Retired person using a laser, part 2

Retired person using a laser, part 2

When I got my laser in 2020, I started with wood inlays, then went to marquetry, now I am into small box making with steam or chemically bent wood. I first tried solid [1/16"] veneer bending, and though it worked, it was difficult and took a long time in the bending jig to keep a bend and dry.

I changed to thinner veneer [.06"] and 2-ply veneer for inkjet use from [] Glued the layers, then with the glue still wet, clamped in the bending jig I designed. I made the structural parts to hold the bent parts by using offset fill-in-the-layer settings to burn a groove to glue the bent laminations into the structure. I have experimented with decorations by “applique” and “applique with marquetry inserts” applied after the assembly of bent parts into the structure.

I have made lids that have a recessed insert to hold them in place and have also tried mini barrel hinges that are almost invisible along the hinge line.


Nice Work! thanks for sharing.

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I must say I’m almost more impressed with your jigs than the boxes themselves. Very imaginative. I’m not quite clear on how you apply the marquetry to the box. Do you make the box first, then the veneer layer with marquetry separately and then bend it onto your box? Or do you make up the marquetry layer and glue it up together in the sandwich when you make the box? And lastly, how do you work out where to cut the seam where the two ends of your surface layer meet?

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Thanks for your comment.

Answers to your questions:

I apply the marquetry to the box after the box is glued together, since that is the hard part for me. I have peripheral neuropathy in my hands and many of the operations of my laser work require special jigs, patience, and the right day!

There is a second reason to apply the marquetry after the box is done. The bent parts are 2 to 3 layers of veneer glued together like plywood, and placed into the jigs to form the bends while the glue dries. I design the boxes so the marquetry is not in a bending area, except on the cylinder box, that has dyed wood inserts placed after all the glue up.

The cylindrical boxes are made with staggered lengths of veneer so there is a lap joint at the ends. The other boxes end at the back side, and fit into a slot engraved 2mm wide and 1mm deep with Lightburn’s offset fill.

I went through 8 versions of jigs till the ones you see in the photos. The end result of the latest jigs is that they have all the parts “attached” and also removable to redesign. So, all the parts either pivot to enclose or are pushed to trap and hold by some cams. If you want, I can make a video of the jig movement process and send you the link.


A video would be illuminating. I think I see how most of your cams and forms work but I would really like to see them in action. I often find craftsmen’s methods of work as interesting as the finished project.

Ooh! SO many great ideas here! I particularly love the little diamonds added to the living hinges!

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Linked here are a video for each box bending shape.

Let me know if there are any further questions.

Below: 2 layers to laminate: 2 ply maple and 1 ply walnut with paper backing, both from Cards of wood.

Below: On the cylindrical, the length adjusted so that the outside ply is a little bit longer than the inside. The working length can be adjusted after the glue is dry on the laminations, and then glue the ends together.


I must say , I’m really impressed with these jigs. So well crafted. I love how all the components are labeled with laser engraving to identify them. Thank you for the videos.