Veneering: substrate <-> veneer size

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Forum topic by leftcoaster posted 09-15-2021 05:41 PM 309 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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440 posts in 2158 days

09-15-2021 05:41 PM

I have some quilted maple veneer and I’m trying to decide if I should use an over or undersized substrate. Obviously the substrate has to be big enough for its purpose but should I

1) cut the veneer larger than the substrate and plan to cut it off later


2) cut the substrate larger than the veneer and cut the whole panel to size later.

(1) is perilous as I have veneer to trim that is hanging in space and could crack. However any glue squeeze out is between the veneer and nowhere near the platens, so that’s good.

(2) is preferred because the veneer is fully attached to the substrate, which I can then trim on the table saw. But now the squeeze out will directly contact my plywood platens and I have a big problem.

7 replies so far

View splintergroup's profile


6013 posts in 2504 days

#1 posted 09-15-2021 09:48 PM

i prefer to have the substrate larger, keeping the squeeze out off the edges so squaring and trimming on the TS isn’t an issue with a hard glue blob riding against the fence.

I sometimes get it anyway and will just straighten the edge with the disc sander or double side tape a straight edge piece of masonite to the part if I need a taper (because the veneer rotated slightly).

For pressing, I typically will cover the veneer with a layer of paper towel to absorb any squeeze through (pores in the veneer) and help prevent a glue “spot” from forming on the veneer surface and soaking in. On top of the towel, I’ll lay a piece of waxed paper to keep the platens clear of glue (or make them from melamine with a heavy pastewax coating).

View Jeff Vicenzi's profile

Jeff Vicenzi

82 posts in 671 days

#2 posted 09-15-2021 09:55 PM

Either way works. I usually cut the veneer very close to correct size by placing the substrate on the veneer, and then cutting the veneer with a knife (#11 scalpel usually) using the substrate as a guide. Of course the substrate is sized a bit over the desired final size so it can be trimmed down to final size after glue up.

View shipwright's profile


8760 posts in 4079 days

#3 posted 09-16-2021 01:03 AM

You can do either but it’s actually the most fun when the substrate and the veneer are exactly the same size and you can’t trim either. :-)
Happens all the time in marquetry.
…… makes you feel alive. :-)

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

View CWWoodworking's profile


2283 posts in 1460 days

#4 posted 09-16-2021 01:12 AM

Doesn’t matter. I like veneer oversized, trim with router.

If you have more glue seeping out than you can trim with router, your using too much glue.

View Lazyman's profile


8193 posts in 2669 days

#5 posted 09-16-2021 01:15 AM

I’ve done it both ways. With the “cheap” thin veneer most places sell these days, it is kind of a pain IMO to have it overhand because it can be hard to trim it without chipping the edges. If you use hot hide glue, you can easily clean off any squeeze out with water and an abrasive pad.

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

View CWWoodworking's profile


2283 posts in 1460 days

#6 posted 09-16-2021 01:37 AM

Why do people find it hard to trim excess? Just curious.

We use downward spiral flush trim bits from whiteside. Never have issues.

View splintergroup's profile


6013 posts in 2504 days

#7 posted 09-16-2021 05:39 PM

Trimming excess has several issues for me. Many of my panels are for boxes which use 1/4” plywood, to thin for a flush trim bit, but that is an ideal method for thicker panels to avoid chipping on burls, etc.

The other problem is an occasional squeeze out drip which leaves a “bump” so I don’t get a nice guide edge for the TS fence or flush trim bit. Usually a chisel can take care of these if I let the glue dry before trying to remove them.

Either way, over/under sized, there is always a solution and in general each way involves pretty much the same amount of effort.

When ever I’m trimming to size with the TS, I’ll always put a strip of tape along the cut line. Does wonders to reduce or eliminate chipping.

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