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Veneering over veneer

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Steve Maskery

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Morning all.

I've done a bit of (but not very much) veneering in the past, but it was years and years ago and so I would never call myself an expert.

I want my oak wardrobe doors to be quarter-sawn in appearance. I was hoping to buy MDF ready veneered, but when I saw the boards in the flesh, the leaves were very narrow, only about 60mm. The surface looked stripey and if I wanted stripey doors I'd buy two tins of paint.

So I have to consider doing it myself. I have a vac press and some veneer (though I've not checked that I have enough, I may have to go shopping). I've done this same job before, which is why I don't really want to do it again!

So I thought I'd buy some veneered MDF, sand off one face and just veneer that, leaving the original back as balance. It would half the amount of veneering I would need to do.

So I rang a woody pal who has a big drum sander and asked if I could use it.

"Yes", said he, "but why would you want to? Most of the balance is from the glue rather than the veneer itself. Why not just veneer over the existing veneer, that's what I would do".

Now Andy has a lot more experience than I do, so I should listen. It would certainly make my life easier. And I do know that in Ye Olden Days, people would lay a cross-layer of veneer before a finish veneer.

So my Q is, if I do this, are there any potential pitfalls that I need to avoid, in order to keep my doors acceptably flat?
 

Argus

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If I read your question rightly.....

I suppose that you can veneer new leaf onto existing commercially-made veneer if you are certain that the substrate and it's factory adhesive is able to withstand the extra stresses of new leaf (including future movement) on top. Veneer leaf nowadays is much thinner than it was even a few decades ago and the stuff on factory-made boards is like paper. So there is an issue of mechanical strength at the original bond.

In any case, it is essential that equal veneer is attached to both sides, back and front to eliminate movement. You can presumably put the best, quarter-sawn stuff on the front and a less expensive cut of the same stuff on the rear if that is permissible from an aesthetic point of view ..... make sure that they are all of the same thickness and have had time to acclimatise in an equal humidity.

Good luck.
 

Steve Maskery

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Thank you, Argus. But if I'm going to do that I may as well start with MRMDF rather than ready-veneered board.
These are big panels -2.1m x 0.5m - so it's quite a big job. Well, big by my standards, anyway.

I think I'll have a look to see if I have any smaller leaves that I can have a go with, to see what happens.
 

woodbloke66

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Steve Maskery":3p0kxain said:
Thank you, Argus. But if I'm going to do that I may as well start with MRMDF rather than ready-veneered board.
These are big panels -2.1m x 0.5m - so it's quite a big job. Well, big by my standards, anyway.

I think I'll have a look to see if I have any smaller leaves that I can have a go with, to see what happens.
I don't see any reason why you can't veneer over existing veneer Steve, but those are gurt big panels...approx 7' in old money and you may be pushed to find a bag big enough (if that's how you intend to veneer them). You've also got to find some method of shooting in/joining the veneers which again is going to be ticklish as it's quite long - Rob
 

Steve Maskery

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woodbloke66":31c2sfwr said:
I don't see any reason why you can't veneer over existing veneer Steve, but those are gurt big panels...approx 7' in old money and you may be pushed to find a bag big enough (if that's how you intend to veneer them). You've also got to find some method of shooting in/joining the veneers which again is going to be ticklish as it's quite long - Rob
I do have a bag and I think it's big enough. I used to have 2 bags and the bigger one would take 3m. One got stolen, but I think it is the big one that I still have - I'll have to check.

I'm not planning to shoot the edges - as you say, that is a long shoot. Difficult to clamp. I did make a clamp for that job once, and it did work well, but it took up a lot of space in the workshop, so I recycled it. I bet I used it on no more than half a dozen projects.

No, I'm planning on overlapping the leaves and cut through both layers with a pizza cutter-type knife. Like this:


I can use my saw track as the straight edge.

As I say, I have done this before, just not for a very, very long time.*

Also one other decision has been made for me. I've just got my veneer out. There is quite a bit of crown cut, but NO QS at all, not even tag ends. What I thought contained QS oak was in fact some cheap and nasty red stuff that I bought as balance for a face that would never be seen. So I've no idea what's happened to the QS oak, I know I had some. Life, eh?

*I mean I have veneered panels of this size before, not that I have veneered over veneer without another balance before.
 

Droogs

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just getting to this as just back from ilse of Eigg and outer Hebrides for 3 weeks. Personally from my experience Steve i would just get some plain board and veneer both sides, any commercial veneer wont be strong enough over the long term to ensure equalisation of stresses over the long term (mainly as it will be too thin compared to the veneer you put on). I have been there and done it myself previously thinking to save a bit of time and money but didn't end well.
 

Steve Maskery

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Thank you all, much appreciated.

I am now in a quandary (or is it a quandry, I'm never quite sure, but at least it's not ambiguous).

I visited David Richard's website and got accosted by a pop-up window asking if I wanted any help. Well, much as I loath this particular aspect of technology, I did need some help. I explained what I wanted to achieve and he gave me a price for the veneer. Very reasonable, I thought.
Did I want them to build the layons? What's a Layon when it's at home? Apparently that is the term for a wide sheet made up of several leaves.

