Larry Ciesla Woodworking

woodworking articles on this website

from my woodworking blog

Working with Veneer


Introduction to Veneer and Marquetry.  This is a video slideshow of a presentation I gave to the Fox Valley Woodworking Club in 2014.  I present an introduction to working with veneer and share the technique I use most often to create marquetry images.  This video will give you a basic understanding about veneer, substrates, glue, vacuum pressing, and at the end I discuss the technique I use to perfectly edge a circle with 1 inch thick walnut. 
Precision and Safety
Safety comes from control.  Control gives you precision!  This short article summarizes a philosophy that can keep you safe and help you do precise work.

Check out this video to learn how I dry fit projects made with Festool Dominos.  Festool Dominos are a fantastic modern way to do joinery but have the drawback that each domino is designed to fit very precisely.  The fit is so tight that it is very difficult to dry fit the joint then take it apart for the final glueup. 

Mortise jig designed by Michael Fortune.  This video explains the first application for the mortise jig designed by Michael Fortune that I built based on the plans in Fine Woodworking magazine.

You cannot get the spectacular mission-style finish on this quartersawn white oak rocker out of a can!  In this article I explain the theory and the steps needed to achieve a finish that causes the spectacular medulary rayflec pattern to stand out.
Originality in design
Have you ever doubted your ability to design your own furniture because you didn't think you could come up with an original design? Read this short essay I've written on the absurdity of thinking you can come up with something truly original!  Taking the best ideas you learn from studying the work of the masters and using these ideas in your own work is not copying, but rather the fundamental way that human beings create!
Controlling workshop clutter In my 1200 square foot woodworking shop, clutter can get completely out of hand without an effective strategy to control it.  I resolved to fix these problems when I built my new shop and here is how I did it.
What's in your shop apron? For years I struggled with never being able to find my tape measure, pencil, or 6" ruler.  That all changed when I finally discovered what was (for me, at least) the perfect shop apron.  Read about why it works for me and maybe you'll get some ideas for your own.

I recently created a set of four dining chairs that required three curved back rest pieces each. On the top piece of each chair I wanted to inlay a marquetry picture of acorns and oak leaves. Each back rest piece was about7/8 inch thick by three inches by 15 inches.  By laminating seven 1/8 inch thick pieces of oak over a bending form, I was able to create a picture in one of the laminations resulting in a final effect that is difficult for most people to guess at how it was done.  This article explains how to create curved forms using bentwood lamination.

Proper grounding in the workshop. Improper grounding in the woodworking shop can kill you!  I'm an electrical engineer, so I felt I was qualified to do my own electrical wiring for my new shop.  Safety is of paramont concern when working around electricity.  This article is a bit technical but has been written to give the average woodworker a basic understanding of proper grounding in the workshop.  It is not a "how to" article, but instead gives you enough electrical theory to help you understand how proper grounding is designed to save your life.  The article concludes with a discussion of how GFI circuits work.  Click here for a PDF version of the article.  The drawings are rendered better in the PDF version than in the html version.
12-way radial match

Bookmatching veneer is a way to create artful patterns in veneer projects.  This article describes how to create a 12-way bookmatch circular veneer that can be used for a table top.  The picture shows the pattern that develops depending on how you decide to cut the sequential stack of veneer sheets.  It is a fascinating process that requires intense concentration, but throughout, the hours will melt away!
Marc Adams School of Woodworking Classes When I'm not working at woodworking I enjoy writing about it and learning about it.  As for learning, the best place I've found is the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.  I've documented some of the classes I've taken at this school in recent years to give you an idea of what the place is like.  I also enjoy writing about woodworking and I've posted some of the articles I've written in this section.