I want to try and lay down some veneer on a box project. Having never worked
with veneer other than some antique refinishing work about a hundred years
ago what do I need to know?
The box itself will be made out of baltic ply, it's used for holding slot
cars. About 20" long, 12"deep, and 14" high. It's got two doors on the front
that swing open horizontally.
I'd like to use spalted maple, I'll need to finish the veneer with something
fairly durable, any thoughts, ideas, warnings, etc. very welcome.
I would advise you to wear some sort of respirator when sanding your spalted
maple. Spalted wood is commonly used to describe wood with zone lined
decay. When sanding any type of material I highly suggest that some sort of
respirator be worn. In this case, I would highly recommend it. I would
recommend "Tried and True, Original Wood Finish formula". It leaves a very
nice finish and can be buffed or rubbed.
My only veneering experience has been with a home-made vacuum press.
It's made with a thick vinyl bag and a low tech pump I got off of Ebay,
and some incidental parts and ideas I got from Joewoodworker.com about
$80 all told.
I have used it to veneer (both sides) of MDF panels that I then used for
an edge-banded table top. I will be doing more.
Fine Woodworking online had a nice article and video of veneering
techniques a couple of months ago, but I see it is no longer on line.
This person used a veneering press (about 30 hydraulic jacks in a big
steel frame, weighing about 1200 pounds. At the end, he said, "or you
could use a vacuum press" (saves me buying a regular veneer press!). He
did have some nice techniques for using a slightly bowed board as a paul
to clamp the veneer to the sides of the board.
I used yellow glue, though I am sure purists will prefer hot hide glue
for all sorts of satisfying reasons. The veneering hammer will also help
build your upper body strength.
Tage Frid, 2nd volume of the first book. Good section on veneering.
IMHO, you should use hot hide glue, just because it works best. Work
in a warm room, or at least have the timber warm beforehand, and you
get a nice rapid tack on first application, but not so much that you
can't work with it.
Tools are a veneer hammer and a veneer saw. You need both, but can
make the first. It should have a thick metal edge with a good smooth
radius on it. Don't use guitar fret - it's too light and gets hot too
easily - use some heavy brass.
A veneer saw is a revelation if you've been managing without. It's a
short bellied saw, but it's filed to a knife edge as well. You can
easily work single-piece veneer without one, but it will improve the
accuracy of your bookmatching.
To work quickly, use the veneer saw a lot on still-hot veneer. To work
easily, let it cool down and adhere properly before you trim it and
veneer the adjacent surface. Good temperature control on your
gluepot gives you longer working times - start early in the morning
and you'll get 8 hours out of one pot of glue, but don't leave it
overnight and expect to veneer with it afterwards.
Baltic birch ply is one of the best veneer substrates around. It just
sits there, no problems at all. As it happens I'm doing a similar box
myself, as a wall-hanging tool cabinet. Cherry veneer over birch ply.
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