with Tim Swanberg

Furniture Making Series Level: Beginner


Marquetry is one of those pinnacles where art meets function in furniture making. Tim Swanberg's work is drop dead gorgeous.  Silas Kopf produces wonderful trompe l'oeil marquetry pieces. Marquetry is a little like making a jigsaw but you end up with seamless panels.

Marquetry is not wholly about artistry - you do not need to be an artist (it helps) to create a marquetry panel.  Tim will teach straight forward techniques to transfer an existing drawing to a series of outlines for the individual pieces. He'll explore how to use different grains, follow the grain for some image elements and how to change the tone and colour of pieces. Later you can apply the techniques to your own designs or artwork.

Class Description

The Course Outline

  1.  Survey of surface decoration techniques
    1.   Strengths and limitations of marquetry
  2. Selection of marquetry designs
    1. Graphic representation v. realism
    2. Size considerations
    3. Material selection
      1. Survey of veneers and their characteristics
      2. Flattening veneers
      3. Glue considerations
  3. Selection of technique
    1. Introduction to the double bevel technique
    2. Shop-sawn v. commercial veneer
      1. Introduction to resawing veneers
    3. Scrollsaw v. fret saw
  4.  Practicing a simple design
    1. Layout
    2. Achieving a good fit
    3. Making invisible entry holes
    4. Managing grain direction
  5.  Introduction to Advanced Techniques
    1. Sand shading
    2. Thin highlights
    3. Building the appearance of depth
    4. Larger designs with subpanels
    5. Reverse bevel drop in
    6. Use of colored veneers
  6. Veneering panels
    1. Preparing for glue up - sanding v. scraping
    2. Selection of substrate
    3. Pressing techniques
      1. Veneer presses: 
        1. Shop-made caul system
        2. Large wood screws
      2. Vacuum press:
    4. Finish surfacing veneers
    5. Finishing over Veneers
  7.  Integrating marquetry with furniture


  • Eclipse deep fret saw 
  • Twist drill
  • Accordion glue bottle
  • 4 oz. hammer
  • Stylus

These tools are available for $55 through the school. Select them in the registration process. If the actual cost is lower we'll refund the difference at the start of class.

More about this class


Enthusiasm. The techniques taught in this class do not require prior woodworking experience but it would help.

Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.

Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.

Please also read our Registration Policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $675
Materials Charge: $50




2013 Classes:

When you click on the Register link you will be able to register for the class or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.

Note - 6/11/2013:  
We've not had enough enrollment to run this class. Please let us know if you are interested in the class for 2014

July 15-19, 2013





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200 Battery Way | Fort Worden | Port Townsend, WA 98368 | (360) 344-4455 | email

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit. Any donations made to the School are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.