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My my...veneering! #3: Veneering woes...disappointed :^(

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Blog entry by oscorner posted 08-01-2007 03:48 AM 3954 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The next step in my journey. Part 3 of My my...veneering! series no next part

Well, I completed my journey and this is my story. I decided to use the maple veneer Karson gave me for the border of the chest board. Here is a picture of it taped up from the back:

The next task was to completely tape the seams with the three hole tape as seen here:

This was a somewhat tedious job because of all the seams. I felt that the mitered corners came out quite well and I was getting excited about finishing the process of gluing it up. I did a test piece with some of the burl on a scrap piece of pine. When I coated it with the glue it became obvious that the burl had many small holes that would allow the glue to seep through. To stop this so that I didn’t end up with a strip of veneer sandwiched between two boards, I covered it with the painters tape before clamping another piece of pine over it. The next day I was quite pleased with the outcome. The burl was glued on flat and the painter’s tape kept the glue from seeping through to the other board. Now that I had proved that this method worked, I was ready to glue up the veneer to the MDF. I applied painter’s tape over all the burl and any small cracks that were evident in the seams. What a job! I applied Titebond II to the MDF and spread it nice and even across the whole surface. I taped on side of the veneer to one side of the MDF so that I could flip it over onto the glue. I worked my way from the end closest to the taped end across the MDF with my wooden roller making sure that the veneer was mated flat to it. I then took another board of MDF and clamped it on top of the veneer using cauls to equalize the pressure applied across the entire surface without applying too much pressure. Just enough to get a little squeeze out. The next day I removed the clamps and noticed that the maple border had a couple of spots that were bubbled up and a few of the maple squares were in the same shape. Needles to say I wasn’t happy with my results after my test piece worked so well. My next discouragement came when I began the process of removing the three hole tape. I used a sponge dampened just enough to dampen the tape as was described in material I read about veneering. I started to remove the tape which was coming off nicely, when I notice more wrinkling of the maple veneer squares and border. :^( Now what was I to do? I had to get the tape off and this was the process in which to do it. I continued removing the tape and as I did I tried to think of what I could try to fix this mess. I decided to try using an iron to heat the veneer, thus removing the moisture and hopefully getting the glue to reactivate. Well the veneer started to lay down, but it was turning color. The iron was set too high! I turned it down and tried again. The glue started letting go and I could see that this was going to get worse before it got better, so I canned the idea of using the iron. I sanded the darkened veneer and tried rolling it with my wooden roller hoping that as it cooled that the glue would hold. Well, I think I was back to where I started. I finished removing the tape. Afterward, I decided to put the veneered piece on the driveway direct sun light hoping it would dry the veneer allowing it to flatten out. I seemed to work somewhat, but not perfectly. I then decided that while it was flatter to go ahead and seal it with several coats of poly. I seal the back of the MDF with shellac. I brought it into the house hoping the the air conditioner would further drop the humidity in the veneer. Well, I’ll let you be the judge. Of course, there is still some bubbled spots that the camera doesn’t show and one spot along the border and the edge of the substrate that didn’t hold. I will re-glue it. My only solution it to put 1/8” acrylic over the entire board so that the chess pieces will not be affected by the bubbling. Here is what it looks like:

Any suggestions from my more experienced veneerer’s on how to avoid this in the future and what it is I did wrong would be greatly appreciated. I plan to make this into a table with a drawer as a completed project in the near future and will post when I finish it.

-- Jesus is Lord!



