Pacific Northwest Coast Native Art in Marquetry

Pacific Northwest Coast Native Art in Marquetry

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This beautiful book serves as a stunning introduction to people interested in using marquetry, also called painting with wood veneers, to recreate Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian art style designs. 

Those who know of this art form may be interested in re-creating their designs using wood veneers. Readers will learn about the skills and techniques of marquetry using the “window method” and cutting wood veneers with a knife. Pacific Northwest Coast Native Art in Marquetry demonstrates how marquetry (whether using the saw or knife for cutting veneers) can be adaptable to any subject in addition to Pacific Northwest Coast Native art. Cutting exercises are included, as well as step-by-step instructions to complete the Blue Hummingbird picture in the Nuu-chah-nulth nation’s style. Also included are four other Northwest Coast Native art Designs by Jim Gilbert and directions about how to reproduce them in marquetry.


“Paul Dean did a very good job in his book, Pacific Northwest Coast Native Art in Marquetry. The book has clear instructions on how to use First Nations designs to do this kind of art. It is really great that artists are willing to reach out and are willing to use other mediums to express First Nations art." - Rupert Scow, Kwakwaka’wakw artist/carver, Gilford Island B.C., Canada.


“As a retired Woodwork Teacher, I find that the step-by-step instructions are clear and easy to follow. Background information is just enough and not overbearing. A practical guide which I highly recommend for the woodworking enthusiast with a First Nations focus." - Bill Ng, Delta B.C., Canada


“This is a splendid and quite unique book. Beginning with insight into NWC native art and leading on to how it can be adapted into marquetry, everything is clearly and logically laid out with excellent accompanying illustrations and photographs. Full of marquetry tips and techniques that all make sense. The projects are pitched just right. Not too simplistic and challenging enough to entice any reader to give it a try for themselves. I commend Paul for producing an excellent piece of work and such fine marquetry." -Peter White – President of The Marquetry Society (UK).


Table of Contents


Dedication and Acknowledgments

Map: Culture & Art Regions of the Pacific Northwest Coast


Northwest Coast Native Art and Marquetry

Northwest Coast Native Art Concepts


Semi-realistic Designs

Open Field Designs

Restricted Field Designs

Extended Designs

Rearranged Designs

History of Marquetry


Sofa Hall Table

Picture and Frame Design

Marking up the Base Board

Choosing the Background Veneer

Transferring the Initial Outline of Pattern

Designing a Frame


Pattern for Nuu-chah-nulth Blue Hummingbird

Veneer Palette Selection

Different Veneers from a Tree

Slicing Techniques

Rotary Cut

Quarter Cut

Flat Cut (Crown Grain

Rift Cut

Selecting Veneers for the Hummingbird


Dyed Veneers

Natural Veneers

Exotic Veneers

Cutting Veneers and Assembly

Tools and Materials

Basic tools for marquetry

Materials to make the Blue Hummingbird picture

Making a Rubbing Stick

The Window Method

The advantages of the window method

Cutting Veneers with a Knife

Types of Cuts

Perforation cut with craft knife

Stitch cuts with the craft knife

Short cuts with the craft knife

Long straight cuts with the scalpel

Cut slivers with scalpel (long cuts) or craft knife (short cuts)

Keeping the Blades Sharp

Formline Designs in Marquetry

Practice Cutting Veneers with the Window Method

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

The Blue Hummingbird

Cutting and Assembly

First level

Second Level

Third Level


Frame Cutting and Assembly

Tools and Materials

Set-up Blocks

Cut Strips of Veneer

Assemble Four Frame Pieces


Preparation of Base



  1. Contact Cement
  2. PVA Glue

The Veneer Press

  1. Wooden Veneer Press
  2. Hand Vacuum Press

Glue Veneer to Back of the Base Board

Glue Edges on the Base Board


Mounting and Pressing Picture and Frame to Base Board

Material and Tools Required

Miter Template

Mounting and Gluing the Marquetry Picture

Using Contact Cement (press not required)

Materials and tools for framing picture

Making frame miters

Gluing the frame using contact cement

Using PVA glue with a press

Trimming picture to size

Making the frame’s miter joins

Gluing the frame with PVA glue

Completed Picture with Frame


Sanding and Finishing

Materials and Tools Required

Varathane Premium Diamond Wood Finish

Rotating Lazy Susan Stand

Sanding Block

Finishing Procedure



About the Author

Paul Dean – Paul Dean was born in Birkenhead, England in 1947. After completing university, he entered the computer industry as a programmer. His career took him from England to South Africa and finally to Canada where he settled in Calgary, Alberta in 1980. For the remainder of his career, Paul worked for a company that produced building products, where he introduced computer integrated manufacturing systems. At the same time, Paul completed his PhD through the University of Calgary in 2009.

Paul was first introduced to Marquetry during his teenage years at boarding school. His father was a carpenter, so having a hobby using wood seemed very natural. During his professional career, Paul completed a number of pieces of Marquetry as he developed his skills and techniques. In 1996 he went to the UK and visited with Derick Austin in Wales, who introduced him to the “Window Method” of doing marquetry. The same year he spent a week at Belstead Hall in England attending a workshop given by Ernie Ives, where he learned more techniques. Since his retirement, in 2009, Paul has been able to devote more time to his craft. He recently completed a cabinetmaking course at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) where he was able to extend his Marquetry skills in embellishing wooden objects and furniture.

Paul is the author of Pacific Northwest Coast Native Art in Marquetry, a book based on the art and designs created by Jim Gilbert and published in the three books that comprise the ‘Learning by Series’ by Jim Gilbert and Karin Clark.