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Where to buy natural veneer ?

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threedee

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Hello UKWS inhabitants.

Recently i got interested in making some veneer cards and try my hand at marquetry, but for the life of me cant find a place to buy veneer in smaller sheets than full for reasonable price. Ebay/amazon offer only small scraps for quite a bit of money. I'd be interested in precut sheets of A1/A2/A3 sizes, varying colors, etc.

Located in Northern Ireland, the only company i found locally want me to get full sheets (1220x2440) and only have 3 species, 60quid a piece, no facilities for diy cutting and charging 10 quid for one cut...

Been ringing around furniture companies only to find that MDF is king (doh), veneer is plastic and nobody uses proper wood anymore anyway...

Sadly i cannot use PVC veneer imitation as it will rust my machine to hell and poison me dead...
 

Droogs

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Hi threedee,
Marquetry veneer is sold in either by the flitch (which is the length of the tree cut into slices) or bundle a fraction of a flitch in general. There are a few veneer dealers in the UK who also sell it by the sheet sort of thing but the size iis not as simple as A4 A3 etc. Remember tthe more processes the dealer has to carry out the more expensive it will be for you to buy. You are expected to by the sheet as is in terms of size and rearrange as appropriate yourself.

In terms of buying small amounts then to get the best bargains look at joining the marquetry society website below. There is also a list of some of the dealers who do a small order listed here too:


Suppliers
www.thewoodveneerbub.co.uk
www.capitalcrispin.com
 

threedee

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I figured most professional people wouldn't buy in small amounts.
In my case, i have no clue what i'm doing. I'm in full research mode at the moment, so, lots of silly questions incoming :D
And as per usual, starting out i have no capital to just stock up, hence me looking for small quantity suppliers, raiding skips for supplies :D.
At present i need to find two contrasting and cheap to buy veneers to laminate together for high end business card cutting/engraving.

Side project is experimenting with laser assisted inlay, just something to play with. Been making some gift boxes, but want to raise quality by inlay, see what comes out of that. Been asked by fine leather/jewelry people to look into what i can do.

So any woodworking bins i can raid for scrap materials ? :D
 

marcros

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There was a place called the veneer hub which I used a couple of times. They used to sell smaller pieces.

A4/A3 pieces may be an issue because suppliers don't tend to cut to that size. I have bought some decent bits on eBay at a decent price in the past but have gone for a few offcuts or leftover pieces from jobs rather than those marketed as for marquetry. Offcuts can be decent lengths, although often max 6-8" wide.
 

marcros

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If you need to cut roughly to size, a straight edge and Stanley knife will do it. Shallow cuts and several passes. Then you can trim accurately to size as necessary using the same method but more carefully and with a scalpel.
 

marcros

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If you are just starting you have a lot to experiment with, particularly flattening and laminating so just get something/anything cheap to play with because the first few attempts will probably be scrapped. It will allow you to test your concept though.
 

custard

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Capital Crispin is one of Europe's premiere veneer merchants, it's an Aladdin's Cave of amazing timbers and if you're ever in London's east end it's well worth a trip. But I can't remember ever seeing anything there less than a full leaf.

I think your best bet is a company called Original Marquetry Ltd. They're not a patch on Capital Crispin, but I'm pretty sure they stock mixed packs of small size veneers that would be ideal for your needs, further more they offer mail order.

Incidentally, Marcros makes a good point. Most newbies make a bee line for fancy veneers. That's a mistake as fancy equals tricky,. You can have bold colour, but avoid burrs or figure and go for veneers with dead straight grain. Until you've learn't your stuff boring grain is best!
 

Droogs

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unfortunately I can't get to the workshop at the moment but once I can, I'll send you a box of off cuts of various types and you can have a play with them. Just send me a PM in the 2nd half of Sept as that is when I can start going back in.
 

threedee

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If you need to cut roughly to size, a straight edge and Stanley knife will do it. Shallow cuts and several passes. Then you can trim accurately to size as necessary using the same method but more carefully and with a scalpel.
Most companies i contacted wouldnt allow anyone in the shop with a knife :D I know basic woodworking, but there is no certificate that says "allow this man with a knife into your shop", sadly :D

If you are just starting you have a lot to experiment with, particularly flattening and laminating so just get something/anything cheap to play with because the first few attempts will probably be scrapped. It will allow you to test your concept though.
Thats the general idea, difficulty being finding material to play with. Operative word being "play".

