Advice Needed :)

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Forum topic by Kiersten posted 11-24-2010 07:04 PM 2942 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kiersten's profile


69 posts in 3679 days

11-24-2010 07:04 PM

Hi Lumberjocks!

I need your help! Big expansion plans are in the works for Mod Mom Furniture and those expansion plans include having a large Amish shop in Ohio to manufacture my furniture so I can keep up with the demand. It’s all going well but I’d love some input in regards to veneer appliques.

The veneer branch as shown on the Owyn Toy Box below is made from pressure sensitive veneer and is hand drawn and cut by yours truly and is applied to the front and top of the box to make the branch affect. See photo.

Here’s my question. I’m in the process of getting quotes from die-cutters to cut the veneer for me in volume. Mass orders are in my future so cutting 1000 of those by hand on my couch doesn’t sound like a good time to me. :) The quotes are a bit on the high side so I was wondering if maybe I’m approaching it the wrong way. Does anyone have an idea of how to get this same affect with wood veneer but maybe knows some sort of process other than die cutting that I’m not familiar with? I’ve also heard that with pressure sensitive veneer, the adhesive on the back gums up the die cut blade.

Also, how much more labor intensive would it be for my furniture manufacturer to apply the branch using the normal glue process that is used with veneer rather than pressure sensitive? I’ve never tried that route so I’m clueless.

Thanks in advance for your advice!! I’ve written about my expansion plans here if you’re interested. Keeping manufacturing in America!! :)


-- Kiersten, Los Angeles,

26 replies so far

View chewbuddy13's profile


150 posts in 3312 days

#1 posted 11-24-2010 07:55 PM

You could make templates of the branch profile using plywood. Then use a flush trim router bit to copy the profile onto the veneers. Using just regular veneer you could stack 20 or 30 pieces at a time and rout them all at once. I’m not sure how many you could do at a time with a die cutter.Just and idea off the top of my head.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10541 posts in 3455 days

#2 posted 11-24-2010 08:01 PM

Alternatives to die cutting may include laser cut or CNC. Have no idea of relative costs however, but two more avenues to explore.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 3108 days

#3 posted 11-24-2010 08:05 PM

I’m with Chewbuddy13. Since a router can now be part of the manufacturing process, using a template and a flush trim router bit seems the easiest and most cost effective way. As far as labor process for applying the veneer, if a vacuum press is used, it wouldn’t be too bad. Put it in the vacuum press and let it sit. It would just involve a little up front cost for the vacuum press if his shop doesn’t have one. I just did some small veneer panels and I don’t have a vacuum press so I just stacked some weights on them which may be an option too since the veneered parts aren’t large parts. If your demand is high or gets high, I would suggest looking into a vacuum press in the future. Hope that helps.

-- Matt -

View Kiersten's profile


69 posts in 3679 days

#4 posted 11-24-2010 08:09 PM

Thanks so much for responding so quickly!! All great ideas. I think one of the quotes I received was for laser cut and one uses some sort of cutter that includes water and it didn’t damage the adhesive but was still kinda expensive.

-- Kiersten, Los Angeles,

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2883 days

#5 posted 11-24-2010 08:14 PM

I’m with Chewbuddy.
Have you considered using a V bit on a Router?
In the box above it would still give the same effect, then you could apply stain by hand.
It would solve a lot of production headaches.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Arnold's profile


215 posts in 3589 days

#6 posted 11-24-2010 08:33 PM

Although a v bit would change how your original was made, In order to keep cost down this is a great alternative without sacrificing quality on a larger scale process. Sometimes taking a different approach works. When I tell people how much the hinges I use for boxes are, they run away. Just have to figure out what works for you and what you are willing to accept. Hopefull people post more idea that may may be even better.

View CampD's profile


1675 posts in 3513 days

#7 posted 11-24-2010 08:42 PM

Have you tried negotiating with them? Im sure you have, but just checking.
You buying material or are they? they will mark it up.
Tried a smaller shop? they be more hungry for your buisness and more willing to be flexable on price.
There’s a few on here who have lazer cutters, maybe they’ll be more flexable.
But, it still may be easier and cost effective for you to make a jig and templete and cut them yourself.

-- Doug...

View savannah505's profile


1813 posts in 3613 days

#8 posted 11-24-2010 08:48 PM

Hi Kiersten – I have been involved in quite a bit of cutting with laser, and water jet cutting, I can tell you that there would be drawbacks to both. You don’t want water to be anywhere around your veneer, it doesn’t take much to damage it or make it hard to use from all the buckling and warping that would go on. When using a water jet, the water must cut the material and then dissapate immediately into a body of water in the holding tank under the material. It has a lot of back splash to it, which would get on your veneer from at least underneath, not even talking of the cutting action itself on the edge of the veneer. I have watched the cutting of 1/8th in. plywood and cardboard on a laser, and always there is a scorching on the very edge, and that would be visible in a dark line,albeit not that wide (about 1/16th in. ) when the veneer is put together. Die cutting is very hard on brittle veneer, no matter how sharp the blade is, the sudden force and pressure used in die cutting, can and on certain woods, will damage the edges, especially at the end of the grain, or the cross grain cut. Routing on a template is probably the best way to go, but to stack multiples and get that to work for you, will probably require a template that is being pushed down on the stack either pneumatically or hydraulically to compress the stack, and make it as one solid piece. When gaps are present, the wood can then vibrate as the cutter is coming to it, and this can cause a higher probability of splintering. Much like when people cut or route veneer, and it’s brittle, an old trick is to cover that part that gets cut or routed with masking tape, which kind of locks the grain together not allowing it to shift and split so much. Back cutting the veneer with the router should help make a better, less cracking or splitting affect to your veneer. If anyone can dispel or give better advice, I’d love to hear it and learn more, I’m always up for that, but I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best of luck.

-- Dan Wiggins

View Arnold's profile


215 posts in 3589 days

#9 posted 11-24-2010 08:51 PM

Doesn’t laser burn the edge anyway, and water give inconsistent veneer?

View Arnold's profile


215 posts in 3589 days

#10 posted 11-24-2010 08:54 PM

Hey! How did that more informative post sneak in there. ;)

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 4353 days

#11 posted 11-25-2010 02:34 AM

Have you asked the Amish shop what their thoughts are? I wonder if they would have any ideas/suggestions.

and congratulations!

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3764 days

#12 posted 11-25-2010 03:19 AM

I would look at using a CNC machine. Stacks of veneer can be cut at one time. Cuts the cutting time down. It is forever repeatable once the drawings and configuratinos are done.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3703 days

#13 posted 11-25-2010 05:58 AM

You mght put a invitatin to quote thread on here. Lots of LJs are probably short on work in this economy.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Kiersten's profile


69 posts in 3679 days

#14 posted 11-25-2010 06:04 AM

Great idea about the quote thread! Lord knows we know about work shortage as my husband is out of work. I’ll figure out how to do that ASAP.

-- Kiersten, Los Angeles,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3703 days

#15 posted 11-25-2010 06:20 AM

Put him to work cutting them out on the couch!! :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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