Cutting veneers on the bandsaw, from green wood?

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Blog entry by Brian Havens posted 05-26-2010 06:55 PM 8466 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have done my share of veneer work, using both commercial veneers and veneer I cut myself on the bandsaw. I also do a lot of turning, mostly from green wood. Until now these two pleasures have remained disparate, but this past month, those pleasures collided.

It all started after I scored some logs of Claro Walnut. There was one particular piece of crotch that I could not figure out what to do with, so I left it in the shape of a block. About a day later, while looking at the photo below, I realized that these pieces would make for a fabulous 4-way bookmatched (round or elliptical) table top.


But this brings be to my question: Do I slice it up into veneers while it is green? or wait for it to dry?

Slicing it up while it is green has huge advantages: 1) It will dry much faster, and I will be able to use it sooner. At about 4 inches think right now, it will take years to cure. 2) less cracking and spitting, and perhaps none at all. 3) Much easier to cut when it is green. There is just one huge problem to overcome: warping as it dries.

Does anyone have any experience that they can share on slicing and drying green veneers?

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#1 posted 05-26-2010 07:49 PM

what little I’ve done was on some green wood, after keeping weight on it an some paper towels it turned out fine.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Brian Havens's profile

Brian Havens

196 posts in 3130 days

#2 posted 05-26-2010 09:22 PM

Hmm. Perhaps slicing thinner helps: more flexible means less prone to cracking when flattening during pressing. How thin were your veneers, Autumn? I was thinking 3/32” rough, for a 1/16” final thickness (after drying/drum sanding). I was also thinking that even air flow, on both side of the veneer would help. Leaving them flat on a surface would cause them to dry on one side much faster, and curl up.

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 3026 days

#3 posted 05-27-2010 03:13 AM

I personally had some reasonably dry Walnut (technically green, but the tree had died on the stump and it was drier than a newly felled tree). Sawed it into a few small veneer sheets that were roughly 1/8 inch thick. it warped enough that I’m not sure what to do with it now. I think I’ve seen somewhere people taking these and wetting them back down and pressing them, but haven’t tried it.

Gorgeous piece of wood. For sure I would only try it with one chunk ;-)

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View Galirex's profile


37 posts in 3012 days

#4 posted 05-27-2010 01:00 PM

Question RichardH,
Would steambending not be more likely to ‘soften’ the walnut enough to then dry under weights to achieve a flat / flatter endproduct ?

-- Don't complain about growing old, it's a priviledge denied many...

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