Well Hello, that would save me a lot of work. I could build the balances and if they were imperfect it would not be the end of the world, but the bit that I (and a VERY select group of visitors) would see would be "perfect".
So now I am waiting for a price.

It's complicated by the fact that I went to my timber merchant today for a sheet of oak MDF from which I can make the shelves. He had a new batch of boards, and as we took the first one down I was struck by how good the pattern was. OK, it's not QS, but it was very pretty, nonetheless.
So what to do? Do I buy a couple of nice ready-made boards and use them? Or do I go with my original design and buy QS veneer, stitch my own balance and do all the pressing? There is a few hundred quid difference.
It's possible that I may just have answered my own question.
 

Adam9453

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Pretty much all the veneer suppliers will happily produce stitched layons for you for a very reasonable price. In your situation, I’d get them to produce the layons for the face and balance as it saves a lot of agro. If you want quartersawn then I’d go down the pressing your own boards route (ideally press one large board then cut in half to get the grain matching nicely across your doors) but if you want crown cut then as you say there are plenty of decent quality stock boards available. Have you considered what you are doing to the edges as doors would usually be lipped with solid timber then over veneered which rules out using stock boards. If you are just going to apply veneer edging then you can use stock boards but the edges are obviously more delicate.
 

Steve Maskery

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Thank you Adam.
As I mentioned, I am in a bit of a quandary.
The point of considering VOV was simply to reduce the amount of work. Buy a stock board, cut it and lip it to size, then veneer over the front.
But having seen some very pretty boards in my local woodyard, I'm tempted to ditch the QS aspect and just go for "nice-looking" doors.
OTOH this will be the last wardrobe I ever make (for myself, anyway, and I can't see any commissions on the horizon), and whilst I might pop my clogs tomorrow, equally I might have to live with it for 30 years. We do have long genes in our family. So what to do? I really haven't decided.

No word back from the veneer man yet, though.
 

Adam9453

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I understand the deliberation and I have produced doors both ways with great results in both cases. The crucial factor is normally the look you’re trying to achieve, for example if it were me I’d do solid timber lippings, mitred at the corners to avoid end grain showing, then create book matched layons for the pair of doors. This in my opinion is one of the nicest ways to finish wardrobe doors unless you want to go to the enormous effort of producing a starburst or inlayed pattern with the veneer. Are you adding any mouldings or recesses detail to the doors or are they purely flat flush doors?
 

Steve Maskery

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There are four doors to do. A single hinged Left, a double hinged L&R and a single hinged R. With the fleck of the QS figure I was intending it to look like //\\.
No need to mitre, lip top and bottom edges first (bit of a clamping challenge) then lip the long sides. Then veneer over.
If you've been following my Wardrobe build then you will have seen how I've been lipping ready-veneered boards.
Most have been quite satisfactory, but I've just lipped a board to cut into shelves and I'm not happy with the glue-line, so I'm going to do that board again. I have enough tolerance to do that. It's disappointing, especially at this stage of the build, but the glue line is not very tight and I will see it, even if nobody else does until after I'm gone.
As regards embellishment, I plan to make a Mackintosh-inspired grille in bog oak and pulls of bog oak and Corian. I have the image in my head, but I've not actually modelled it out yet.
 

Steve Maskery

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Well I am singularly unimpressed.

No reply from DF Richards, so today I sent a polite nudge.

Email reply that he had forwarded my email of 15th "last Tuesday", which, by my reckoning is a delay of a week. Reply from "marketing" that sorry they cannot fulfill an order of this quantity. Which I take to mean, "we don't know you, this is trivial, we can't be bothered".

What I was asking for was more than their minimum order.

When I ran a small computer company, if we had a new potential customer, we bent over backwards to deliver what they wanted. Usually it was a PITA, but occasionally, just occasionally, it paid off further down the line. So I just don't understand this attitude.

He did say he could recommend a "local presser", but I don't want a presser, and anyway that is local to him, not local to me.

And it is always a bad, a very bad, idea to reply to an email which contains an internal conversation about an external enquiry.....

So, can anyone recommend to me a veneer supplier who is happy to fulfill a small order enthusiastically?
 

Steve Maskery

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Thanks Rob.
I think I used them once, many, many moons ago. Also Aaron somebody-or-other. I wasn't so pleased with that order. Yes it was technically accurate, but not what I was expecting.
I did have a veneering job done by a firm in Nottingham, once. They did a great job. But I can't recall their name and a google search doesn't throw them up, so perhaps they are no longer trading. I vaguely remember where they were, but it's a long way to drive on a dodgy manhunt.
 

woodbloke66

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I believe they're somewhere in Londres Steve, but they do an excellent service by post. IIRC, I rang them up and spoke to a bloke and described exactly what I was after (I think it was Crown Cut Oak) and a big roll of veneer arrived shortly afterwards - Rob
 

will1983

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Steve, you could give Nantwich Veneers a call.
I've not used them personally but I know that they do supply Bentley Motors for some of their specialist one off builds so I'm guessing they will be good.

http://www.nantwichveneers.com/

Will
 

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