Blue Ulysses Sideboard
The primary goal of this project was to create a showpiece for the entry hall of the clients’ home. It was commissioned by a local couple who requested marquetry imagery featuring white Gardenia flowers and branches that emanate from a central point in the top and flow down the front panels. The piece has two inlayed Blue Ulysses butterflies made of Jet Onyx Reconstituted Stone and Blue Acrylester. The style of the sideboard is loosely based on a Sheraton era demilune sideboard with Federal style inlay added to the legs and is the second demilune sideboard I have done using this marquetry imagery.
Book matched Ash Burl veneer was used for the marquetry background with solid Wenge and Wenge veneer for the trim and foundation. The marquetry flowers are cut in Holly veneer, the leaves in dyed Poplar and the branches in Pau Ferro. All of the marquetry was cut using the boulle or packet method, which requires all the elements of the design be cut simultaneously with the background. The individual components are then sand shaded to create the illusion of depth and shadows. The marquetry was cut using a standard scroll saw and glued with urea formaldehyde glue.
The interior areas are veneered with in Quarter-Sawn Maple to contrast with the Ash exterior, which makes for a bright interior and a surprise for anyone opening the doors. Ash stringing was used for the inlay added to the Wenge legs, which gives the piece a more formal appearance. Vertical grain 1/8” thick Wenge was used to edge the top panel and provide more durable wear resistance than would standard thickness veneers.
This sideboard has four curved front drawers with Maple interiors and bottoms. There are two curved doors mounted on brass knife hinges. The curved front is single uniform curve and was glued up as a bent lamination of 1/8” bending plywood and 1/8” mdf in a vacuum bag. The central curved panel was glued up as a single piece then cut into individual door and drawer fronts before veneering.
The entire sideboard has been finished with satin lacquer inside and outside. This was my fourth piece of marquetry furniture since studying marquetry with both Paul Schurch and Patrick Edwards.
Detail of the inlayed butterfly in Jet Onyx Reconstituted Stone and Blue Acrylester and the Gardenia flower marquetry