Veneering question for your consideration.

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Forum topic by Douglas Bordner posted 07-18-2009 06:28 PM 1561 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Douglas Bordner

4035 posts in 4305 days

07-18-2009 06:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question veneering

I understand the advisability of always skinning both faces of a substrate while veneering, but in your opinion or experience, would it be necessary to do this when veneering a very small floating panel used as a box bottom (less than 12×12˝) which will be captured in a plough/groove in the finished assembly? I will be using Baltic birch 1/8 or 1/4˝ sheet goods as the substrate. Seems to me with the grain running in both ways on the ply and all that glue — plus the small surface area and the capture, a fellow might be able to get by. Any thoughts?

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

21 replies so far

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Bob #2

3810 posts in 4262 days

#1 posted 07-18-2009 06:38 PM

Not necessary with good plywood and you are using a top quality product.
Doug if you pull open a high end dresser you will find it in abundance and not sandwiched either.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3799 days

#2 posted 07-18-2009 06:43 PM

Doug, When we get veneered panels in for a project, the backs are never veneered unless they are panels for a door and seen from both sides. I don’t understand the reasoning behind doing both sides but I have seen it recommended.

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

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Douglas Bordner

4035 posts in 4305 days

#3 posted 07-18-2009 07:01 PM

CM –
I always thought one ran the risks of potato chipping (introducing both cup and twist) the panel, specifically with a wood core unless the faces were balanced in terms of ability interact with relative humidity. I just wanted to make sure as I plan to use a small marquetry piece on the inside face and didn’t want to Bordnerize it after doing all the work with the marquetry.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4459 days

#4 posted 07-18-2009 07:10 PM

I’m going top go the other way, Doug, even though I’m quite sure Bob and CM have more experience than me, so take it for what it’s worth. :-)

If you were talking about 1/2” or 3/4” ply, I’d say not to sweat it. But because you’re dealing with pretty thin stuff, my instinct says if you veneer one side it’s going to potato chip before the glue is cured. I could be wrong… as I said, this is just instinct.

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

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Myron Wooley

226 posts in 4137 days

#5 posted 07-18-2009 07:13 PM

I would not think it necessary to add another layer of veneer to the back. Baltic birch is strong and stable. If you were using MDF or a glued-up panel then I would say yes, but not here.

You can always do a test piece first.

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3831 days

#6 posted 07-18-2009 10:18 PM

It’s necessary especially if you take the piece out of the clamps or press before ALL the moisture is gone. The glue puts moisture into the substrate. Keeping your material flat until the moisture gets back to normal may eleviate the need for veneering both sides. I agree with Myron about doing a test piece. I’ve veneered 1/4” substrates and have had them taco like Charlie mentioned. But I let the glue cure for an hour and then pulled it from the clamps. I think there was still to much moisture in the piece and I pulled it to early. Maybe allowing it to dry overnight may help. Personally, you veneer both sides at the same time, so other then material what are you losing if you play it safe and do it the recommended way?

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18428 posts in 3917 days

#7 posted 07-19-2009 12:30 AM

Why not try a test piece to see what hapens?

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

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 4080 days

#8 posted 07-19-2009 01:00 AM

If it’s important, do both sides, if noone will ever see it, and the groove is tight, skip it. Every panel I have done just one side of, no matter what the substrate, warps.

-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3978 days

#9 posted 07-19-2009 01:06 AM

I always veneer both sides. It is necessary in order to keep the material from warping. Tremendous force is put upon the material when veneering one side. It will always cup. I have been veneering for quite a few years. This has been the normal procedure for centuries.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3995 days

#10 posted 07-19-2009 02:01 AM

I have faced glued a piece of 1/4 Red Oak ply to 1/2” ply to make the back for a cabinet. It was a cold glue lamination with Carpenters Glue with 1/2” sheet was placed on the garage floor (with a old plastic table cloth on the floor) and the 1/4” on top of it. I then placed allot of weight on top of the glue up and let it dry for a day or so. Cut it to size and it came out perfect!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View a1Jim's profile


117420 posts in 3818 days

#11 posted 07-19-2009 05:23 AM

I say yes both sides ,It’s not a big deal on something that size but you need to equalize the moisture on both sides.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3508 days

#12 posted 07-19-2009 05:38 AM

how come they only do one side of laminate kitchen counter tops yet those last years without warping?

View Karson's profile


35154 posts in 4641 days

#13 posted 07-19-2009 06:24 AM

I’ve goy some examples of plywood panels that only have veneer on one side. They are bowed like a banana.

I’m recomend doing both sides. I know that it’s encased into the sides, but I still do it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3831 days

#14 posted 07-19-2009 08:17 AM

Mike, you can get away with that on kitchen countertops because #1 it’s laminate and doesn’t react to the cement #2 it’s contact cement not wood glue so there is no moisture problems. #3 it’s on particle board which is typically a stable substrate. I’ve seen plenty of warped countertops btw. They just get fastend to the cabinet, which straightens them out typically.
You can get away with paperback veneer and contact cement if one side is all you want to do. You won’t even need to wait for the glue to dry. Just put the cement on the substrate and the veneer, wait the amount of time the directions require, then stick them together. Probably about 15 minutes and you’re done.
I’m not quite sure I understand the desire to only do one side. You could use a cheaper veneer on the back side, so long as it’s the same thickness as the front.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4307 days

#15 posted 07-19-2009 08:34 AM

And there you have it – I’d do both sides.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

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