MARQUETRY WORK. - This term, probably derived from the French definitions, marqueterie en bris and marqueterie en metal, (see foot note, page 732, vol. 2) has been selected to denote a variety of works, also known as buhl work, reisner work, parquetage, mosaic, etc, in which two or more woods, metals, and other materials, are united by various modes of inlaying, some of which are entirely executed with the saw, as described in pages 731 - 739. The methods of polishing these works depend on the materials of which they are respectively composed, and are generally as follows.
2. - Marquetry entirely of Wood. - This is reduced to a level surface with the toothing plane, and is then scraped with the joiner's scraper, which so far as possible is applied obliquely to the joints of the marquetry, as when the scraper is applied parallel with the joints, or broadside, it is liable to dig down, and if applied at right angles to the joints it does not cut so cleanly as in the inclined position, like the skew irons of some rebate planes. The scraper is sometimes employed with such good effect, that the work only requires to be rubbed with a few of its own shavings, as in many draftboards made of holly and ebony.
When the scraper is less successfully used, fine glass paper on a flat piece of cork is employed to smooth the work, and the paper is preferable, if it is worn until it almost ceases to cut, and has become uniformly choked or clogged with the fine dust from the work, but which must not be allowed to collect in hard partial lumps, a condition that may readily occur with resinous or greasy woods, as these lumps would scratch the work.
3. - Marquetry in Wood and Metal, and also those which contain ivory, pearl shell, tortoiseshell, and metals, require to be levelled very carefully with flat files handled after the manner of figs. 816 to 818, page 834, vol. 2, ending with a very smooth flat file, after which the scraper should be used if practicable, and followed by glass or emery paper employed very sparingly as above directed. When the metal preponderates emery paper is much to be preferred, and really good sand paper, which is of an intermediate character between glass and emery paper, has also been used, but as stated above, the paper of which kind soever, should have but very little cut, should be applied dry, and allowed to become clogged, so as to act principally as a hard dry rubber or burnisher. If the polishing is at all in excess, the wood will inevitably be worn down so as to allow the metal or harder material to project above the general surface.
It is always particularly hazardous to resort to wet polishing with inlaid works, as if the water is carelessly used, there is risk of its penetrating to the glue and loosening the pieces, 'and if the woods are only superficially wetted they are apt to curl up at the edges and become warped; and besides the grain of the wood is almost certain to rise with the wet and leave a rough unsightly surface. Oil is preferable only so far as not dissolving the glue, but oil or water are alike inapplicable to light-coloured woods, which are almost sure to become stained by the polishing powders, and the fluids used in their lubrication.
4. - Marquetry entirely of Metal, which is less common and more recent than the foregoing kinds, is first smoothed with a flat file, secondly it is very care fully scraped with a triangular or other scraper, thirdly it is rubbed with a stick of snakestone and water, fourthly with charcoal in the stick and oil, and it is finished with a coil of list or other rubber supplied with rottenstone and oil.
5. - Marquetry with Varnished Surfaces. - Many of the modern marquetry works, instead of having their surfaces polished simply by attrition as above described, are covered with varnish either applied with friction as in the so-called French polish, or the varnish is laid on in several coats with a brush and polished off with pumice-stone and rottenstone. Previously to their being varnished, which processes will be hereafter described, the marquetry works are levelled with the file or scraper as the case may be, and smoothed with glass paper.