Box making Curved Front Box #9: Veneer Flattening Process

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Blog entry by robscastle posted 11-16-2013 04:49 AM 2047 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Veneer run No 1 Part 9 of Box making Curved Front Box series Part 10: The second veneer run and trim work commences »

I have a couple of methods available to flatten veneer.
One is a hydraulic ram from a Auto Body repair kit,
the other is my purpose made mechanical screw Veneer press.

The Ram works on the material set up on the concrete floor of the garage and uses the floor bearer above.

The mechanical press is simply a couple of laminated Particle board kitchen bench off cuts about 400mm x 400mm with twelve bolts around the outside.

I had all the veneer for the box in the mechanical clamp overnight to soften and flatten it.

This morning I opened it up to check on the progress.

Well it was not ready but I noticed my chalk marking had disappeared so I had to take everything out to remark.

Well I found a couple of surprises when I laid everything out.

1 There was about 12mm of width expansion and,
2 The features of the veneer were much more enhanced with the addition some moisture.

Here is a shot of the set with the adjoining strips together to verify the alignment.

I remarked them all again in the waste areas with a black marker.

Here is a shot again of them all together and the templates sitting next to each piece.

Then the amount of expansion.

That’s quite a lot, about 12 mm in 200 mm

It will be interesting to see how much shrinkage occurs when it normalises again.

-- Regards Rob

3 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8716 posts in 3882 days

#1 posted 11-16-2013 05:17 AM

It should come pretty much right back Rob. Unless the glycerin prevents it in some way. I only use water and heated cauls to flatten so I can’t say for sure.
I had a real adventure with this kind of movement on my “Facets” project. It is documented here.
Yours isn’t marquetry so shape isn’t as big a thing. You should be good as long as it dries to ambient humidity.

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

View robscastle's profile


7878 posts in 3288 days

#2 posted 11-16-2013 06:56 AM

Wow that’s some impressive change, I must go and take a look at all the parts its something I have a real interest in.

I should look up why the glycerin is in the mix for as its only 10% and apart from making the concrete slippery.

Plus its criminal that WW shops charge 28 bucks for 500mL !!

Thanks for the tip

-- Regards Rob

View tomd's profile


2222 posts in 4854 days

#3 posted 11-17-2013 07:20 AM

Glycerin is a softener, you can mix your own softener for a lot less. The mix I use is 4 cups water, 1 cup glycerin, 1 cup PVC glue, 1 cup denatured alcohol. Your veneer will return to size when it dries and will be much easier to work with.

-- Tom D

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