Veneered box WIP - picture heavy.

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bjm

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OK folks, as promised here is how this box was made.
For those with a very short attention span, look away now!!!

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I'm going to skip over the making of the box-maybe something for another WIP.

EDIT - the box is ~ 320mm long, 190mm wide and 130mm high.
For this box I used 18mm birch ply. As can be seenin the picture below it has an internal lining between the base and lid. I like to put a lining on to edge the fabric and, as this is a lift-off lid it locates the top.

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The edges of the box have a wood string attached and the mating surfaces of the base and lid are lipped with mitred edges.

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Now we are ready for veneering.

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First things first - the hi-tech design - fully rendered!!;

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OK, let's apply some veneer. Start with the lid central strip.

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A piece of MDF is used inside the lid, to clamp to, and using a caul the veneer is glued down.

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Once the first piece is glued down, trim ends and glue in oversize holly lines, When dry adjust cutting gauge and trim holly lines to desired width.

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All veneers that are glued down are cut from the edge using a purpose-made cutting gauge. The cutting blade is ground from a used jigsaw blade. I use a technique I saw a leather worker use to harden and temper the cutting blades he'd made: heat the tip to cherry red and plunge into a block of (bees)wax.

The picture shows the flat back of the blade but the other side is bevelled and sharpened.

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Slightly out of sequence, this is how I trim the glued-down veneers.

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It is important to plan the sequence you lay the veneer. The cutting gauge will produce a clean edge but always do a first trim to remove the excess veneer followed by a final trim whereby only a thin sliver is removed. Veneers that are abutted to a glued-down veneer have their edges cleaned up on a veneer-shooting-board (sanded).

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Sand edges of adjoining veneers and glue in place. Continue around box sides. Where the veneer meets an edge (eg, between lid and base) allow a slight overhang (1mm or less) which will be sanded flush once the glue has dried.

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Here the veneer is cut around the lid handle.

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When the central veneering is done use the cutting gauge to trim both sides.

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Apply holly lines.

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When glue dried adjust cutting gauge and trim to width.

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Next, cut and aapply the central veneer - walnut one side and cherry the other.

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The attentive among you will now realise the problem you now face with using the cutting gauge?

There are two problems here; the cutting gauge becomes unwieldy beond a certain 'reach' and the cut edge can become erratic. Also, because of the veneer on the end, there is now a 'step' to ride against!

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Here I use a simple straight-edged board with a strip of 240 grit glued on to provide friction. I use an adjstable square to 'set' the board in pace and use a Japanese marking knife (which is the same shape as the cutting blade on the gauge) to trim the veneer.

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Repeat the process to add more holly lines.

Now you are left with the corners. A simpe paper template is cut and, as there are two corners for each veneer I cut them from sequential veneers and bookmatch opposite corners.

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Then it is just a matter of applying the corner veneers, one by one!!!

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One side done...

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Last piece...

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Finished the veneering!!!

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Sanded, first coat of finish applied....

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More picture to follow as this has been on the back-burner for weeks now. More finishing, internal lining to go....

Hope you enjoy.
 
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Ollie78

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That is really nice.
I have a bag of small veneer offcuts hanging about, I may give it a try.
Thanks for the tutorial, I fear you might be making it look easier than it is, I can forsee swearing and second tries when I do it.

Ollie
 

AndyT

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Thanks for the detailed description. I think something like this needs to get higher up on my to-do list!

Presumably the glue is ordinary PVA?
 

bjm

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That is really nice.
I have a bag of small veneer offcuts hanging about, I may give it a try.
Thanks for the tutorial, I fear you might be making it look easier than it is, I can forsee swearing and second tries when I do it.

Ollie
Perfect opportunity to give it a try.

If you're worried about gluing the veneer in the wrong place, using the wrong piece in the wrong position, gluing it upside down etc, etc, don't be - that will never happen, trust me ;)
 

bjm

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Thanks for the detailed description. I think something like this needs to get higher up on my to-do list!

Presumably the glue is ordinary PVA?

