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How was it made? Boulle Marquetry


#1

I think that you will find this of interest although it is primarily
for woodwork, even though the metal work is outstanding. The "donkey"
referred to in the text is a guided saw frame that orients the blade
horizontally, and enables the blade to move around within a small
circle before the work must be re-positioned. The work is an
assembled stack of various materials that are temporarily glued
together around the edges. I have no relationship with the folks that
did this. I am just a person fascinated with the process, and
interested in the making of some of the “donkeys”.

Lee (the saw guy)

Boulle marquetry video for the V&A In 2012 we were contracted to work
with the V&A on their new materials and techniques gallery. We
produced display samples to explain wood marquetry and a video
showing how Boulle marquetry is made. The results are now on show in
the new “Dr Susan Weber Gallery”, a gallery dedicated to the
materials and techniques of furniture. It was exciting to have the
V&A’s team of curators, film director, camera man and lighting
technician (to name but a few) visit the workshop and to collaborate
together to produce a clear and simple video. We tried to be as
accurate as we possibly could in the choice of materials and
techniques, however we chose to use horn instead of turtle shell.
The donkey and the tools used were the result of many hours of
research and discussion as there is no documentary evidence to show
which tools Boulle actually used. While marquetry donkeys appear in
early cabinetmaker’s treaties, many scholars believe that Boulle used
a different tool. For the clarity of the video, we settled on the
19th century style marquetry donkey, which is a safe and documented
tool. Still, regardless of the donkey used, the marquetry was
hand-made and the challenges still remained unchanged! This short
video took many days of filming and the preparation of numerous
(often identical) samples. I can only imagine how many extra hours
were necessary to edit the footage! Please watch this video on the
V&A’s website. I do hope that you will understand and better
appreciate the challenge and difficulty in producing or restoring
Boulle marquetry. This video summarizes years of experience and
marquetry cutting. To view the video, cut and paste the URL address
below: