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Forum topic by Scarcraig01 posted 09-21-2009 07:09 AM 1566 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Scarcraig01

72 posts in 2657 days


09-21-2009 07:09 AM

The top of this bookcase will be birds eye maple veneer, its pretty simple, just the top piece needs to be done. (See Pic below.)

I am clueless when it comes to veneering. I got Mike Burton’s book, Veneering a foundation course and I’ve looked through it but I still am unclear on the following issues:

1.) I’m planing on using 3/4 MDF for the substrate. It will be around 11” x 32”, do I need to veneer both sides of this piece to prevent cupping? (Burton mentioned that veneer can pull due to seasonal change, and cause severe cupping, but wouldn’t this only apply to large pieces?)

2.) Should I go with a paper backed veneer, and which adhesive should I use?

3.) Do I have to use a vacuum bag on a piece this size, or could I get by just using caul’s and clamps?

4.) The piece will have a 1/4 rabbit that will fit into a grove on the side pieces. Should I veneer the piece over sized, and then cut the final size, and the rabbits into it with the veneer already applied, or make the piece with the rabbits first and then apply the veneer? Obviously, the first way is far easier, but will the veneer which is only 1/40 thick chip out too much when I try to put the rabbit into the edges? (It will be a cross grain rabbit.)

Believe it or not the book was not much help on these issues. The book deals with projects and techniques that are far more advanced than this simple little flat square piece! The book explains all the options, but I’m not sure which ones are the best for this simple little veneering task.

Any help or advise from LJ readers would sure be appreciated!

(If anyone is interested, I’m blogging about this project here on LJ’s)

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio


17 replies so far

View eastside's profile

eastside

97 posts in 2725 days


#1 posted 09-21-2009 03:15 PM

Yes veneer both sides.
I would veneer first then rabbit.
I use Heat lock glue with great results but others use a basic wood glue in the same manner. The heat lock is foll proof. Read about it at Veneersupplies.com
Also lots of FAQ about veneering at Joewoodworker.com
If you use paper back and the front edge is showing a slight line will be visiable were the paper is but paper back is sooo flat and easy to work with. Check out Theveneerstore.com for solid wood and exotics. The prices are great to.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

View WibblyPig's profile

WibblyPig

168 posts in 2737 days


#2 posted 09-21-2009 03:32 PM

1) It applies to all pieces regardless of size. Look at any piece of plywood – it always has an odd number of plys – it starts at the center and then builds out evenly. If you add veneer to only one side, you’ve upset the balance. Granted, MDF isn’t plywood but I figure why tempt fate. I always veneer both sides of anything I’m doing. The bottom side can be the same veneer if it’s going to be visible or just some old waste veneer if nobody will see it.

2) I always use raw veneer and use either hide glue or Franklin Cold Press Veneer glue. You can also use regular old TiteBond II I have never had long term success with contact cement. A bubble or movement seems to always happen within a year or 2.

3) You can use one of these http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=11315 The smaller kit will handle 14” x 47” and it’s on sale now! You could also coat both pieces with the TiteBond II (NOT 1!!) let it set for an hour or so and then iron it together.

4) Why tempt fate? Cut everything to size, cut your joints and then veneer it. 1/42” seems thin but it’s a lot thicker than you think. Don’t forget to take that into account when you make your joints.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View Billp's profile

Billp

802 posts in 3663 days


#3 posted 09-21-2009 04:35 PM

Craig I agree of all the veneer books I have Mike Burtons is the most confusing. Veneer both sides the cold press glue is a good glue. You can use cauls or a veener bag and press, I built mine for about $200 off Joe woodworker.com it’s a good sight with alot of info. You could also trim the outside edge with solid wood and router that.

-- Billp

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3563 days


#4 posted 09-21-2009 05:45 PM

Craig – I made this modern set of furniture for my clients in Ohio and I had trouble on the corner unit with the pie shaped top.

SV101515.JPG

I prefer to use paper backed veneer and normally it is the easiest to use. You will get no bleed through on your glue and there is less chance that you will break the sheet of veneer.

I use a vacuum press for my veneer work.

SV100377.JPG

But on this particular piece I had trouble with the veneer separating from the paper and it was not discovered until after the corner unit was completely assembled. I was unable to remove the top because of the order of construction but I had to replace the veneer on the top.

First, I sanded the veneer on the top completely off. Then I used Titebond II and applied a thin and even layer (this is the key to success) to both halves using a 6” sponge roller. I let these dry for about 20 minutes and then ironed the new veneer top on. That was 3 years ago and it is still holding up.

If you do not have a vacuum press and you want an alternative method, this will work.

I always veneer both sides. The secondary side does not need to be the same species but it should be the same type and thickness. That means, if you use paper backed veneer on the the top, then use paper backed veneer on the bottom but it can be a different species. For instance, if you use curly maple on the top, you could use plain maple on the bottom.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Scarcraig01's profile

Scarcraig01

72 posts in 2657 days


#5 posted 09-21-2009 10:37 PM

Wow what a great response, thanks to all of you for taking the time to share your info. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks the Burton book was no good! I like the Titebond 2 and iron idea because I was really not wanting to buy a press. Lots of great info from everyone, what a great community of woodworkers!