Capital Crispin is one of Europe's premiere veneer merchants, it's an Aladdin's Cave of amazing timbers and if you're ever in London's east end it's well worth a trip. But I can't remember ever seeing anything there less than a full leaf.

I think your best bet is a company called Original Marquetry Ltd. They're not a patch on Capital Crispin, but I'm pretty sure they stock mixed packs of small size veneers that would be ideal for your needs, further more they offer mail order.

Incidentally, Marcros makes a good point. Most newbies make a bee line for fancy veneers. That's a mistake as fancy equals tricky,. You can have bold colour, but avoid burrs or figure and go for veneers with dead straight grain. Until you've learn't your stuff boring grain is best!
Just wrote to Crispin people, inquiring about their materials - delivery to NI alone is 30 quid + VAT. Oof...
As for "fancy veneers", at this point, as you point out, i have no idea how to do stuff with veneer, hence me going for whatever bog standard cheapest veneers i can get - oaks/sapeles/birches/ash, etc, etc. None of the padauk/bubinga stuff for me :D

unfortunately I can't get to the workshop at the moment but once I can, I'll send you a box of off cuts of various types and you can have a play with them. Just send me a PM in the 2nd half of Sept as that is when I can start going back in.
I'm gonna hold you to that, be sure :D Would be very grateful. Need something lasered - let me know.

But i'm at the point where i will be attempting to resaw some stuff i got lying around with my tiny tabletop bandsaw. Tried to do that with a piece of beech, oof, blade wandering, squeezing the fence til motor bogs down etc... Gonna go fiddle with guideblocks some, see if its any better. Haven't touched it in a while and usually just cut flat sheet materials up to ~10mm thick. Stuffed 75mm beech plank in - saw says "nope"...

This is brilliant, i'm very grateful for all the advice you dish out here, boys (gals?). Finishing up adjustment of my 100W laser machine, producing sample materials to go dazzle my business contacts.
 

marcros

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To have a go with and try your laser and laminating etc I searched for maple wood veneer on eBay.

Found this one as a top hit. The same seller has various lots. They are small pieces but drop him a line. Postage will be cheap if it can go royal mail. 10 MAPLE VENEER OFF CUTS | eBay

Crispin's are great as are several others but on a £20 order, well lets politely say that is not their core business. I have the same issues with some suppliers, my needs don't suit them.
 

threedee

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The link you mention pieces are too small. Business cards typical dims are 90x50.
Went on ebay anyway. Bought 24 sheets of cherry 195x155, see what comes of it.

I'll need to glue two plys crosswise and then engrave/cut. Any tips on laminating such thin materials ? My plan is to gob on pva and press it inbetween two very flat very thick pieces of glass fiber surfaced plywood (those are ~50mm thick, fat plywood)... Weigh it all down with a 25l canister full of water. In the words of great Jeremy Clarkson "how hard can it be?"... right, right ? :D
 

custard

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I'll need to glue two plys crosswise and then engrave/cut. Any tips on laminating such thin materials ? My plan is to gob on pva and press it inbetween two very flat very thick pieces of glass fiber surfaced plywood (those are ~50mm thick, fat plywood)... Weigh it all down with a 25l canister full of water.
You're on the right track, just a few details,

1. There will be glue squeeze out, so you'll need a sheet of plastic top and bottom to prevent the veneer ply sticking to the press platen boards.

2. You say fibreglass coated, make sure there's no texture or it'll "imprint" onto your veneer ply.

3. PVA contains water, as soon as PVA hits the veneer it will start to "cockle" (ie warp). With straight grained veneer you'll probably get away with it, but you'll have to be quick, so if possible apply the glue with a roller. Some people dilute PVA with water, but if so not more than 10% water or the cockling will become too bad.

