Laser-cut marquetry

I’m keen to try my hand at marquetry using the GF. I already do Islamic designs using pencil and paper or cad and I’d like to translate these into wooden panels. Can anyone suggest methods of mounting and framing the laser-cut pieces to form a single creation. Tips on the types of materials would be helpful. I’ll start small but I’ve a few blank walls on the house that need filling.


In this other thread about marquetry, I mention a book that has basic instructions as well as mind-blowing examples.

One of the issues to be aware of with marquetry on a GF is that normally, marquetry pieces have beveled backs, which is more time consuming on a GF than just cutting vector lines out. However, because the GF’s kerf is so darned tiny, I’m hoping that won’t be necessary.


I was thinking the same thing and kind of thinking that it could be used as a king of “outline” trick that they sometimes do in tattoo work.

When I was doing marquetry, I remember the old timer that showed me telling me to think of the pieces as little “corks”

That reminds me, I think I still might have a lot of that veneer someplace… :slightly_smiling:


I’ve not done marquetry, but I have done things where we have to line up small parts precisely. One way to do it is to use the GF to cut a template to align and hold the small pieces temporarily.

I would cut the template in a slightly thinner piece if you can, so that your pieces are sticking out from the template. That way if you make a mistake, it’s easy to take one out. You then put a bit of glue on the back of each piece, insert it in the template and wait for it to dry. Once it’s all dry, you can remove your template.

You have to be very careful not to use too much glue or it may seep under the template and stick your template to your work.


If they can set up the functionality that lets the GF cut or engrave the back of an object it’s already done the front of (registering one side precisely), GF could also engrave numbers into the backs of the little pieces, so if you were doing a non-regular pattern of objects, you’d know where on the template to put each piece. And, in many cases, I think the template actually could be used for the marquetry’s backing.


Marquetry by numbers… LOL!

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Kind of like these? marquetry kits Or something with a more vintage feel? enter link description here


Thanks for the references and tips, quite excellent. I suspect that once the GF arrives I’ll be able to try out these different methods and be able to post more detailed questions. Thanks in the meantime.

As long as you don’t need to engrave the front, couldn’t you just flip your design and cut it and engrave the numbers from the back. That way you don’t have to flip it, Right?

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I’ve been wanting to do something like this but with mirrors, and I’m trying to figure out if the Glowforge can help me score many intricate pieces of glass. (the shapes will obviously have to be carefully selected) I saw some beautiful works like this in the Guggenheim last year:

What an interesting and lovely piece of art. In thinking about whether something similar could be done in glass on a Glowforge, I wondered how hard a surface the laser could deal with and if its reflectiveness would cause a problem?

It doesn’t, luckily, because the mirror doesn’t reflect the laser wavelength, since the glass absorbs it. Dan said: Mirrors... Can it cut/engrave mirrors? - #14 by dan

Just ran across a really neat program, not cheap but if you are really going to laser cut a lot of marquetry it would be worth it.


For some reason, this segment just popped out at me:

CNC Kerfs Compensation (Cutter Path Offsets)
To achieve a perfect fit, the width of laser cut or kerf needs to be compensated when ImagePaint generates the toolpaths. This width is user configurable via the “Laser” panel. This feature enables the support of different laser models and from different laser manufactures. Note: This setting can be used for any CNCs and any hand and power tools.


I’m still working on the compass rose. Offset and inset in Inkscape are working very well for me. In a 1/4" walnut I add a .07" kerf offset for the fill piece. One thing about it though is that at 1/4" the cut edge is definitely sloped to a center on the bottom so I have to think of the final surface if I’m inlaying thicker wood as the back of the piece I’m cutting.

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How about cutting the inlaid parts from the back of the material? That way the sloping edges would mesh.


Unfortunately that link isn’t working properly.

Is maybe this artist?


Yes, that’s the one. Her work is so amazing! (also fixed my link)


It’s actually a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator, so it even move expensive if you don’t already own Illustrator.
It does look very handy for designing your wood grain layout.