Veneered Sofa Table #2: Pressing the Veneered Panels

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Blog entry by SPHinTampa posted 10-26-2011 05:15 PM 1878 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Getting prepared, wrecking tools Part 2 of Veneered Sofa Table series Part 3: Legs and the Mysterious Lock Miter »

Next step is to create two veneered panels for the top.

I believe that a single large, unbroken top would look a little better but I really like the material that I have on hand and I don’t trust my ability to get an invisible seam at the center. So I will feature a break rather than make a poor job of hiding it.

I do not have a large vacuum press system, so I will use cauls and clamps instead. I will use two 2’x4’ MDF sections to make a veneer sandwich.

I do not use MDF as a substrate, I have some left over maple plywood for that. First step is to apply a thin layer of glue using a roller to get an even coat.

I then assemble the sandwich – bottom caul, bottom MDF, wax paper (to keep glue squeeze out from sticking), plywood, veneer, wax paper, top MDF and top caul. I do not attempt to veneer both faces at the same time.

And clamp it.

And then add a few more clamps.

Unfortunately, the first attempt did not come as well as I hoped. I did not apply enough clamps so I got rippling in the finish. There are glue ridges that show up under a raking light.

Rather than clamp every 8-10”, I doubled the number of clamps.

Second attempt came out better.

So I went ahead and finished the second panel

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

3 comments so far

View RBWoodworker's profile


442 posts in 4026 days

#1 posted 10-26-2011 05:59 PM

if you lived closer..I could have probably taught you a thing or two about how to create a seamless joint between two’s not hard..takes a little patience is all..the key is a straightedge..clamping the two sheets together..slicing them both at the same time while clamped..then..sandwich them between two straight cauls..and with a block sander resting on a flat surface..lightly sand the freshly cut joint with the block sander..a few good strokes is all that’s needed with 220 paper on the block.. then bookmatch them..

a vacuum bag is a must if your going to do lot’s of veneering..otherwise those ridges you see will be a constant problem for larger panels..

and you want to veneer both sides at the same time or the piece will bow.. the glue shrinks, cupping the whole board unless you balance it by veneering both sides..

-- Randall Child

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 4359 days

#2 posted 10-26-2011 07:14 PM

Thank you for the additional insight on veneering. Your veneered projects look fantastic.

I think the next project to hone my veneer skills will be a box from one of the Andy Crawford books, since he offers some good techniques for veneering and smaller projects are less frustrating to redo.

As far as bowing is concerned, I have been pressing one side and then immediately flipping over and veneering the second side. This has worked so far but I am guessing that this may be luck based on your feedback.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View RBWoodworker's profile


442 posts in 4026 days

#3 posted 10-26-2011 09:58 PM

no..what you have done is long as you quickly veneer the other side it will balance out..if you were to leave it..and it sat for a day or two..that’s when it will start to warp..

I have veneered many small projects with success, but I also use the Urea Formaldehyde resin glue which glues to a very hard, crisp glueline..I mean if you chip a piece of the resin’s like chipping a piece of glass..with that being said..your veneer will not, cannot move, so I really like it for veneering

if you do a small panel..clamping with clamps and cauls works well..what I do is place a very heavy bucket or sandbags or anything heavy to distribute the weight evenly to get a nice flat surface.. you cannot beat a vacuum exerts 1700 semi pounds of atmospheric clamping pressure evenly..your panels cannot come out any flatter and more pressed.. search craigslist for the vacuum pump and bag..I see them often and that’s where I found mine..

feel free to PM me anytime if you need anything..

-- Randall Child

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