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View George Seifert's profile

flattening curly figured veneer

by George Seifert
posted 01-28-2018 03:28 AM


11 replies so far

View wuddoc's profile

wuddoc

353 posts in 4251 days


#1 posted 01-28-2018 06:34 AM

We use Veneer Supplies softener and change the several layers of blank newsprint paper on both sides after the first 6 hours as recommended. Then again on both sides we change several layers of paper every two hours to pull as much moisture from the veneer. Flat panels of 3/4” Baltic are used with concrete blocks for weights on the top board to flatten the veneer. We have flattened all types of Burl with this procedure. One of our listed projects shows a walnut burl sign we did foe a state agencies lobby.

The blank newsprint paper we get from the local newspaper for free as there are still several feet left on each roll.

https://www.veneersupplies.com/products/Super-Soft-2-Veneer-Softener-Conditioner.html

and

http://www.joewoodworker.com/veneering/flattening.htm

Good luck

-- Wuddoc

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8397 posts in 3331 days


#2 posted 01-28-2018 02:23 PM

You can flatten any veneer in a couple of hours with just water if you use a hot caul. Just lightly spray the water on your veneer, place it between layers of paper, top with a very hot caul, and press. I use aluminium plates and heat them on mini bar-b-q’s or a hotplate.
Here is an article I wrote on it with pictures of the procedure. I’m demonstrating with carpathian elm burl.
http://woodworkingmonthly.com/issue-1-04-october-2016/flattening-wavy-veneer

BTW this is not new. The technique of flattening with hot cauls goes back centuries.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 1037 days


#3 posted 01-28-2018 02:53 PM

This is a dumb question, but I am guessing you want it flat so you can better/easier cut it into required shapes before you glue it up? If you are just going to veneer a whole piece on a board it will get flat when you glue and clamp it, correct?

View George Seifert's profile

George Seifert

18 posts in 816 days


#4 posted 01-28-2018 04:51 PM

I’m using this veneer for marquetry. I use 2mm thick veneers so if I want to use an exotic commercial veneer I have to attach it to a backer first (I use poplar as a backer board). I’ve tried gluing without flattening and it doesn’t take out all the ripples. I’m afraid to sand out the ripples because I figure I’ll sand through the high spots. I suspect that some veneers that just have large undulations might flatten out when gluing, but curly figure is very focused in small areas and is hard to flatten. So what I’d really like to know is if it is possible to get that type of veneer really flat or if I just have to live with some high spots.

George

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1123 days


#5 posted 01-28-2018 05:13 PM

Paul (shipwright) is The Man when it comes to veneer. However, if the hot caul method isn’t practical for you, here is a recipe from an episode (season 6, episode 9) of Woodworks by Dave Marks.

4 parts water
2 parts glycerin
1 part alcohol
2 parts plastic resin glue

In the video, he mixes the formula and uses a paint brush to saturate the veneer. He then uses a 3/4” caul, two sheets of craft paper and a piece of fiberglass window screen, followed by the veneer, then screen, paper and top caul before clamping. He says that the screen prevents the veneer from sticking to the paper.

Disclaimer: I haven’t had occasion to use the formula personally, but Dave is a master woodworker and expert on veneering, which is why I wrote it down.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8397 posts in 3331 days


#6 posted 01-28-2018 07:44 PM

George, I commend you for using thick veneer for your marquetry, I use 1.5mm for my best pieces myself.
I assure you that the hot cauls will work on thick veneers. I teach French marquetry on Vancouver Island and I flatten my thick exotics very well with this method. It is described in Pierre Ramond’s book “Marquetry” which is the authority on classic French Marquetry.
Backers however don’t prevent sand through which is one of the big advantages of thick veneer for marquetry. If you are serious about using thick veneers but can’t find exotics, I recommend Les Fils de J George in Paris. Visit if you are in France by all means but they will do mail order. Not inexpensive but this is superb sawn veneer in many exotic species.
Check out the veneers I bought there here: http://lumberjocks.com/shipwright/blog/series/6836

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View George Seifert's profile

George Seifert

18 posts in 816 days


#7 posted 01-29-2018 12:10 AM

Paul,

That is some beautiful wood. I noticed they don’t have prices on that website. I guess if you have to ask you can’t afford it. Probably not really in my budget. I do realize the problem with sanding through my built up veneer, but so far it hasn’t been a problem. Mostly I try to use veneers I saw myself. Fortunately Edensaw here in town has some nice woods.

Unfortunately a press with hot cauls won’t really work for me. My shop is too crowded as is. Thomas Schrunk (veneer master extraordinaire) who I took a class from when I live in Minnesota uses an iron and covers up the piece as he’s ironing it. It hasn’t quite worked for me. At least not for fiddleback figured veneer.

BTW, Robert Fontana told me about your work a few weeks back. Very impressive. I live in Port Townsend so if you ever make it down this way please let me know.

George

View George Seifert's profile

George Seifert

18 posts in 816 days


#8 posted 01-29-2018 12:13 AM

Rich,

Thanks for the formula. Seems like the formulas for veneer softener are pretty varied. Ken Horner of the the American Marquetry Society thinks that all that is needed is glycerin and water (1 tablespoon glycerin and 2 cups water). I’m an electrical engineer so I’ll have to take a chemist’s word for it.

George

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8397 posts in 3331 days


#9 posted 01-29-2018 04:11 AM

The prices vary but you can count on (landed here) about 10 X what sliced 1/42” veneer costs here. However this is 1.5 mm sawn and infinitely superior in many ways to sliced. Also many of the species, although they don’t have the variety they once did, are unheard of in “commercial veneer”.

I have lots of sailing friends in PT so you never know. Also if you are ever heading to the Island drop me a PM.

You really don’t need room to flatten with hot cauls. I did it for several years in a marquetry shop that was 6’ square. It got more cluttered later but this is how big it was. Chevalet, bench, marquetry shelves, storage room, and press. The cauls were heated on a hot plate.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View George Seifert's profile

George Seifert

18 posts in 816 days


#10 posted 01-29-2018 05:35 PM

Well, I guess I have no excuses now. 6’ square is certainly smaller than my shop. Although my shop has a few more tools in it than your old shop.

George

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8397 posts in 3331 days


#11 posted 01-29-2018 07:48 PM

Trust me it cluttered up pretty well after that photo! :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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