A single design may comprise many thousands of unique pieces of carefully selected veneer. Each piece undergoes four separate processes of cutting, hot-sand shading, pressing and double-cutting before being placed with painstaking precision by the hand of the marqueteur. It takes weeks to assemble a finished piece of work in this way.
Sand shading is a technique that goes back hundreds of years, whereby the veneer is dipped into sand that is heated to 550 degrees, scorching and darkening the wood to give the impression of depth and shadow. It takes great skill and is a time-consuming task that depends for its success on the eye and judgement of the marqueteur.