Cutting your own veneers

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I cut veneers from time to time - usually to make a special bit of wood go further or to achieve some particular decorative effect. These tend to be quite thick (2mm or even thicker) and I don't aim to "compete" with commercial veneers of which I use quite a lot.

I really think cutting your own comes into its own for extending a nice bit of wood you have (especially good for a set of drawer fronts) or when you mess up a component but don't have enough of the right wood to make more in which case you can use a piece of ply or whatever and a veneer of the wood it should be made from.
Hi DW,

Like the others, I cut veneers to make a particular slab of wood go further. I also use it as a means of construction (making my own plywood).

I use a Jet 18". Probably more important than which bandsaw is the blade used and method of creating the veneers.

For general veneer slicing, I use WoodSlicer blades from the states (where I am). For my Jet 18" which uses 133" blades, they cost around $30 US. I use the 1/2" blade most (for veneer and general use) and occassionaly the 3/4" (for veneer only). I'm sure someone there can recommend good blades available locally. It is important that the blades leave as smooth a finish as possible.

For serious veneer cutting on exotics, I use a Swedish blade sold through Laguna Tools. It is rather expensive but gives outstanding results. It happens to be on the saw now, so I can check later as to what brand if you would like. By expensive, for a 133 inch blade which is what the Jet 18 uses, I think it was $180 US.

It helps to flatten the wood the veneers are cut from after each veneer piece is cut so you have one flat side on each piece of veneer. I usually take a few swipes of a handplane on the slab between each cut.

I've cut veneers as thin as 1/32" and use the drum sander to a finish thickness of 1/64". Usually I cut 1/8" and sand flat. Sometimes I'm cutting rather thick veneers so it can be shaped after flattening and gluing, about 1/4", sanded to 3/16" or a little less.

The better the bandsaw is setup, as good of blades as one can get/afford, the better the result is.
Thanks for all that in depth advice and knowledge re veneer cutting.

At the present time I use a mass brand bandsaw and have purchased high quality blades but have never succeeded in producing an offcut that could have been used as a veneer.

I thinking at the moment that if I have got to spend £1000 on a saw plus even another outlay on a sander it would most probably be more sense to purchase veneers.

However I will choose a suitable piece of timber and see what minimum thickness can be obtained
I've found the only way to get a consistent cut is to make a tall fence for your bandsaw. It makes it easier to keep the timber vertical. Give it a try before you consider part-ex'ing the Missus for a bigger bandsaw! :lol:
Philly :D
Hi DW,

Another thought before I go off to sleep.

Philly mentioned the tall fence already, so I would also add what you are probably already doing, but make sure your stock is jointed (or simply flat) on one face and on edge square to that face.

Flat face against the fence, squared edge down. Slow feed rate. If you have to push hard, there's something amiss.

Another thing. Practice on a relatively soft stock, scrap really. Maybe a 2" x 4" piece a foot long.

Questions. Does your blade do what's called "drift" during the cut? That is when you are pushing the wood into the blade and need to turn the wood to compensate for the blade drifting from straight?

If so, using some sort of marking gauge, mark a line down the top of the stock and try to cut to it. Make the line more towards the middle. Does the piece of wood need to be adjusted in order to continue cutting to the line?

Once the cut is finished, look at the cut surface. Is it dished in on one side and out on the other? That's called barreling.

Hope this helps.

Sorry I wasn't able to reply before you nodded off :wink:

The web went haywire again this morning and I got the old page unobtainable message etc.

So went shopping with the wife and kept my nose clean instead.

Hope you are getting the drift. (I'm an ex-Londoner)

My saw cuts straight and accurately OK but I get those saw marks you mentioned on the earlier post. Therefore preparing the surface for use would be a problem. I could perhaps veneer down on it good surface and then perhaps use a cleaning up operation on the rough face afterwards?

Thanks for you advice and experience on this subject.
Hi DW,

The saw marks left over are not a big deal. The depth of them is what you can use to determine how thick to initially cut the veneer.

So the deeper, the thicker to cut the veneer. That will give you enough thickness to avoid sanding through once it is applied to the substrate.

As was mentioned, after each cut, flatten the board the veneers are being cut from then you have one good side that can the the side glued down.

If you are new to veneering, there's a couple good books, of which I still thenk the best is Charles Hayward's Practical Veneering, long out of print. My local library has a copy, so a library might be a source for you. There's copies to be found at used book merchants, etc.

Anyway, just cut a few pieces off of scrap and glue them down to other scrap to see what works for you in the way of handling the wood after the veneer has been applied.

I can't wait to see what you're going to make. Maybe a box?

Take care,

Thanks Mike for your confidence boosting advice.

Yes I converting to box making. No room left for furniture in the home.

Won't be starting this week though, outside temperature 30c at the moment and forecast for the week.

You burning your wood dust over there? :roll:
The barrelling Mike refers to happens when the blade bows sideways in the cut which in turn happens when the stress on the blade exceeds its "beam strength" Your can reduce the problem by tensioning the blade further and/or reducing the feed rate. Probably 80% of people's difficulties with bandsawing are related to feeding the wood too fast. As with all powered sawing, try to maintain a constant feed rate as well
Yep, DW, I burn the sawdust/chips in an outside burn pile.

I keep scraps around in a barrel for a while. Actually, two barrels. Once they get moved into a second one, if they're around for a month or so I figure I won't really use them and we tie them in bundles with a heavy twine and put them on the firewood pile for use in the fireplace in the fall and winter.

Some scrap if they are good enough chunks, one of my sons or my wife grab them and hide them away for turning. As long as they're out of the shop, great!

On really nice figured scraps (that I have successfully hidden fromm the family :) ) I'll cut into veneer and bundle them for sale or later use. I just did that on some scraps over the weekend from a job I finished a year ago. Some really nice tiger-striped eucalyptus and some curly koa. I got 8-10 nice pieces from each little chunk, maybe 7" wide and 20-24" long.

Now, I don't know what I'm going to use those for, but they take up less room now, and more importantly, I don't have to worry about my son finding them anymore :roll:

Added a link to larger picture of the veneers, as well as the smaller image. This was the only koa I have ever worked. It's a great wood, but difficult for me to get now because the supply is limited (for the figured) and has gotten too expensive. I have a few other chunks that I'll probably cut into smaller veneers.

Mike's wood
Thanks, Chris. If I dig them out sometime I'll add a bunch of others to the wood photo album.

There's curly purpleheart and figured paduak, maple that is unbelievable, camphor burl (which I'm cutting some more of in the next week or two), some curly pear. The list goes on.

Mind you, I have probably sold off more than I've kept. But because nearly every piece I do has at least a "feature" board in it, the cut-offs get saved and the next time or two that I have the bandsaw set up for resawing I cut them, weight them down for a few days and then tape the edges and write what they are on them.

Like DW, I'll be using more of them for box making in the near future. I've decided to make a bunch of different boxes in August and September for this Christmas gift season. They sell well.

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