I just use Titebond II. The trick is to aviod using too much because you have to clean it up. I try to trim any veneer I've glued down within an hour of the glue setting. That way you can remove the trimmed veneer and the glue with a sharp chisel without damaging the ply substrate. You are then ready for the next piece. I've tried this with an MDF substrate but removing the excess glue is more tricky to do without damaging the MDF.

Putting this together has given me an enormous appreciation for all the effort that previous posters have made putting WIPs on here over the years- there was less work making the box :)
 

pe2dave

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"The edges of the box have a wood string attached and the mating surfaces of the base and lid are lipped with mitred edges. "

Is this to keep a neat edge on the ply?
 

bjm

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"The edges of the box have a wood string attached and the mating surfaces of the base and lid are lipped with mitred edges. "

Is this to keep a neat edge on the ply?
Hi Dave

Yes, it give a better surface on the edge for gluing.

I now make all my boxes with a 2-3mm recess all round. This gives you the option of adding stringing after you've done the veneering (traditional) without having to machine a rebate on a finished box - just clean the edge with the cutting gauge. Alternatively, you can string the edges and veneer over as I've shown. I've seen it done where the box has a thick sprayed finish (which protects the arris) but I'm using an oil/varnish mix which isn't really film-forming. I'm not sure how much damage will occur long term with a (limited) protected edge but the ones I've done over recent months seem to be holding up to daily wear (me rubbing the corners-nothing like experimentation). When using a burr I would always string the edge though as the burr veneer has little integrity.

_MG_0534.jpg
 

pe2dave

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From the background (to the other photos) I didn't think it was your first box ;-)
Produces a very neat finish - ditto the veneer matching across the joint!
 

bjm

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From the background (to the other photos) I didn't think it was your first box ;-)
Produces a very neat finish - ditto the veneer matching across the joint!

You're right, it's not. I normally do woodwork for the hospitality industry but since lockdown has disrupted that sector I've been developing this as a potential alternative. There have been lots of rejects over the last few months but the learning curve has been invaluable!! The veneer matching is just a matter of being careful where you cut the veneer. You can easily lose a mm or so and still maintain a continuous grain with most veneer.
 

TheTiddles

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I love this way of working, taking out the tolerances as you go to give a great finish that is super sharp despite the build up of so many pieces
Aida
 

StevieB

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Thanks for sharing this - very impressive. When you wrap a corner, do you cut the veneer at a 45 degree angle or if you look closely do you see end grain on one of the veneer slices?
 

bjm

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I love this way of working, taking out the tolerances as you go to give a great finish that is super sharp despite the build up of so many pieces
Aida
It's the equivalent of stop-frame animation :) and if you haven't got patience it will drive you mad!! Very satisfying though.
 

bjm

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....When you wrap a corner, do you cut the veneer at a 45 degree angle or if you look closely do you see end grain on one of the veneer slices?
That would be an impressive skill to pull off. The veneer is only 0.6mm so it's easy enoung to blend the interface when you sand (carefully). Having the wood underneath also gives you a bit of leeway should you bee too aggresive - ideally you would string with the same wood as the veneer but I find cherry to be a good choice.
 

Cabinetman

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Crikey bjm, that really is a piece of work, I think I know now why I don’t use veneer!
But should I ever want to start that’s as good a tutorial as it gets thank you. Ian
 

stuartpaul

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That is a really nice piece of work and a great write up. Thank you for taking the time to do it.

Your cutter is an excellent piece of kit and I wondered if you be prepared to show a bit more of how it goes together? Would appear to take some of the pain out of veneering (but only some!).
 

bjm

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.... I wondered if you be prepared to show a bit more of how it goes together? ....
Thanks, it's nothing special - just a sturdy marking gauge but with a cutting blade. A bit Krenovian in so far as it's rough-shapen and finished sufficient to be useable. It's comfortable in the hand, which is why it's good to make something that suits you.

Made from American Walnut (good stable wood) with an offcut of aluminium bar - slice an end off and re-attach with machine screws, file groove to accept blade - basic metalwork do-able with hand tools. It has a wide face which makes it easier to prevent rotation. As I mentioned in the text, the cutting blade is made from a used jigsaw blade, hardened and tempered in wax.

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