Intarsia Woodworking?

Continuing the discussion from Pre-Release | Pile O Cats:

I have zero woodworking experience, but I’ve seen some wonderful Intarsia woodworking and would love to replicate some with the GF.

After clicking through links to the scrollsaw pattern (From cynd11’s great Pile O Cats puzzle posting), I found this on amazon:

any thoughts from glowfolk about how Intarsia might be simulated with a laser? maybe a combo of cutting the outlines and some engraving for the rounded-ness of the pieces?


I’m a huge fan of several intarsia artists, although I haven’t ventured into it myself. Woodturning is my personal passion. Intarsia is basically just wood inlay, but the twist is in wood color choices and aligning the grain to create a three dimensional effect from a two dimensional object.

I think the Glowforge could be a wonderful tool for intarsia artists. The only limiting factor would be that some oily woods don’t cut well with lasers. That could mean that some of the darker woods would still have to be cut with a scroll saw.


I have done lots of intarsia and plan to use the GF to cut my pieces. Intarsia is very rewarding to do plus you get to learn about lots of different types of wood. I don’t color any of my intarsia and only rely on the wood color and grain pattern.


I think @jules and @marmak3261 have posted similar things to this using Proofgrade veneer.


After looking at the picture of the intarsia squirrel that I did about 15 years ago, I realized that the woods had faded quite a lot, so here is what it looked like originally.


Oh nothing nearly as fancy as intarsia…mine was just inlay.

Intarsia is shaped and sculpted to give a bas-relief effect…I’ve seen David’s gorgeous examples…he can use the laser to cut out the parts, but it looks like that is just step one for intarsia.

Not something I’ll be doing…looks like it takes skill. :grin:


The hardest part of intarsia is cutting out the pieces so they will fit. The laser should be able to easily do that. The fun part is shaping the pieces and pining out the different woods. Being able to see the wood on your computer when positioning your cuts is an added bonus.


That’s why @cynd11’s post about the puzzle inspired all this! I agree with @Jules that there seems to be a lot of skill to apply before/during/after the cuts - you have our admiration there :slight_smile:


Wow, lovely! The way you carved each piece sure takes some skill. But the laser can definitely shave some time off of getting started.


That’s a gorgeous piece! I’m sorry it’s faded on you.

That makes me wonder if there are finishes one can use that have UV inhibitors, or whether that’s a thing one could add to a finish like a catalyzed lacquer.