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Book Review: The Marquetry Course by Jack Metcalfe and John Apps
Book Review: The Marquetry Course
Authors Jack Metcalfe and John Apps
Review by Carol Russell
There is something mysterious
about a finished piece of furniture that contains well- executed
marquetry. You peer in at the detail and marvel at the skill of
the maker, to a novice that level of expertise seems unachievable.
This book succeeds in de-mystifying the process in a series of step-by-step
Metcalfe and Apps have set the book out in ‘progressive educational
order‘. It begins with a comprehensive chapter on equipment, the
pros and cons of particular materials, scalpel and cutting techniques
and how to make some essential jigs. There is a great section on
veneer and how it is cut, I found this very interesting and gives
you a good understanding of your material.
As the book progresses there is a sense of secrets being revealed,
concepts such as ‘Sandshading’ are explained. This is a technique
of scorching veneer to create shading in an image, it features commonly
in the fans, shells and other motifs seen in 18th century English
and French Cabinetry.
Chapter two is a series of tutorials that is well laid out and photographed.
It begins with some history of the most famous designs and then
moves into the tutorials. These are detailed and feature projects
made using the different methods of marquetry including the template,
the window and the fretsaw methods.
The book then progresses to Parquetry and outlines the difference
between the two crafts. Parquetry is described as ‘ a product of
cutting veneers into uniform shapes’. Designs such as Louis cubes
and chess board squares come into this category. These patterns
feature in the book’s tutorials.One of the highlights is the photo
gallery in the last chapter. This is enough to inspire anyone to
build one of the several projects that are featured. The plans and
template are in the back of the book. The screen project is particularly
This is a beautifully produced book. Apps and Metcalfe are both
extraordinary craftsmen with an obvious passion for the history
of their craft as well as the practical application. The Marquetry
Course is dedicated to teaching but is also a really interesting
If you are interested in Parquetry, go
to Peter Young’s Louis cube project.
here to purchase this Book.