Homemade veneer flattening solution

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Review by RBWoodworker posted 11-09-2009 11:59 PM 22013 views 14 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I recently purchased a veneer pump, and got some veneer along with the deal.. but the veneer that I got, was rolled in a protective paper and left for who know’s how long.. it took the curve of the roll well and would not lay flat no matter what I did.. I put it between two platens and left it for 3 weeks and that did not do the trick…SO.. Lee Jesberger has this solution on his website and it consist of 1 gallon of water..8 oz. of pure glycerin which is available at CVS (I looked at rite aid, and several grocery stores..they do not have it..) and 8 oz. of Denatured alcohol,.. ( have a clean 5 gal. bucket and a good quality sprayer bottle and a funnel too). now.. the Glycerin bottles come in 6 oz. each so you need to buy 2 to follow this formuls but only use enough of the second bottle to complete the 8 needed. As for the Denatured Alcohol.. it calls for 8 oz. of that too..there’s 32 ounces in a quart of the small can of Denatured you can use a Pyrex measuring cup ( Clean it throughly as the Wife, Girlfriend will get upset if she see’s you using her cookware for chemicals…LOL..

Dump the gallon of water, the 8 oz. glycerin, and the 8 oz. of Alcohol into the bucket and stir it around to mix it up. Use the funnel to pour it into the spray bottle first..then use the gallon water bottle to pour the rest into.. label the spray bottle and used gallon water bottle “VENEER FLATTENING SOLUTION” DO NOT DRINK..
and store them with your hazardous chemicals..

To use this.. all you have to do is mist the veneer on both sides to get it all wet.. when it drips a little you know you have enough on.. mist BOTH sides.. have 2 platens ready and some absorbing sheet of paper..I used red rosin paper off a roll I bought from Lowes. If you have more than one piece of veneer to flatten..that’s ok.. lay the veneer between 2 pieces of Rosin paper..then another piece of veneer..then the paper.. so you will have the paper between each sheet of veneer to absorb the solution as it dries.. you must swap out this paper for dry paper ever few hours till the veneer is completely dry and keep them under the platens as they’re drying.. place the veneer and paper between the platens and weigh them down to keep them flat..

this cost me about around $22.00 to $25.00 max for over a gallon of this solution including the 5 gal bucket and sprayer and it has an infinite shelf life from what I hear..AND.. if you need to flatten some buckled veneer like Burl or one of those hard to flatten veneers, you can make it in on the same day you need it and not have to wait for delivery.

The results was a perfectly flat..pliable, and totally flexable piece of tiger maple works great!!

Thanks Lee.. AGAIN…

-- Randall Child

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7 comments so far

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#1 posted 11-10-2009 12:54 AM

I’ll have tp make me up a gallon or two of that stuff next time I’m veneering and need to flaten some. Thanks for the reminder as I had see this on Lee’s site and forgot it.

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

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#2 posted 11-10-2009 12:57 AM

Thanks Randy ,Do you take it with one olive or two LOL


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#3 posted 11-10-2009 06:15 PM

Thanks Lee that will come in handy with all the veneer Dustin gave me at the picnic.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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#4 posted 11-11-2009 07:18 AM

sorry to rain on tha parade but rockler sells the glycerin for about $10 or so and all u need is water regular tap water well this is what i used anyway cuz im cheap but the same miture process but nix the alcohol and it works the same i used it twice already and this way u only end up with a spray bottle of veneer softner also they sell cups for mixing chemicals i will still try just to see what the alcohol does but its good to see someone sharing info cuz i had to blog what to do so thanks alot seriously!

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

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10262 posts in 4841 days

#5 posted 11-11-2009 07:36 AM

That’s the way to do it alright. Here are a couple more formulas and directions that David Marks uses.

Basically the same thing except he adds a little glue to make sure that they stay flat until they are ready for use.

4 Units Water
2 Units Glue (Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue, Dap Brand)
2 Units Glycerin
1 Unit Denatured Alcohol

Glycerin: Available at any drugstore, makes the veneer more pliable.
Alcohol: aids in penetration and evaporates the water.
Glue: sizes the veneer, and helps to keep it flat until it is ready to be used.


4 Units Water
2 Units Glue (White or Yellow Aliphatic Resin Glue)
1 Unit Glycerin
1 Unit Denatured Alcohol


Stir until thoroughly mixed, brush solution onto veneers, soaking them completely on both sides. Next, stand them up and let them drip dry.

Then sandwich them with a layer of fiber glass screen on both sides and several pieces of newspaper on both sides, stacking one to ten veneers at a time. Then clamp up stack between 2 sheets of ¾ inch thick plywood and allow to dry for a day. On day two, remove the wet newspaper and replace with dry newspaper. After three days check again, replacing the newspaper.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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4057 posts in 4141 days

#6 posted 11-30-2009 02:49 AM

sorry i had to see what the alcohol does for the veneer and your so right it does something i found out from the same person who gave me the other solution that the alcohol helps the water evaporate im sorry for the miss leading info RBWoodworker was so right.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

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#7 posted 12-04-2009 03:10 PM

Another seldom seen use for this formula is in woodbending. Soak the piece to be bent in a water/glycerin solution for 1/2 hour to an hour before bending. I do heat bending without steam and regularly bend 1/2 inch maple to a quarter of a 12 inch radius without issue.

It should be mentioned that this solution doesn’t affect most wood finishes. I suppose there’s one out there that might be, but I haven’t seen it.

The formula with alcohol will help flat veneer take a curved set too. If you are veneering columns, rig a cylindrical form with the same paper sandwich used to flatten and pre-form the veneer. Makes that complicated glue-up much simpler.

-- Seth Hensel

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