Wooden Flavored LEGO —Purists need not read.

Well I got to cleaning out one of my LEGO rooms to make room for a new polishing unit and came across a bunch of my old WoodStitches. Way back when, when I had just come up with idea of engraving on LEGO bricks to make badges and keyrings and names on mini-figs, I was also interested in wood veneering and tiling patterns. Still am for that matter, but very little time to pursue them. Anyway, I came up with the concept of covering LEGO bricks and later tiles with real wood veneer. A modular kind of  parquetry, one in which you could rebuild it again and again. Because LEGO is really strong and dimensionally stable, it actually made an excellent substrate for veneer. So I embarked on making all kinds of bricks covered with veneer. Figuring out the right kind of glue and cutting them out were of course the main problems, but to me they looked so darn good that I persevered and came up with a reasonable, if time consuming  process. And once put together and coated with a few coats of urethane, they made a very durable item–durable enough for coasters,  table tops and even floors.

I thought that photo mosaics out of them would be very unique and could not help but being good looking also. After all hardwoods are some of the prettiest materials that God ever created. I was always a fan of marquetry also. I played around also with stitching patterns, rug patterns , tiling patterns, etc. Had no idea there were so many stitching patterns in the world. I remember some of the African ones were very elegant. But wanted to do one pretty good sized mosaic, and finally created enough 1×1 bricks with enough of a variety of values and colors to give it a go. Since Kjeld was going to be at BrickFest that year, I decided to do a portrait of him –someone the AFOLs could identify.

So I grabbed one of the few pictures of him I could find and analyzed it value wise –took all my various woods and analyzed them from light to dark in similar color temperature and then started matching them up and numbering them . Some woods even though the correct values were too green or cool and could not use them. I then did like most mosaic makers do and “stitched” by number. If one was using traditional parquetry techniques and actually gluing them, it would have been a real pain. After all there were over 3000 of them for this fairly small picture. And if you decided one did not look good, with WoodStitches you simply had to take it apart and put in a different one. Actually a lot of fun, once the bricks were made and the pattern laid out. And you could also play with the grain direction to get some textural variations. It came out pretty darn well, and I was proud of my new craft form. I could not find any equivalent technique out there in the world. At BrickFest my new and original concept did not go over very well however because I was modifying the “holy” brick and it was not considered LEGO. Lot of purist back in those days and this was about as impure as one could get-lol. Well anyway, I thought it looked almost great—and did get Kjeld to autograph it as can be seen in this picture.

href=”https://brickengraver.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/kjeld-small.jpg”>Wooden Flavored LEGO

The technique would make a killer bar, coffee table, foyer floor, or mosaic backdrop for a tavern. Or a photomosaic. Would look good in any room. Great for making borders, all kinds of things. Problem of course was the expense. Nothing really inexpensive about the bricks and the amount of labor was pretty high.


2 responses to “Wooden Flavored LEGO —Purists need not read.”

  1. thebrickmaker says :

    I think you can save on the labor expense by assembling the 1×1 (though I would change this to 1×2, easier to stack them together) bricks first, applying the veneer to all of them at once, and then cutting the veneer with an exacto or whatever your preferred razor may be. I’m sure you’ll find this much quicker if you ever repeat the experiment!

    • The Original BrickEngraver/BrickPrinter says :

      That actually is the way I do it but one has to also bevel the sides so that enough room for the bricks to fit together. It cannot be just a simple cut. And the bevel needs to be very consistant.I actually had a pretty effiecient process set up–but just the cost of the bricks makes it relatively expensive. I spent many hours figuring out the process. In the Navajo and Oriental rug pattern, those were mostly 1×2’s. 2×2’s workded great also. And did pretty much all sizes. It is still a viable idea and could be pretty efficient. But you are pretty much confined to using black bricks because only color with which real wood looks good and does not look artificial. Larger bricks make for fewer pieces, but really do not make the total cost per foot that much less expensive.

      But like I said, I would be open to doing commission pieces — large or small. It is really a beautiful system for creating beautiful mosaics since the pieces are all interchangeable. One can use the same palatte of bricks for almost anything and more importantly reuse them. Try doing that with traditional parquetry or marquetry techniques!!! And another advantage is the strength/weight ratio. Much less than traditional wood or composite backing. Dimensional stability is also excellent.

      And also remember LEGO had its roots in wooden toys. lol

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