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View exotics's profile

Make my own cocobolo "veneer"

by exotics
posted 09-06-2018 10:48 PM


15 replies so far

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2241 posts in 3033 days


#1 posted 09-06-2018 11:01 PM

I know almost nothing about this – and have no experience with it except doing a little resawing on my bandsaw.

From what I have heard from Shipwright (look him up on LJ), thinner veneer might give better results than thicker, since all wood tries to move and if you are applying veneer over plywood, thick veneer is more likely to pull loose from the substrate, while thin veneer will be forced to keep the same size as the plywood underneath. In other words, the sheer strength of the glue is the same whether your apply thick or thin veneer, but the forces applied by the veneer trying to move (due to humidity changes) will be linearly related to the thickness.

So, 1/16th might be the thickest you need – or even thinner.

I think standard veneer is 25/1000 of an inch .. that is 1/40th.

-Paul

View wuddoc's profile

wuddoc

348 posts in 4113 days


#2 posted 09-07-2018 01:02 AM

Raw lumber veneer in the past was defined as 1/4” in thickness or less. In the USA* veneer is usually 1/28” to 1/100”. The species and section where the veneer was located ie. crotch, burl, stump or how it was cut also determines the thickness of raw lumber veneer. This is different from very thin European or Asian veneer which has a adhered backing.

If you glue in the same direction of the plywood’s face veneer you may have problems. Cross banding first with an economical veneer will help. The website by Joe Woodworker has proved useful to others and may help you.

https://www.joewoodworker.com/veneering/frequently-asked-questions.htm

  • Furniture Facts 27th edition

-- Wuddoc

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#3 posted 09-07-2018 02:13 AM

No expert either but….

Cocobolo is really dense hard stuff. If it tries to move (cup or bow) it will try and take the substrate with it and might seperate. So, I would either use thinner veneer, which saves you $ (1/16th or thinner depending on the ability of your bandsaw) or joint, mill and plane the 1×3’s down to 3/4” (which could get expensive).

Also, cocobolo is said to be toxic so wear a mask and gloves when cutting it.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3432 posts in 1782 days


#4 posted 09-07-2018 04:42 AM

You didn’t mention how you plan to cut your veneer: band saw, table saw, by hand.? Unless you have really high end bandsaw blade I probably would not try to saw the veneer myself. You’ll end up turning most of your expensive exotic wood to saw dust. 1/16th” is sort of the premium thickness and is available online at a few vendors but most veneer you can buy these days is paper thin. If you want to give sawing your own veneer a try, start with some smaller projects just to get the hang of it. The thin veneer will still work fine too but the clear gorilla glue is the wrong adhesive. If you really want to do veneer, I highly recommend looking at hot hide glue. I did this mirror project entirely with HHG, a process known as hammer veneering, and it is probably the most forgiving approach. Go read Shipwright’s blogs on HHG and hammer veneering. He’s got some great tips, especially about the equipment needed to get started. When I was researching the process, I also found some good YouTube videos about hammer veneering that demonstrated the process.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2280 posts in 2193 days


#5 posted 09-07-2018 05:10 AM

The whole project sounds like a pipe dream to me. But then I don’t like Cocobolo. Nasty wood

-- Aj

View Rich's profile

Rich

4493 posts in 984 days


#6 posted 09-07-2018 05:17 AM


The whole project sounds like a pipe dream to me. But then I don’t like Cocobolo. Nasty wood

- Aj2

Nasty stuff indeed. I might add that if you’re learning, do it with a less expensive wood. You can build some nice projects with alder, cherry or any number of cheaper woods.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

2876 posts in 969 days


#7 posted 09-07-2018 06:08 AM

Rich makes a very valid point here. When you are learning, or even advanced and doing a prototype on something you’ve not done before, smart money is on using a cheaper wood to experiment.

Early on I had no choice due to budget, and then this guy on TV said he was doing the same thing with virtually all of his builds. I think his name was Norm something.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#8 posted 09-07-2018 08:08 AM

+1

I would absolutely make a prototype first or your first attempt will most likely become your first prototype.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1319 posts in 2347 days


#9 posted 09-07-2018 01:13 PM

Aj brings up a good point. Cocobolo is notorious for causing contact dermatitis. See the entry in the Wood Database where it garners the highest potency rating.

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/wood-allergies-and-toxicity/

You should wear a good quality dust mask when you cut your veneer and be careful to clean up afterwards.

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

515 posts in 2126 days


#10 posted 09-07-2018 02:44 PM

Very good advice—practice with the cheaper wood. I use framing lumber (2×10’s with as few knots as possible).

As far as glue goes I would suggest polyurethane glue for the exotic woods.

Your veneer should be thin—I would think no more than 1/8”. A bandsaw and a drum sander would be very helpful.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#11 posted 09-07-2018 04:40 PM

Cutting cocobolo. Mask, gloves and goggles. Should probably have on long sleeves too. Garage doors wide open, air filter on high, fans on full, dust collection at the saw, vacuum all around when done etc. Never really thought of using it for veneer. My friend bookmatches it and makes solid body guitars and basses out of it. But now I’m curious. I have a couple of 1/2” slices and will try and cut a couple of thin slices just to see how it acts on a plywood substrate with some hide glue. Could be really pretty with some kind of edging. Don’t know how to finish it.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View newwoodbutcher's profile

newwoodbutcher

794 posts in 3245 days


#12 posted 09-07-2018 08:29 PM

I have made several projects with shop sawn veneers over the years, I Usually about 1/8” thick. Never have used plywood as a substrate I always use MDF. For raised panels, I use 1/2” MDF with a mitered and glued hardwood frame around the panel before I glue on the veneer. As far as I know all the panels are still in use with no movement issues.

-- Ken

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#13 posted 09-07-2018 10:48 PM



I have made several projects with shop sawn veneers over the years, I Usually about 1/8” thick. Never have used plywood as a substrate I always use MDF. For raised panels, I use 1/2” MDF with a mitered and glued hardwood frame around the panel before I glue on the veneer. As far as I know all the panels are still in use with no movement issues.

- newwoodbutcher

Actually I have never used plywood either. I just don’t happen to have any 1/2” or 3/4” MDF laying around. I’ve never put the edge frame on before the veneer. Might have to try that. I’ve always set the veneer then added the frame so it’s flush.

For the OP, I still think that for cocobolo you want it as thin as is practicable. Maybe even use a steam iron during the glue up. (AFTER you test the technique on cheap wood)

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View exotics's profile

exotics

2 posts in 292 days


#14 posted 09-08-2018 05:10 PM

Thanks for all the advice! My main concern was how to make sure the veneer slats would stay glued down, never realized the real problem was this thicker veneer’s interaction with the plywood substrate. I realized when I thought of this project it was way above my current abilities but I like to roll things around in my head for awhile to think of the different ways I can accomplish the task. Sounds like I’ll have to take a simpler approach and use the exotics as an accent. I’m a painter by profession so staining common woods just won’t do it for me, I’m looking for WOW. This is my latest project, simple night stand for my daughter. She loves pink and orange so the frame will be made from solid paduak.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#15 posted 09-08-2018 05:29 PM

Don’t think your idea is beyond your abilities. Go for it!

Make sure you wipe the padauk down well with DNA and mask the edges as the padauk will bleed red onto your other wood when you apply finish. Remember that the padauk won’t stay red and will darken rather quickly.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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