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3563 days


#6 posted 09-22-2009 01:03 AM

I used the iron on the highest heat setting and slowly kept it moving. I also did a test run and checked to see if it would burn the veneer and how long it takes to heat up the glue to bond. I recommend that you do this as well.

Remember that the key to a good looking veneer job is to keep the glue layers even on each half.

As I have been told or read, I don’t remember which, you need to put the pieces together within a couple of hours once you apply the glue to achieve the best results. I don’t know the reason why but I followed the instructions given to me.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3864 days


#7 posted 09-22-2009 02:04 AM

I’ve never used the iron on process. That is just because I’ve not run into that situation yet. Joewoodworker.com has the iron-on glue.

I use Joe’s regular veneer glue and I have a vacuum bag that I built about 5 years ago. The best way to go if you plan on doing a lot of veneering. (I do a lot) It seems that I might have some veneer in every project that I build. My kitchen that I’m building now is veneered on all visible surfaces. My largest veneering project to data. Probably over 200 sq ft of veneer.

Lee Jesberger (an LJ’er) does a lot of veneering and he also used the iron on process on cylinders and borders on furniture items.

Don’t use contact cement.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View jussdandy's profile

jussdandy

157 posts in 2670 days


#8 posted 09-22-2009 02:31 AM

Craig, I really havn’t done much veener , but Ive sold an allfull lot of it, I sell Flexable materials veener, Im sure they have a web site, the majority of my customers hate paperback, wood on wood is the biggest seller but the new kid on the block is polyback, It has a resin backer, most guys are loving it, it prices out between wood back and paperback. As for the glue, they recomend contact cement, rolled on and then the veener scraped down with the grain. not telling ya anything but my experance of selling it for a lot of years but never using it. damn thats strange now that I think about it.

-- Randy I have the right to remain silent, just not the ability ; )

View Ronald Coone's profile

Ronald Coone

21 posts in 2806 days


#9 posted 09-22-2009 03:53 AM

Let me upset everyone with my opinion – First you have gotten very good advice from from the many replies here – however I must give this as my reply and my opinion. As an American craftsman with a love for the art of wood working don’t use mdf – you have now clasified the piece you put your heart and soul into as a “custom” piece equal to the material quality of that you will find in walmart. I am sure the skill and love behind the piece are much greater but why skimp on materials. MDF will not last a century but using the right materials, the creation you put your heart and soul into will.

-- Ronald Coone, Florida, www.expressionwoodworks.net

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3563 days


#10 posted 09-22-2009 05:44 AM

Well, Ronald Coone put things into a good perspective.

I must say that I agree with, support, and appreciate his input.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Scarcraig01's profile

Scarcraig01

72 posts in 2657 days


#11 posted 09-22-2009 07:05 AM

Yea, I agree with Ronald’s perspective too. It would be sort of a bummer to know that MDF was a used, even in a small way! I thought about using solid birds eye as opposed to veneer, but I was concerned that I wouldn’t get much figure.

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 2944 days


#12 posted 09-22-2009 07:20 AM

Here’s a great way to apply veneer without the need for lots of clamps or a vacuum press.

http://www.oakwoodveneer.com/tips/ironon.html

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View WibblyPig's profile

WibblyPig

168 posts in 2737 days


#13 posted 09-22-2009 02:39 PM

To give a differing opinion than Ron’s – the use of MDF or plywood as a substrate with a veneer overlay is not on par with “Walmart furniture” for a number of reasons:

1) It opens up design possibilities that simply aren’t possible with solid wood – i.e. Todd’s furniture above. If that were attempted in solid wood, it would tear itself apart within a year.

2) It opens up the use of veneer as a pattern that wouldn’t be available with solid wood – double book matching, diamonds, basketweaves, louis cubes, fans, etc. etc.

3) It allows the use of wood that is either unavailable or unfeasible as dimensional lumber – pommels, beeswings, etc. and you can generally get better figure in veneer than you can in solid wood as the veneer logs are usually the first sold.

4) It’s actually more environmentally and economically friendly using exotic veneers as the wood goes further than it would as a solid lumber – check out the price of waterfall bubinga solids vs. veneer. Then figure the coverage – a 12” x 12” x 3/4” piece will cover 1 square foot. That same piece sliced into veneer 1/42” thick would cover about 31 sq. ft.

5) It’s more stable for some applications and its use can actually make pieces stronger. For instance, a veneered panel can be glued into a door frame making it one solid unit. In solid wood, the frame must rely on the cope and stick joint (one of the weakest) for its strength.

Granted, I’m still not convinced about the long term use of MDF, but it’s been around for over 40 so it does have a proven track record. However, in Craig’s project, I’d probably use Baltic Birch for the substrate in lieu of MDF if only for strength.

Both solid lumber and veneered substrates have their places but saying the use of veneered substrate in fine furniture cheapens it in some way is, in my opinion, dead wrong.

Why yes, I do veneer work – can you tell? :-)

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3864 days


#14 posted 09-22-2009 03:34 PM

Veneer can also be placed on top of solid wood.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View WibblyPig's profile

WibblyPig

168 posts in 2737 days


#15 posted 09-22-2009 03:56 PM

But then you’re into crossbanding under the veneer and the same “problems” with wood movement. But, that’s how they did it for hundreds of years. Of course, they also sawed the veneer by hand and smoothed boards with scrub planes so there’s something to be said for progress.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

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