the part as the first coat. We have white “Old Masters” on the hardware page that folks use for this purpose. First coat of white and then two coats of the “Old Masters” clear. Too many coats of the white will make the wood look too white and almost painted. You should always test on scrap piece of wood first. You can make your own white by using artist oil colors and mix it with some of the clear gel. You can also use colors with great results. Just pull some clear out of the can and put it in a baby food jar or something like that with a lid that seals. Add some titanium white oil color (in a tube) and mix it up. Start with a little and mix then test and keep adding until you get the results you want. Remember that too much of the white will make your part too white and look “painted”.
Q: Can I sell the projects I make from your patterns because of their copyright?
A: Yes you can as long as you are the one making the projects on a personal level. If you are going to “manufacture” or have our designs “mass produced” then you will have to obtain a license to do so. We do not deal with licensing personally but do have an attorney that will negotiate for us. All you will have to do is have your attorney contact ours. Our attorney will not talk to an individual on this subject. You may not have copies of the patterns made and re sell them– that is against the law.
Q: Can I have copies made of a pattern that has a copyright on it?
A: Yes you can have copies made. Most people are making multiple copies of the pattern and cutting the pattern pieces to glue on the wood for sawing the parts. You can use carbon paper to transfer the parts onto the wood, however cutting and pasting the actual pattern onto each color of wood is going to be the most accurate method. We found 6 copies will be enough for most projects. The pattern copies cannot be sold. They are for the buyers use only. On each invoice there is a release for the patterns purchased on that particular invoice. Take the invoice with you. Many times we will receive a copyright release form faxed to us from copy shop, we will sign it and fax it back. Fax Number (865)428-7870
Q. Can I use a band saw?
A: Most of the patterns are designed for either saw, we used a band saw for about 10 years. Half of the pattern projects shown were cut out using a band saw with an 1/8" blade. The scroll saw will make a much smoother cut.
Q: What is a Wonder Wheel?
A: The Wonder Wheel is an abrasive wheel that works best on a bench grinder that goes at least 3450 rpm. The Wonder Wheel is flat. You can use a Diamond Wheel Dresser to sharpen it. Click here to see a video for sharpening your Wonder Wheel. For more detailed instructions about using the Wonder Wheel click on this link.
Q: How do you set up the Flex Drum Sander and the Wonder Wheel?
A: If you have limited space and want to have one unit for your Flex Drum Sander and the Wonder Wheel you can buy a variable speed bench grinder. The key word here is VARIABLE. Turn the speed down to the lowest speed when using the sander, turn the speed up to the highest speed for the wheel. I suggest getting the 8″ variable speed grinder, the motor is larger and will have more power when sanding. There are many different companies that make the grinders (Sears, Delta, Porter-Cable). When you buy the grinder you will need to take off all the guards, grinding stones, and other attachments. The Flex Drum Sander arbor fits directly on the motor shaft, so does the Wonder Wheel. Depending on the size of the motor, the shaft can vary in size. On most 8″ variable speed bench grinders the shaft is 5/8″, on 6″ grinders it may have a 1/2″ shaft. The Flex Sander will fit the 5/8″ shaft and attach with a couple of set screws. It comes with a split reducer bushing to fit the 1/2″ motor shaft . The Wonder wheel has a 1″ mounting hole, you will need to get either the 1/2″ reducer bushings or the 5/8″ bushings depending on the size of the motor shaft to run the wheel. We do have these available on the hardware page.
Pictured above is the grinder stripped down. The arbor will then slide onto the shaft.
If you have a motor with a 1/2″ shaft you will need to use the split reducer bushing.
You will then tighten the set screws. If you have trouble sliding the sanding
sleeve onto the arbor you can use a small amount of dish soap.
Q: How do I set up my Bench Lathe with the Inflatable Sanders?
When using the “Flex Drum Sander” be sure to turn the speed to the slowest setting.
