Dovetail Box #11: Hand-Cut Veneer

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Blog entry by Eric posted 03-13-2008 02:01 PM 4350 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Next Obstacle: The Lid Part 11 of Dovetail Box series Part 12: Feelin' Groovy »

So I don’t have access to store-bought veneer (no stores) and I don’t have a bandsaw, so it looks like I’m on my own for veneer. And since I needed it for this box lid, why not start now? I was feeling pretty confident going into this endeavor with my new ryoba. And it didn’t let me down.

I didn’t measure or mark anything. A fellow LumberJock told me it should be 1/16” or thinner. So I just put the saw a smidge away from the edge of the board and tried to keep my line even horizontally and vertically. I also don’t have a real vise, so I just laid the board up against the “bench” and sawed away!

Hand-Cut Veneer 1

After resawing the veneer off of my board, it looked pretty good – mostly even thickness, and it was right around 1/16” thick at its thickest point.

Hand-Cut Veneer 2

I sanded it down a little (tricky to hold on to such a thin little piece!) and then slapped it good-side-up onto my plywood panel.

Hand-Cut Veneer 3

And there we go! The veneer might be a tiny bit short, but I’m starting to lower my standards a bit and just want to get this thing done. I missed my Valentine’s Day deadline and just missed my wife’s birthday – I don’t want to let Mother’s Day go by before finishing! The other thing I should have done was to sandwich the plywood/veneer glueup in between a couple pieces of wood, for a more even clamp. When it was all dry, I saw that the veneer had lifted up very slightly on one edge. Shouldn’t affect the end product, though, as the top of the veneer is what I’m making flush with the top of the lid. So here’s what it looks like (none of the components are glued yet):

Hand-Cut Veneer 4

Thanks to everyone who gave me such great advice on how to do the lid!

-- Eric at

16 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3784 days

#1 posted 03-13-2008 02:22 PM


You are making progress. This box is starting to take shape. If you get this finished before Mother’s day I am sure all will be forgiven.

By the way this is a nice example of problem solving. You were faced with the veneer challenge and could have used it as an excuse for not doing the box. Instead you looked on it as an opportunity to explore an alternative technique and generated your own veneer. Very innovative.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3777 days

#2 posted 03-13-2008 02:38 PM

Are you gonna fill those gaps with some nice contrasting wood strips?

-- Scott - Chico California

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3950 days

#3 posted 03-13-2008 03:12 PM

That’s some darn fine veneer cutting you did there!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3746 days

#4 posted 03-13-2008 04:02 PM

Scott: I told my wife that I’m learning so much, the second one of these (I haven’t told her it’s a box) will be much better. “Do you want the second one, then?” I asked. And she said, “Oh no way, I want the first one, with all the blood, sweat and tears.” Good woman.

Other Scott: Which gaps are you referring to? The few gaps I have are too small for me to fill (my veneering isn’t THAT fine!). They’ll probably be noticeable, but not obnoxious.

GaryK: Thanks, as always! You’re LJ’s finest cheerleader. In a macho guy kind of way, that is. No pom-poms.

-- Eric at

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 3801 days

#5 posted 03-13-2008 05:49 PM

All that by hand, thats impressive! i don’t know if I could stick with it that long before going the power route :)

And now you have a lid which will not blow out your miters :) Now use that Ryoba to cut some veneer keys into the miters of the frame for a decorative touch and to lend a bit more strength to the miters….. :P



-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3858 days

#6 posted 03-14-2008 02:35 AM

Eric – mighty fine veneer. I think you have to be pretty patient to hand cut a board that thin. Well done.

Best get it finished up soon though. Mother’s day will be here before you blink!

Good luck.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3746 days

#7 posted 03-14-2008 05:28 AM

TheCaver: Not another thing to do!!!!

(Well, maybe)

-- Eric at

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3959 days

#8 posted 03-14-2008 08:35 AM

Way to go on the veneer and getting the top together! JCs idea re: the keys is a a good one to add strength to the mitered joints, which don’t have too much holding power in them. You went through the process of cutting the veneer; I bet you could cut slivers as thin as a saw kerf to make the key stock!

Have fun – whatever you do!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4028 days

#9 posted 03-14-2008 08:35 AM

Eric – you da man – cutting veneer with a handsaw! Good job.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3836 days

#10 posted 03-14-2008 10:41 AM

Wow, hand sawn veneer. That’s impressive.

View FRITZ's profile


81 posts in 3561 days

#11 posted 03-21-2009 03:13 AM

project looking go,, if you ever need some nice exotic veneer feel free to check me out i sell all type of veneer ’’ebay rjfritz123’‘
again project looks good
thanks ron

View FRITZ's profile


81 posts in 3561 days

#12 posted 03-21-2009 03:13 AM

project looking go,, if you ever need some nice exotic veneer feel free to check me out i sell all type of veneer ’’ebay rjfritz123’‘
again project looks good
thanks ron

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3746 days

#13 posted 03-21-2009 05:13 PM

Thanks, Ron, but I make my own exotic veneers, can’t ya see? :^)

-- Eric at

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3675 days

#14 posted 03-21-2009 09:12 PM

Impressive cutting…I was just dreaming about doing this and here you have gone and done it. Your result is an inspiration to me. My thinking was ‘I don’t have ….’ so to see you do it with the same kind of limitations encourages me to give it a try…thanks!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3746 days

#15 posted 03-23-2009 05:21 AM

Welcome, Mark. Can’t say I did anything spectacular, though, except to give it a try! So go for it!

-- Eric at

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