Single-Ply (Raw) Veneer. How-To. - diyAudio
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Old 28th March 2009, 10:44 PM   #1
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Default Single-Ply (Raw) Veneer. How-To.

Sorry if this is a redundant thread. But I've had to figure this one out over a few projects and now I'll share the fruits.



Single Ply (Raw) Veneer:

It will give you splinters, plain and simple. The best defense against this is to just steel yourself against it. Because I've found gloves don't work

It will split. So don't get mad when it does.

It has two sides. Make a note before you cut it up! One side of the veneer will look much different to the other once applied and glued. The easy way to keep track is to always apply it curl-down. The curl never changes.

It's absorbent. It'll soak up glue, oil, stain and paint. This is both a strength and a weakness.






Application:


Step One:

Make sure you have some good wood glue. Gorrilla glue, despite being highly recommended by the mustachioed gentleman at home depot, will not work. It increases in volume, not good for veneering. I like titebond red myself.

Make sure your surface is as flat as possible. Then wash it down with a mildly damp rag.

SOAK THE VENEER. You need to submerge it in water, I doubt temperature makes a difference but for the sake of disclosure I use cool water. Make sure not to go nuts and leave it in overnight or something, ten to fifteen minutes is what I do. This pre-soak makes the next step much easier because it renders the veneer flexible, keeping it from splitting and snapping apart in your hands.

Oh and make double-sure you have enough veneer, I've had to run back to the store more than once for more.


Step Two

Extract your veneer from the water. Give it like a minute or two to get a little less-wet (trust me). Then place a brick or otherwise heavy thing on one end, allowing you to unroll it, place another block on the other end. This stuff hates not being rolled.
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Now you need to mark out the shapes you need to cut. You can measure them out but I find placing the article to be veneered directly on the veneer to be a much safer bet. Use chalk or a soft pencil to mark your cuts.

Cut it using scissors. Resist the urge to use snips or a knife. Kitchen, Scissors, Only.

Wow now you've cut it all! Let it dry out so it'll stick to glue. (Usually an hour)

Step Three

Glue. This is the part that's hard to get right. Too much glue and no matter what you'll get waves and bumps. Too little and it won't stick/will have air blisters. I can't help you much because it depends heavily on how flat your surface is, what type of wood your veneer is, what shape/size you're doing. Just eyeball it.
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Another useful trick is to use a little paint roller to even out the glue. You must even the glue out or you will get seriously bad results.

Once your glue is applied you need to put the veneer on. Fighting the curl can be tough, put it down flat with your hands and then massage it into the glue until it more or less stays put, all the while making sure not to split or snap it. Then you need to put a very flat unwarped board over the veneer.

Secure with many clamps and heavy stuff.
Click the image to open in full size.
Leave this to sit for approximately one third of your wood glue's recommended curing time. Have a sandwich, I sometimes watch a movie piecemeal during the little hiatuses.

Step Four

Repeat step three until you can veneer on all the desired surfaces. Trip excess where absolutely necessary using those kitchen scissors we discussed earlier.
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Step Five

Sand the sucker to taste.

Okay now some fun.

Bust out your speaker-builder's excalibur, AKA your router an attach your round-over/chamfer/trim bit. I strongly suggest one of the former. A trim-bit (square) finish is kind of a pain in the bum. The process is the same, it's just more delicate and critical that one not screw-up.

Set the depth for your router, USE TEST PIECES. Remember this is going to trim your excess veneer and make pretty corners on your box in one fell swoop.
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If you feel i necessary apply painter's tape along all the edges that won't be disintegrated by the router in order to protect the finish from the bit-bearing and the router base.

Personally I feel the painter's tape a bit unnecessary, any scuffs can be addressed with sandpaper later. Remember this veneer is thick and can be sanded all over town.

Step Six

Done routing?
Click the image to open in full size.
Did it go okay?

You're basically done!

One last thing. If you already cut your driver holes et al you'll need to punch them through.

Here's how:

Take your utility knife and tap the veneer with it's butt until you're sure you've found the centre of desired orifice.

