Question for you VENEER experts.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by cabinetmaster posted 05-14-2009 02:55 AM 1416 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3558 days

05-14-2009 02:55 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question veneering

I had a heated argument at work today with a co-worker. Jjust want some experts to give me their opinion.

We have a project to do that involves casing out and veneering 8 eyebrow windows. We are going to use flexcore to make the bends and then veneer the insides of the bends. I say we need to form the bends with the flexcore, bondo the backs to make them stable and then veneer the insides. After they have been veneered and stained and finished, we’ll take them to the jobsite and install.

Co-worker says to cut the flexcore and apply the veneer while it is laying flat, stain and finish it. Then bend and install it on site. Now I know what happens when you try to do this. I just want some other expert opinions.

Also these veneered panels will get a lot of heat from the windows. Will laminate glue be enough or what glue would anyone recommend for this veneer? I have seen veneer buckle and come loose when exposed to a lot of summer heat coming through windows.

Any and all comments will be appreciated.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

18 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3577 days

#1 posted 05-14-2009 03:23 AM

Hey Jerry
I have never herd of applying the veneer and finishing and then bending I guess it might work if your under 1/4 inch but that would not be structural.most the veneer arches I have done are solid wood laminations cut in thin strips clamped to a form let dry sanded and finished. I don’t see an advantage to using flex core but I guess we all use what works for us.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

794 posts in 3832 days

#2 posted 05-14-2009 03:41 AM

No chance you can apply the veneer flat and then bend it to any significant degree. Maybe a slight bow but that’s it. I’ve never had a veneered project that was both curved and in direct sun, but I don’t like the odds of it staying-put long term. If you could vacuum-bag it maybe.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3590 days

#3 posted 05-14-2009 03:54 AM

How do you intend on keeping the shape of the flexcore before veneering? I don’t think the bondo will accurately keep the shape you are after and it won’t be a true arch. I think you’ll have some flat points. Wouldn’t you make a form that you could press the flexcore and veneer to and allow it to dry.

So you would have your arch form, then the veneer, then glue, then the flexcore, then the vacuum bag (if you don’t have a vacuum bag you would use straps or the like). That would be the stacking arangement. (Sorry, for the poor explanation). The veneer glued to the flexcore would hold the shape of the arch.

I wouldn’t use paper backed veneer for a curve. The adhesive used for paper back veneers works as long as you do it perfectly, have glue even on both surfaces, it allowed to dry a certain length of time, and the veneer needs to be thoroughly rolled. I see bubbles in the future. Personally I would veneer both sides to keep the strength, but I guess it will be attached to the frame work.

As far as finishing I suppose it depends on what finish you use. If you are using lacquer or the like I’d be suprised if the finish didn’t crack when bent.

Anyhow, I’ve done these arches and it’s easier to do then to explain for me. So I may have made no sense at all and sounded like I don’t know what I’m talking about. So I apologize if I am no help. I hope the project turns out well for you.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3773 days

#4 posted 05-14-2009 03:58 AM

Jerry, The flexcore is ok but I would not bondo the backs. Do you have enough room to glue 1/4 bender board on the back of the flexcore? Or their is also a 1/4 bending mdf product we’ve used alot of, its kinda like the flexcore. This will make it keep its shape. We done this before with great results. I’d get them completely built and then do the finish work. Oh! I’d use tightbond coldpress, forget the laminate glue. You’d be asking for problems. Thats my two cents worth! Good luck with the co-worker!

One more thing,,,,,glue the veneer on with it flat, its much easier that way. Then bag it with the 1/4 bender on the back or the 1/4 mdf product.

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View Jay Neale III's profile

Jay Neale III

171 posts in 3334 days

#5 posted 05-14-2009 04:31 AM

Ummm… If you veneer it first, then try to bend it, won’t the veneer actually try to counter the bend? The whole point of a bent laminate is to let it dry in the shape you want and then it will hold that shape. I realize the veneer may be really thin, but wouldn’t it either keep the flexcore from bending properly or just buckle and pull away?

Or am I not reading this correctly? I’ve been on the road since 7:00 AM, so that could be the case.

