Lumber & Wood Videos

Cold Press or Vacuum Press Wood Veneering

The next step after understand HOW veneering works, is to try it, and in this video, that's what we have done. To show a bit more about what veneering is all about we actually too three bookmatched sheets of veneers and attached them with veneering tape. The process is quite simple, but being able to watch a video of it being done is much easier than try to explain it.

After attaching the sheets and preparing a back sheet as well (all veneering works best when veneering is done on BOTH sides of the substrate). The next step is simple, coat ALL sides to be glues together with a coating of veneer glue. All glues have what is called an Open Time, which simply means how long the glue can be exposed to air before it starts to dry out. With veneering glue the open time (depending on brand) is normally around 15 - 20 minutes, unless you are working in a dry, hot environment, then it is substantially reduced. All this means is that when you are working with glues, you need work steady, with no lag times.

Once one side of the substrate is covered with glue and the matching veneer as well, they are simply bonded together and it is best now to roll the veneer to make sure no air bubbles are showing.

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An Introduction to Veneering

Veneering in woodworking is not new, it has been around in one form or another for centuries. It has been practiced by woodworkers in many different parts of the world, often as smaller pieces, for inlays, accents and other features. Today, we have an amazing breadth of wood species to choose from, from almost any exotic hardwood you can imagine, to figure woods and burls that are spectacular. With all the varieties and figured wood veneers that are available now, anyone who wants to take the time to learn veneering can turn out wood projects that are truly works of art.

There are basically three kinds of veneering, the oldest form and the one we are going to spend the most time on here, is called cold veneering, where veneer strips are glued to a substrate or base. Also becoming quite popular are is veneering where a glue has been applied to the back of the veneer and it can be attached to the substrate by simply by peeling off a plastic or waxy backing and then sticking the veneer on to the substrate. This is called Pressure Veneering and only requires a type of blade or edge to smooth the veneer out over the substrate and is ideal for smaller projects. The third kind of veneering is done by using a veneer with a heat activated glue pre-applied to the back of the veneer, and is called Heat Activated Veneering. In this case the veneer is laid on the substrate material and something a simple as a household iron is used to attach the veneer to the substrate.

All of these methods of veneering work well, not all of them in the same situations, and that is why there are different kinds ... because some work better in one instance while another works better somewhere else. Any of the pre-applied glue veneers are more costly than raw veneers and the choices of veneers is far less with the pre-applied glue types. For larger veneering projects and where ongoing veneering is the norm, the cold veneering with raw veneers is easily the most effective and preferred method. Other types are normally more suited for smaller projects.

Read more: An Introduction to Veneering

Finding Figured Woods

spaltingWoodworkers are always looking for wood that has "figure" or some other anomaly that makes it distinctive. Figured wood is relatively hard to find, as is most wood with some sort of distinction. When it comes to wood that look different there are a few different things to look for and it depends on what you want to do with the wood when you are looking. Wood turners are very often making smaller pieces like bowls, urns, pens and other smaller projects so finding distinctive wood for a turner is very important. Luthiers are probably the highest on the level of looking for distinctive woods because they are always looking for some sort of figured wood for making musical instruments. Wood artists who make smaller projects are also often looking for wood that is different so there is a big call for these kinds of woods.

Very often it is possible to find some of these woods, particularly if you don't need a large volume of it, in something a close as a wood pile. When trees are cut down for firewood, from time to time there are parts of the the tree that are hard to cut with a chain saw, or hard to split with an axe. These pieces or often cast aside, and these are often the pieces that can provide some sort of figure, unique grain structure or even spalting.

Distinctive woods come in a variety of ways, they can be something a simple as "crotch wood", a term used to describe the way wood grows around the joint of a branch and where it joins the main part of a tree, to something more elaborate as a spalting, which happens when wood gets wet for long periods and fungus grows throughout the wood changing the color patterning within the wood.

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Breaking Down or "Dressing" Rough Lumber

marks_1aThe most economical way to purchase lumber is to buy green, rough cut lumber. Of course the disadvantage is that you have to dry it yourself, which takes time (yes this can take up to 3 or 4 years with some hardwoods), and then in order to make it useable, you need to break it down or "dress"; the lumber (at least in most cases) which simply means making it useable for woodworking projects.

The problem with this process is that frequently your wood will warp and bend as it dries, which is normal. Some wood will bend and move slightly while other pieces will bend wildly out of shape. Most lumber as it dries will bend and move in more than one plane creating what is termed a "propeller" shape.

Dressing this lumber down can be a real hazard if you are not careful because of the the way the wood is warped, and especiallt if you are working with 8 or 9 quarter inch thick boards ( 2" - 2 1/2"). thinner lumber such as 4 quarter (one inch thick) is less a bit easier to work with but BOTH can be a hazard, and here'w why ....

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