Dazzling Patterns in Parquetry
Chris Solar makes a strong geometric pattern more dramatic by outlining parquetry panels with colored epoxy resin.
Synopsis: Chris Solar makes a strong geometric pattern more dramatic by outlining parquetry panels with colored epoxy resin. Although you could use any pattern that appeals to you, he demonstrates his process using a pattern of repeating pentagons. This veneering technique could be used for doors, as Solar does, or for any veneered surface, such as tabletops, cabinet panels, or decorative boxes.
A few years ago I was inspired to make a cabinet that featured a precise geometric pattern on its sliding doors. I made the pattern with pentagons cut from thick veneer. To accentuate the geometry, I wanted strong outlines around each element. So instead of fitting the veneer pieces together seamlessly, I left consistent gaps between them that I later filled with a pigmented epoxy resin. I liked the way those doors turned out, and I’ve made a number of others since, refining the process along the way. The method I developed could be used for any veneered surface, including tabletops, cabinet panels, or decorative boxes.
The pattern you use could be precise and geometric or more loose and organic—it’s up to you. I used a careful arrangement of identical repeating pentagons. Getting the layout right was important, and I used SketchUp to draw my pattern accurately and to decide how to position it on the door panel. Once I was happy with the result, I printed it out at 1:1 scale. You could have the printing done on large paper at an office-supply store, or print out the pattern yourself on multiple pages, as I did, and tape them together. Drawing your pattern full size by hand would also work fine.
Preparing two panels
As the substrate for the door I selected 5⁄8-in.-thick particleboard, which provides a smooth, stable surface. I cut the door blank 1 in. oversize in length and width, giving me a margin of 1⁄2 in. all the way around that I can trim off after the veneer work is complete.
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