Quad matched veneer table top

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Forum topic by William Shelley posted 01-04-2017 11:22 PM 543 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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William Shelley

608 posts in 1706 days

01-04-2017 11:22 PM

Hey all,

Getting around to planning a few practical projects and one thing I’d like to do is build a new and more exciting coffee table to replace the boring one that I made a long time ago.

I have a sizable stack of various pieces of figured veneer, but mostly rectangularly shaped rather than long and skinny. I was therefore considering a quad-match layup pattern with four 12” x 22” pieces of Camphor burl veneer, to use as a top for a coffee table.

Here’s my question: Is it tacky or amateurish to use two strips of solid wood to form a cross or plus between the four quad matched veneer sheets, to deal with the almost certainty that I won’t be able to get the seams nice and tight? Most of my veneer is raw/unbacked, and most is pretty wavy.

The rough plan would be to glue down the four pieces as close to straight as possible onto a slightly oversized sheet of 3/4” BB or ApplePly, then cut a dado down the center and another across the center. I’d then glue strips of some solid wood in the dados, plane/scrape/sand it all flush. The quad matched sheets would not touch because they’d be separated by a “border” if you will. The overall size of the table would then end up being about 26” x 46”

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

2 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile


2703 posts in 1624 days

#1 posted 01-04-2017 11:44 PM

How thick is your veneer and what kind of glue are you planning to use to attach the veneer?. Are the edges straight and inside corners square? On a recent project, I used hot hide glue to hammer the veneer to the surface. It was nice because you can move the veneer around to get it perfectly aligned and if it doesn’t work out, you can “unglue” it with a little heat and moisture.

Personally, I think that you may lose some of the affect of the matched veneer if you have a strip between the pieces. If you put the veneer down before you rout the grooves, you are going risk chip out which might completely ruin the top. Also, unless your veneer is fairly thick it may be challenging to set the strips at the right height and fine tune them later. If the veneer is really thin, as much of it is these days, you don’t have much leeway for sanding without risking sanding through the veneer.

Finally, if you have never worked with burl veneer before it can be pretty tricky to work with regardless so practice with some scraps if you can might be a good idea.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View shipwright's profile


8185 posts in 3034 days

#2 posted 01-05-2017 01:07 AM

Check out this blog that I did a couple of years ago when I built a couple of tables with four way matched walnut burl.
The process is described and I am available o give you any help I can by PM.
The process I a little better described here.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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