When using the “Wonder Wheel” be sure to turn the speed to the fastest setting.
Setting up the Foredom
The Collets are needed to attach the sanders to the Foredom. Each set has three Collets. The two in the bag labeled A-CHA-5 are a 1/8″ & 3/32″. The 1/4″ Collet you see at the bottom will already be in the Collet Holder. There are two tapered spindles in a plastic box used for buffing. You will not need these for sanding your Intarsia projects.
|Slide the Collet Holder onto the shaft of the Bench Lathe.
Line up the flat edge on the shaft with the set screws.
|Use the Allen wrench provided to tighten the set screws to the shaft.|
|Put your sander in the Collet Holder. Use the combination wrench to secure it.
Insert the bar into the hole on the collet to lock the holder, use the wrench to tighten the holder.
Do not crank down on it, a snug fit will do.
Releasing Air and Removing Sleeves
Releasing air from the short and long inflatable sanders can bring about an unexpected “banging” noise. To avoid this and simplify the sleeve replacement process, proceed as follows:
Grip the sander in one hand (e.g. left) and squeeze quite hard. While doing this, loosen the nut two turns with your other hand. Using the left hand, grip the drive shaft and wiggle it to and fro. Continue to squeeze gently as the air is released. Drum, long and short sanders may also be deflated using the Allen Key.
Take care to ensure that the rubber remains under the edge of the washer before retightening the nut by hand. The sander is now ready for the next sanding sleeve.
Q: Can the Gel Finish (Old Masters) we use be bought in stores?
A: Yes! Unfortunately it is not widely available, but there are some paint stores and hardware stores that do carry it. You can call Old Masters 1-800- 747-3436. Perhaps a search on the internet will bring up some other dealers. If you can’t find a dealer remember that we mail order the gel in the US. Sorry, no Gel to Hawaii or Alaska and Canada.
Q: Where do the patterns you sell come from?
A: Judy designs all of our patterns. First she makes a rough sketch of the pattern, shading the parts to get an idea what it will look like using the different shades of wood. After it passes the composition/balance step the design is enlarged to scale. Next Jerry looks it over and edits it from a sawing standpoint. The pattern is then made into an intarsia piece, during the creation any modifications to make the pattern easier to use are noted on the test pattern. Next the finish is applied and the project is glued to a backing. It is studied again to see how the shades and grains work together. After all these steps the patterns are printed and made available to the public
|We are using the “900” Creative Station with repositionable adhesive roll.
Start by spraying a very light coat of Repositionable Spray Adhesive to stick the pattern pieces upside down to a piece of paper. The paper is a temporary way to hold the pattern sections together to put glue evenly on the back of the pieces.
|Run the pattern parts through the Creative Station machine. This will apply glue to the back of the pattern pieces. (This machine can be found for a pretty good price online. If you purchase this, be sure to get the Repositionable Adhesive Refill to replace the permanent adhesive cartridge)|
|Peel the paper off carefully, sometimes the pattern pieces stick to the paper.
Now you are ready to place them on your wood and begin sawing.
A: I make a temporary shim to hold all the parts I want to sand as a unit. Please click here for detailed description.
A: Nope! Long ago we used them but have gotten away from them. We now use “mirror hangers”. These hangers can be found at Lowe’s and Home Depot as well as Kmart and Wall Mart in the picture framing section. We use a #6 x 1/2” screw with the hanger Just be sure to pre drill the hole before fastening. These hangers are also adjustable somewhat. Just snug the screw in the clamp and then if you need the project to hang a little right or left you can swivel the clamp.
Q: How do I know where to put my hangers, can this be shown on the patterns?
A: No, Everyone does not take off the same amount of wood when sanding so it would hang differently. Place your fingers on both sides of your project where you think the hanger should go. You can adjust your fingers until the piece is balanced, then mark it on the back. For framed or heavier pieces you can use two hangers along with wire for hanging pictures, this will allow you to adjust it once it is hung.