Now brain it with your knife's butt. Just smack on through it's okay trust me. Once through gently but forcibly expand the hole you pushed through still using the butt of the utility blade. Eventually you'll have folded all of the veneer down into the hole. Now slide out the sharp bit of your knife and carefully shave off the pushed-through veneer until you've got a nice clean hole. Then sand to be double sure.
Click the image to open in full size.

Now you're really done! All that's left is oil, stain, varnish, paint, lacquer or whatever you plan on doing next.
Click the image to open in full size.



Anyway that's how I do it.
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Old 29th March 2009, 12:44 AM   #2
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Interesting thread. Thanks for sharing. You do things differently than me. Which is cool. I use a vacuum bag. I decided a while back that if I was going to save the money using raw veneer, I ought to make it painless for myself.

FWIW, I would never soak veneer in water like that. But, hey if it works for you..

I'm with you on the titebond. Gorilla glue is not for veneer, ever. I use a 3" roller to even out the glue. It also helps to dictate the amount of glue that gets put on. I always leave routing the driver recesses till after the entire cabinet is veneered. I just like the way the edges come out, and it is less work in the end.

One thing is for sure, there is no edge detail like that acheived with raw veneer..

The vacuum bag allows me to seam veneer as well. The second photo shows book matching.

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Old 29th March 2009, 12:55 AM   #3
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I bow to the master.


--Madly googling Vacuum Bag Veneering--
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Old 29th March 2009, 03:19 AM   #4
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i have yet to try the vacuum bag.. that is on my list..

I do yellow wood glue.. apply to both cabinet and veneer.. let dry.. then with at a old t shirt on hot iron.. work from the center out.. the heat along with pressue will flash the glue making a rock hard ultra flat bond...

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Old 29th March 2009, 04:19 AM   #5
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Trusound. What method do you use for that lacquer finish?


BTW I would probably wine and dine those speakers they're so good looking.
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Old 29th March 2009, 06:25 AM   #6
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Wow.... just wow

One day, I'd like to be able to do that.

Cheers!
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Old 29th March 2009, 11:51 AM   #7
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I would caution using the iron on method with raw veneer. I know from experience. I thought I had mastered it. It fails every single time.

The heat extracts so much moisture cracks develop. Big long serious cracks. Maybe not at first. Some times they do develop right away. other times, I had speakers completely finished (airlees applied lacquer on top of vinyl sanding sealer) that were crack free. Then, four months down the road, cracks. Big ones. Vacuum bag or caul system veneering I have done has never failed yet. (it's been over two years)

Every one has their own opinion, but mine is to never, never iron on raw veneer. That's what forced me into a vacuum bag system.
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Old 29th March 2009, 12:52 PM   #8
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these have been finished for over a year.. I doubt if they will crack if they haven't already.. thanks for the heads up though..

how long did it take you to master the vacuum bag? and what is a good site to read on thechniques etc?

Quote:
Originally posted by s7horton
I would caution using the iron on method with raw veneer. I know from experience. I thought I had mastered it. It fails every single time.

The heat extracts so much moisture cracks develop. Big long serious cracks. Maybe not at first. Some times they do develop right away. other times, I had speakers completely finished (airlees applied lacquer on top of vinyl sanding sealer) that were crack free. Then, four months down the road, cracks. Big ones. Vacuum bag or caul system veneering I have done has never failed yet. (it's been over two years)

Every one has their own opinion, but mine is to never, never iron on raw veneer. That's what forced me into a vacuum bag system.
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Old 29th March 2009, 05:27 PM   #9
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I too would think they would be okay if they have been complete for a year. Just wanted to make sure that people less experienced were aware that your project was not necessarily the norm. And, I still recommend not going the iron on route with raw veneer.

joewoodworker.com is a good source for info on vacuum bag veneering. Also try the forum at vac-u-press. They some nice and expensive presses for all applications.
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Old 31st March 2009, 03:44 PM   #10
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I've had alot of success with a 22.2mill bubble free veneer from a place called http://www.oakwoodveneer.com/products.html It seems to be less work to use then when I used raw or paperbacked. I always worried about it releasing from my work when I stained it. The 22.2 mil stuff does not have that problem.
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