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Marquetry Dining Table

Listing #444   Listed on: 11/01/2006

Company Name: Old World Wood MastersThis table with extensions is about 20' long. It has 8,000 pieces and took 800 hours.

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To keep people interested I put a bunch of little design elements throughout the table. I play a game of "Where's Waldo" of marquetry. I also have 20 of my favorite quotes which also keep people looking longer. The letters represented 1/4 of all the pieces (2000).

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Closeup of the 2 extension leaves.

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Closeup of the other end

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Closeup of the center section.

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Some of the woods are redwood burl, african blackwood, satinwood, eucalyptus, english sycamore, pear, lacewood, african mahagony.

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It's funny. I will say "Now find the hampster". I don't consider this burried, but it takes them a while to find these things.

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Neptune is blowing the leaves out of the French ribbon, which then weave into the grape detail. This helps keep the eye moving along the piece.

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Closeup of one end.

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The table without the extensions.


Viewer Comments:

Posted By: JD     [11/01/2006]

Just have to say,,,you do some INCREDIBLE work,,,love the piks,,,great inspiration,,,thanks JD

Posted By: F. Little     [11/01/2006]

Where are you located and do you give classes. Your work leaves me speechless.All I can say is good job and hope to see more.

Posted By: Brian     [11/01/2006]

Amazing... I'm speechless, how do you fit the pieces so well? What's the trick? Your work is not woodworking, to me it's fine art; it doesn't belong in a home it belongs in a museum. Your level of craftsmanship serves as an inspiration to many on woodweb, thanks for sharing.

Posted By: marc L     [11/01/2006]


Thanks for posting!

There is nothing that I can say to properly compliment your efforts.

Truly amazing!

Posted By: Vern     [11/03/2006]

Gregg once again an outstanding masterpiece. Would I be correct in this being a personal piece.
And thats a lot of hours about 5 months worth of full time effort. What was the actual time span from start to finish?

Did you also do inlay work on the trim in the background?

Posted By: Gregg Novosad     [11/03/2006]

Yes, this is a personal piece. If you look at the leg picture you will see "Birds of Frey" in the background.

I started this in December of 04 and sent it out for lacquer on June of 05, seven elapsed months. I had about 50 hours of rework (screw ups), but I narrowly avoided some big glue up mistakes (taking it out of the bag too early, too eager). I learned that 400 hours is my time limit on all future projects. I got project fatigue on this. The finishing guys did a nice job ($1k). I had a huge gouge in one of the tops when I was attaching the apron and legs, and they fixed it, I can't even find where it was. I did all the inlay everywhere.

Posted By: Craig M     [11/07/2006]

Marquetry is something that I have wanted to learn for a while, but haven't had a chance. I am curious - do you use the beveled scroll saw approach for all your inlays, or is some of it done by hand or router?

I would particularly like to include letters / words in some of my future work, and you have obviously done this perfectly. It seems like some of the long sections of marquetry with lettering would be difficult with the scroll saw due to the throat limitations. On this example, I suppose you could have done it in sections before joining the sections of banding together. Thanks.

Posted By: Gregg Novosad     [11/07/2006]

Craig M,
I have used every technique, but for router inlays I found you need veneer at least 1/16 thick. Beveled (concical) works the best with all types of thickness, but you crank the angle way up for 1/40th inch stuff (15+ degrees), but you get a nice seam.

For the letters, I purchased I small laser and learned some vector software. Lasers are getting more and more affordable now (under $5k). That may seem like a lot, but it is cheaper than large dual drum sander or entry level cnc. I justified my expense (to my wife of course, not me), by saying that buying a laser is way cheaper than hiring someone to build the table for us. Besides, it compliments my $400 Ryobi table saw (;

But it doesn't neccessarily save you time. It is fine for type where there is no "artwork" and repetitive designs.

The border with the type is taken from african mahagony veneer about 10 inches wide. So while the length is over 40 inches, it is made up of sections of 10 inch material cross cut, so depth wouldn't be an issue on the jig saw. Assembling and taping letters is a nightmare, period. Veneer tape doesn't stick well because there is no surface area. When you pull the masking tape off the back the peices like to pull and break away from the veneer tape. I hit every small piece with a light swipe of glue from the backside to help hold it in place when I get ready for glue up. These little pieces love to come lose when you glue it up, and magically you find it when you sand it, and you have to fix the sand through because the lighter wood is underneath. I think the 50 linear feet of quotes with over 2000 pieces took over 100 hours, but I was learning the software and laser quirks at the same time.

Also, If you look at my projects, I break the design down into managable sizes, making cutting a lot easier. The biggest section size to date for me is 18" x 10". It may look bigger, but it is just bookmatching.

Posted By: Mike     [11/07/2006]

All I can say is... WOW! Your work is absolutely spectacular. And just think, all Michelangelo did was paint some ceiling. lol

For anyone that has seen the furniture projects submitted at IWF over the years, well they are nothing compared to Gregg's work. They could definitely use some coaching from him.

Posted By: Gregg Novosad     [11/07/2006]

Mike thanks,
but since you mentioned Micheal, you will never guess what is pasted above the table. . . well you already guessed it. I have some pictures of the dining room ceiling. I scanned pictures from the Sistine Chapel, enlarged them in photoshop, printed them on canvas on my large format printer, and pasted them to the ceiling. I can't post it here since I don't have the ID number anymore, but I will add it on Friday's new project post.

But Leonardo rules ( historians say they hated each other )

Posted By: Craig M     [11/09/2006]


Thanks for the response to my previous post. If you don't mind answering, I am curious what type of laser you are using (Brand, Model, Wattage, etc.). Unfortunately, they are probably all out of my price range currently, but I would like to review options. Thanks.

Posted By: Gregg Novosad     [11/10/2006]

I bought a used universal laser x660,with a 60 watt lazer and a bed of 18 x 32 which cost me 25k. But I have seen similar models from other brands for 10k new. Plus you can get desktop lasers for around 5k or maybe less. Search on engraving. The trophy / plaque stores buy them and they have all sorts of interesting stuff that I use (like transfer tape). I use Corel Draw because Abode Illustrator didn't play nice with the laser. Corel seems to be the standard in the engraving business. Also, you only need 20 w to cut veneer, but to go thicker you need a lot of power. The thickest I ever go 3/16 and that takes a lot of power and everything has to be perfectly flat. I also use a short focal point lens (1.5") which gives me a gap of .004 - .006, which I have to compensate for when I get ready to cut (I enlarge all pieces by .002)

Posted By: Jeff Eckes     [11/26/2006]


DAY-um! Incredible work Sir. If I was pricing this table for my market I would put it near $100k-perhaps more. Nice to see skills like this are not dead-pass them on if you can.

Jeff Eckes

Posted By: johnny     [12/15/2006]

what is the blue wood

Posted By: woodwizard     [05/15/2008]
THAT IS SICK!! One incredible piece of artwork. The work is stunning and remarable.

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