First Veneer Attempt

  • Advertise with us
Project by CharlieM1958 posted 10-15-2007 05:03 PM 2544 views 3 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Okay, so everybody needs a rosewwod and cherry cabinet for their precision tools, right? Just kidding.

I’ve been wanting to experiment with veneer, and I figured I’d let my first try be at something for the shop so the mistakes wouldn’t matter too much and I could learn from them. I built the carcass from scrap plywood lying around the shop. I used simple butt joints reinforced with countersunk screws since I knew I’d be covering everything up with the veneer.

I used Titebond cold press adhesive for the veneer, and I had reasonable success, although I had quite a bit of trouble trimming the edges. I;m not sure if I didn’t use enough glue, but I found that the veneer kept wanting to splinter away from the plywood backing as I trimmed and smoothed the edges. I found this santos rosewood raw veneer pretty brittle. Should I have softened it first?

At any rate, it was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to improving my skills and moving on to making some bookmatched patterns, etc. All advice welcomed! :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

34 comments so far

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4058 days

#1 posted 10-15-2007 05:21 PM

Dang it, Charlie, now I’ll never catch up to your box-making skills! Great job.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4031 days

#2 posted 10-15-2007 05:33 PM

Really nice, Charlie! It raises the bar again.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4155 days

#3 posted 10-15-2007 05:58 PM

can’t imagine the shop getting messy with storage units like this in it!!!

(can’t help you with the brittleness issue)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3986 days

#4 posted 10-15-2007 08:06 PM

That looks like a fun project and it came out great. I really enjoyed tackling veneering for the first time on my last project. How did you approach the veneering, vacuum press?

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4213 days

#5 posted 10-15-2007 09:24 PM

Thanks, everybody!

Damian, I don’t a have a vacuum press yet. I just used clamping boards with as many clamps as I could get on.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Marco Cecala's profile

Marco Cecala

189 posts in 4028 days

#6 posted 10-15-2007 09:33 PM

Great looking cabinet, and a good way to get used to veneer. The splintering of brittle veneers can be a problem. Here is my experience…

Softening is for flattening veneer before glue up, by the time all is dry, the softening effects are gone.
My best results come with blue tape over the kerf, I have had good luck with the Festool saw, jointer or table saw. Taking care to make sure you have a sharp cutting tool. Try all of these, what works for one species may not work for another.

Did you make the panels over size and trim all 4 sides? Seems the easiest way for me, it is easier to make panels a half inch bigger and let things slide a bit during glue up.

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 3901 days

#7 posted 10-15-2007 09:48 PM

First attempt!!!? I’d think you’d been doing it for a lifetime. Beautiful cabinet.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4092 days

#8 posted 10-15-2007 09:58 PM

Very nice. Your tools will love you for this.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4213 days

#9 posted 10-15-2007 10:58 PM


Marco, thanks for the advice. I was wondering… I made the box first, then applied the veneer slightly oversize and trimmed the excess when cured. I was thinking (and it sounds like this is what you are saying), is it better to veneer the individual panels slightly oversize and then cut them to size and assemble the box?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3977 days

#10 posted 10-15-2007 11:01 PM

great job. hope you enjoyed the project and taught yourself a couple more tricks !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 3896 days

#11 posted 10-15-2007 11:06 PM

Slow down fellas. I’m adding to my ’things I must try’ list by the day! That’s really something Charlie.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4213 days

#12 posted 10-15-2007 11:11 PM

Stewart, that is the curse of Lumberjocks….. If I stopped looking at projects today, I’m not sure I have enough years left to finish everthing on my “must try” list. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4322 days

#13 posted 10-16-2007 12:48 AM

Gorgeous – the photos make it look “hyper real” Something out of skethup or photoshop… what an addition and inspiration for your shop. Everything in our shops should look half as good. – might get me to keep it a little cleaner, or at least pass the shop vac once in a while… ;)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3957 days

#14 posted 10-16-2007 12:58 AM

It really looks great, Charlie. I odn’t know much about veneer. All I’ve ever used was Flexwood which is paper backed veneer. With it I trim with my trim router or I use a block plane going with the grain.I don’t know if regular veneer works the same or not. I usually skin the pieces before I make up the cabinet.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4213 days

#15 posted 10-16-2007 01:13 AM

Thanks Scott. Tom, I was thinking a trim router might work well. I don’t have one, but have been thinking about getting one.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

showing 1 through 15 of 34 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics