osyter veneerng

Can someone offer tips/advice on doing this. If you sliced branches did you remove the bark first? How did you dry it? Patt
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If you can find it, check out Fine Woodworking March/April 2004; they had a pretty good article on it.
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Patt wrote:

It's just veneering, only there's more of it and more opportunity for the same sorts of screw-up. The trick seems to be to combine a good and practiced veneering technique with dry and stable veneers.

I've used laburnum, holly and fruitwoods which had all well-attached bark. I left this on, bandsawed the slices and then cut them to rectangles. If the bark was looking dodgy to begin with then I'd remove it before any drying and slicing, just to make it easier to handle. I also did some ivy which has relatively thick and wet cambium under the bark. I always removed this wet, as I had a lot of checking trouble when drying it otherwise.

I air-dried it to "damp" by waxing 6" lengths and ignoring them for a year, then I sliced it and air-dried the slices in a loosely stacked flitch for another year. This wasn't to improve drying, but to try and avoid radial checking.
To veneer it, just read any marquetry book. I use hot hide glue, very light hammer technique and a vacuum bag. Normally I'm heavy handed with my hammer and don't need to bag pieces, but for oysters I started to get paranoid about them shifting around while I was working on them and screwing up the whole job on the last piece.
Obviously timber movement is a problem. You want your veeneers well dry before working on them, and the substrate too. I'd air-condition both in _the_same_environment_ for at least a month before using them. The biggest problem isn't dryness, it's equality - that's how they're always going to end up, so best get them there before you stick them. I was doing some onto lebanon cedar and so there was much perusing of Hoadley to worry about relative expansion rates.
Only laburnum is worth bothering with, IMHO and even then only if it has nice two-colour markings. Yew might be nice too. The very plain fruitwoods and ivy were experiments, the holly wound up slathered under thick brown treacly spirit varnishes trying to look like antique 18th century tea caddies and harpsichords. It was still featureless and masked by the varnishes, but then so are the real pieces these days.
I can't imagine myself ever doing a big case piece like this. It's just not a nice enough technique. Small boxes are attractive, but too much and it looks overpowering. For that much effort I can make nicer things.
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