4. The amount of pressure needed for optimum veneer pressing is actually more than can be achieved in the home workshop. But you can achieve adequate pressure if you chuck everything you've got at the challenge, so every clamp and/or more than a 25l canister.

5. Cutting veneer with a bandsaw is tricky, if not impossible. You'd at the very least need a zero clearance insert to prevent it splintering, and because the set on most bandsaw blades is quite large that's very difficult to achieve. Even with all that the cut from a bandsaw won't be very clean. Specialist veneer hand saws aren't expensive (they need fettling, but that's all part of the satisfaction), or for a few bits and pieces to get you started you can use X-Acto type craft knives and saws.

6. Making your own ply from veneer is common practise, but your post suggests your planning on a two ply structure. You're better off using an odd number of plies.
 

threedee

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1. Would pva grab fiberglass (i dont think so, but hey...) Clingfilm yey, if it comes to that.
2. Plywood is 45mm thick with about 5mm of white glassy surface, completely flat. Unless i introduce some debris in between the plates, there is nothing to imprint.
3. Yeah, thought about warping, but dont suppose it would be much of a problem after i squish it down.
4. 2 25l canisters ? :D Yup, all the clamps it is.
5. I meant resawing something thick into veneers, not cutting veneer itself. For that i have a laser :D pewpew. As for resawing, i need to adjust my bandsaw, as it drifts way much to even try something...
6. Depending on thickness of veneers i get (just bought some cherry) i might increase the ply count. Initially i planned to do dark and light ply, engrave off the light ply to show off dark underneath. But since i only got one kind, i guess out of focus engraving it is (darkens whe wood, but doesnt char.)

Cant wait to try all of this out.

Also, read articles and watched some vids of people making inlay by using laser engravers, this is main objective of my quest for veneer source. I did work with inlay in other field - sign making, where we needed on occasion to inlay vinyl to keep lightbox graphics neat, before transparent/translucent printing was a thing... Seen some gorgeous wooden digital clocks made using addressable LEDs and thin wood veneer for segments. Or the clock would just look like a piece of wood when switched off... sneaky. Wanna try that, made some clocks like this using acrylic, time to try wood.
 
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Droogs

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What is the widest blade your bandsaw can take, you want at laeast 1 1/2" wide blade to have any chance of getting a decent veneer that you can work with from a bandsaw at around 1mm thick. I cut mine occassionally on the bandsaw if i want construction veneer, but if I want anything thinner I cut by hand using a frame saw with a 4" wide blade and near enough no set. Remember wood is nothing like an artificial material to work with. You cut a veneer and it will change thickness every time the temperature or humidity changes. If I was making busines cards I would be looking for them to be around 2mm thick as a max using 3 plies to keep it stable and then sealing them with a decent finish.
 
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custard

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My mistake, I thought the OP was cutting finished veneers with a bandsaw, I see now he was trying to make veneers with a bandsaw.
 

Lons

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Hi Threedee

If you're going to clamp veneers together I suggest you look for an old book or copy press there are plenty around and they can be expensive but can also be picked up for a few quid at boot sales or on Gumtree / Facebook usually will only take maybe up to A4 size but they exert a lot of pressure without much effort. Mine is similar to the pic below.
I've had mine a good 40 years and got it to press marquetry pictures. I have seen home made examples on the internet so that might also be another avenue or alternatively t bits of ply and lengths of strong steel angle top and bottom, you'll need several with just bolts through at each end so you can really tighten them down

If you're stuck for veneers to practice on I'm happy to offer as I have quite a lot of basic stuff mostly elm, oak and some kind of mahogany but you would need to pay for postage or a courier so maybe not worth it.

Have a look to see if there are any coffin makers anywhere within reach, they select the best bits of the veneers they use and dump the rest and also if there is a manufacturer of wood veneered chipboard and ask for veneer offcuts, definitely worth doing some research
 

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