12 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

34911 posts in 3144 days


#1 posted 08-01-2007 04:28 AM

How thick was your cauls, and how many clamps did you use. And how far apart were the clamps.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2905 days


#2 posted 08-01-2007 12:08 PM

but it’s beautiful … learning opportunities.. humph.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2832 days


#3 posted 08-01-2007 01:23 PM

I was taught to cover the whole piece with 2” wide paper tape. (Where it wasn’t already taped with 1” tape.
I’ve always used a vacuum press (well, once years ago I used a friend veneer press with lots of screw clamps in a metal rig) so I don’t know about the type of clamping you did. Sounds OK.
This is the hard part. Take your belt sander, put it on the tape and sand away. Just remember do not start it until is is flat on the piece and let it come to a COMPLETE stop before you lift it off or you will sand into the veneer.
Scary but it works. Then you only need a wet sponge and a scraper (a sharpened putty knife) to take of the few pieces you could not sand off.
DO NOT (at least with a vacuum press) let any painters tape stay on the piece as it will be permanently stuck to the veneer.
The figured maple looks nice.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3055 days


#4 posted 08-02-2007 04:03 AM

Karson, my cauls were 1 1/2” thick and spaced at about 4 1/2” apart, top and bottom over 1/2” MDF. I used ten clamps…all that I have and even had one cheap one break. The handle is molded plastic and so was the body of the lever assembly, so I didn’t have an extreme amount of pressure capabilities with it. I think that even though I felt that I had way too much glue on the MDF that the MDF may have soaked it up causing me to have weak or no glue left in the areas that were able to lift up, especially those that lifted when I dampened the 3 hole tape.

MsDebbieP, thanks for the nice words.

Sawdust2, one of the reasons I was reluctant to try this was because I didn’t have the budget to get into vacuum presses and such. The tape was not a problem to get off…it was just annoying to see the maple lift up from the moisture applied after spending so much time trying to do everything just right. Thanks for your input and suggestions. I may need them on another try.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Karson's profile

Karson

34911 posts in 3144 days


#5 posted 08-02-2007 04:45 AM

Was there a caul that covered the entire surface and then other cauls that applied the pressure from the clamps.

Pressure is applied as an inverted “V” the clamp is at the point and the pressure is applied within the mouth of the “V” If those mouths don’t overlap then you have pressure voids. A vacuum bags kind of keeps that from happing, but you still need a caul over the entire surface but it can be 1/2” plywood and even 1/4” if a small piece is being glued. Can you draw a picture with Pencil Cad and post that image from a side view so I can see what it looked like.

Here is kind of what I’d like to see.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3055 days


#6 posted 08-03-2007 03:42 AM

Karson I don’t have Pencil Cad, but here’s a drawing of what I did.

The bottom board is the MDF with the veneer on it. The top is MDF that was used to apply equal pressure across the top of the veneer. The blocks indicate 2 X 4 cauls that were placed top and bottom and then clamped.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Karson's profile

Karson

34911 posts in 3144 days


#7 posted 08-03-2007 04:07 AM

Mark e-mail me your phone number so I can call. and what might be a good range of time to call.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Steffen's profile

Steffen

326 posts in 2779 days


#8 posted 08-03-2007 04:40 AM

Mark,

I did a quilted maple veneer once and had similar results. I don’t remember who I talked to about it, someone at rockler or woodcraft, but I remember them suggesting wetting the back of the veneer before clamping them together. I used the old concrete block clamping method so I know I had plenty of even pressure over the entire surface. The board looks great though. I’ll post the project where I had problems. It’s hanging in a church prayer room in Anaheim and nobody has ever said a word about it.

-- Steffen - Kirkland, WA

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3055 days


#9 posted 08-03-2007 05:19 AM

Karson, PMed you!

Steffen, any ideas as to what happened?

-- Jesus is Lord!

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3055 days


#10 posted 08-04-2007 01:20 AM

I messed up and deleted the drawing, Karson. I’m sorry…here it is again:

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Steffen's profile

Steffen

326 posts in 2779 days


#11 posted 08-12-2007 09:12 PM

I don’t remember what they said was the cause. It has been a while since I did that project and when I was talking to someone about it I was just passing through. If I can remember the name of the company I purchased the veneer from (online) I will give it to you so you can call them and ask. They were very friendly and very helpful.

http://www.wood-veneers.com/index1.htm there they are.

-- Steffen - Kirkland, WA

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3055 days


#12 posted 08-13-2007 04:38 AM

Thank you, Steffen.

-- Jesus is Lord!

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