-- Read my amazingly insightful blog at

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3988 days

#6 posted 05-14-2009 04:46 AM

I don’t know. Let us know what you end up doing.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3982 days

#7 posted 05-14-2009 04:53 AM

first of all … I’m not a veneer expert … so I’m just blabbing …

I would be afraid of splitting the veneer … alot would depend on how brittle it is … if it was fir or pine veneer it would probably work either way … if it was oak or wenge etc, gluing before bending might be a mess … try a one-rat-study

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

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1285 posts in 3736 days

#8 posted 05-14-2009 06:24 AM

You would only be veneering one side so should have no problems veneering it flat and then bending it. If I read you right, you intend to do the inside of the curve?

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4400 days

#9 posted 05-14-2009 06:52 AM

I’ve done veneer but never curved veneer. Lee Jesberger would be my expert that I’d refer to. He’s building an entertainment center that has curved ends and made pillars in an 800K remodel that were made with bender board and then venered. But Send him a PM.

-- 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 †

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3558 days

#10 posted 05-14-2009 12:16 PM

Thanks for all the comments. To answer a few questions: I made a reference to flexcore, it is the same as kerf core. Yes we are making a form to form the eyebrows, then will bend the kerfcore to it and apply bondo to the back to stiffen the ribs, then will apply another piece of 1/4” masonite or mdf to it for strength. Hope this answers the unknown.

As for veneering it flat and then bending, I’ve always had the veneer crack when done this way. And no we do not have a vacuum press or bags.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4087 days

#11 posted 05-14-2009 01:03 PM

If you have a form around (upon) which you are going to bend the flexcore why don’t you put the veneer on at the same time?
How is that different from bent laminations?
Your description is just like a lamination.


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

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3356 days

#12 posted 05-14-2009 01:45 PM

build,Bend,veneer,Finish. In that order. I had too many instances of veneer bubbling. I would NOT use contact cement in a window casing. I agree with les on this, Yellow coldpress glue. Contact will never hold up to the elemant of a window case. If you bend veneer after it’s set you’ll compromise the integrety of the strength between layers. You’ll be getting call backs and basically have to start over once some bubbling appears. I wouldn’t trust any other way. I seen flat surfaces bubble due to direct sunlight.

yellow glue should do the trick for you. Make sure you use enough.

Wood backer not paper. when using yellow glue.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3525 days

#13 posted 05-14-2009 03:07 PM

I have built a few curved beveled window frames, and I veneered them first using a vacuum bag and titebond 2. I Used 1/8” baltic birch ply and comercial 1/42 mahogany veneer, so there was no problem with the veneer cracking or bubbling, since it was applied to such a thin substrate. I ended up using 6 layers of 1/8” ply to make the frame so it ended up around 3/4 thick.

That said, I have built hundreds of skateboards, and if I had an order for a custom marquetry top or bottom, I always just layered the veneer on the first layer of 1/16 maple substrate in the vacuum bag, then put it in the press with the other layers to press to final shape.

I guess there are many ways to build a veneered curve, and I have had success using the method above.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4194 days

#14 posted 05-14-2009 03:53 PM

I don’t really have any info that will contribute to this discussion. I checked it out to learn from those guys that have experience here, and as I read the replies, I thought, THIS IS WHY I LOVE THIS SITE!

The level of expertise varies from schmucks like me to some VERY knowledgeable individuals. Yes, I come here to show off my little projects from time to time and comment when I feel it will contribute, (notice that I did not add anything about veneering, here), but I also come here to learn from those know the things that I don’t know so that I can become a better woodworker.

For that, I thank you guys (& gals). -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3773 days

#15 posted 05-15-2009 12:50 AM

All of the curved veneer work I’ve done the veneer was bagged to a flat surfaces on either 1/8 inch bending birch or 1/4 bending mdf. I’ve never had a problem with cracking or spliting of the veneer once. The zebra wood bow front vanity and my Granddaughters crib in my projects listings was done this way. I wood never do it any other way. I’ve been doing it this way for years.

Just a little more of my two cents worth.

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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