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  HOME TECHNIQUES INTARSIA Tracing Your Intarsia Pattern

intarsia pattern-piano playerIntarsia Patterns
-intarsia patterns designed by the authors of this site...your purchase, supports our database of free information

Tracing Your Intarsia Pattern

Using Carbon Paper:
If you can see through your paper (ie. if its printed on vellum) use the pattern's directional arrows to line up the piece with the wood grain. Hold one corner of the pattern down, slip carbon paper under the section you are trying to trace, tape or pin down the carbon and pattern, and then using a coloured pen, carefully trace around the shape.

If you decide to use pins to hold your pattern in place, make sure they are located outside the cutting area. You do not want pin holes in the middle of your good pieces.

Lift one corner of the pattern, leaving some of the pins or tape in place, and check to see if you have in fact traced all the lines you needed. It is difficult to reposition the pattern, after the fact, if you discover lines missing. If you think you may use this pattern numerous times, make a copy via a photocopier or by hand tracing a duplicate onto standard tracing paper. Generally you do not want to ruin your original.

Cut Out Method:
This is my personal favourite way to transfer patterns to the wood… Make a duplicate of your pattern, marking not only the wood colours but also the grain direction. Use scissors to cut this duplicate into all its individual pieces. Use an X-Acto blade for long straight lines.

Select the right wood for each piece and with spray adhesive or a glue stick, apply each pattern piece to the appropriate piece of wood. Cut out up to the edge of the paper, peal or sand the paper off and check the fit.

The reason why this is my favorite method, is that if you cut off the line of the paper pattern by accident, the piece to the left and to the right of the scissors are equally affected. All your pieces will still fit accurately together, albeit on a slightly different line.

On the other hand, using the tracing method, if you wobble while tracing one piece and then trace accurately when tracing the matching piece, they won't fit together. Tracing the shared border is not done along "exactly" the same path in both instances and your accuracy is sabotaged before you even begin to cut.

Intarsia Patterns for Sale by site owners
-intarsia patterns designed by the authors of this site...your purchase, supports our database of free information

Making Duplicates:
If you are going to use a particular pattern frequently AND the pattern is not too complex, cut yourself a template. Clear 1/16" plexiglass works fairly well and allows you to see through the template to orient each piece with the grain. Often sign shops will give you their cutoff pieces of plexiglass for nothing…. Just ask!

I've also photocopied plans onto heavy weight mylar, with some success. The minus, is that the mylar is not as rigid to trace around as is the plexiglass….. the plus is that you can cut out the individual pieces with a sharp pair of scissors and guarantee absolute fitting accuracy of all your template pieces. It is also very fast to make a template this way.

Caution: Make sure that your photocopier can handle the mylar without causing problems (either because of weight or heat).

For more suggestions on transferring your pattern to the wood, see the scroll saw section…..

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Plan #0013

Price: $9.95

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Intarsia Tip:

If you number each piece on your master pattern, and then as you cut them out transfer the piece number to the back side of the cutout, you'll find you spend less time trying to figure out where everything goes.

Right off the bat, you'll know what is the right side and what is the back side, just by seeing the location of the #.




© theWoodbox.com Jan 2007