History of Marquetry (with Glossary)


The earliest evidence that I am aware of for marquetry/inlay is a remarkable casket from the city or UR, in Mesopotamia dated c2600 BC. Much of the work is cut from ivory and set in bitumen and is a pictorial representation of a mixture of royal and daily life. Not until the European renaissance do we again encounter pictorial decoration using contrasting veneers in the form of intarsia. This inlay technique was originally centred in the Italian city of Sienna in the 11th century and much used to decorate church furniture and panels. Continue reading

History of the Lathe: part one – reciprocal motion

Chinese pedal latheAll lathes by their very nature rely on a revolving work piece. To capture and impart this motion, to devise and create the required force has challenged mans ingenuity back into pre-history. Man has been using the momentum provided by a spinning weight for tens of thousands of years in the form of drop spindles for spinning wool. The potter’s revolving ‘wheel was almost certainly the first machine used by our ancestors. It maybe that the reciprocating bow drill and pump drill in it’s many forms was the first mechanical hand tool, Certainly it could be used to create fire as well as bore holes and with a profiled cutter fitted could be used to produce buttons, counters and beads. Continue reading