Monday, July 9, 2012

Veneer - specialized tools and simple joinery techniques

Working with veneer does require a few specialized tools.

Cutting veneer can be done using a variety of tools depending upon the type of veneer and the specific type of cut being made. A good straightedge and a veneer saw is one of the more common methods.


The fabric cutter (white with orange) is an example of a tool designed for another purpose (cutting fabric) that can be extremely useful for certain types of veneer cuts. In addition to the veneer saw and fabric saw, I occasionally us a very, very sharp chisel that I’ve slightly modified to cut veneer, and I also have a surgeon’s scalpel that is “scary” sharp. I tend to use the scalpel more when I’m doing marquetry or when I’m trying to cut difficult veneer with squirely grain.

The soft bristle brass brush is used to massage the moist veneer tape to get the best possible surface contact with the veneer tape. The little roller is a wallpaper roller I stole from my wife years ago. I use it to massage the seams to get the seam perfectly flat.


Veneer tape is probably the most unusual item. It is a thin paper tape with a moisture activated glue on one side. This tape dispenser makes moistening and cutting the tape easy.

The following sequence of photos shows the process of seaming two pieces of veneer together. I first cut both pieces for the joint using a straightedge and veneer saw. Next I use blue painters tape to carefully align the two edges together. I use one inch veneer tape across the joint followed by two inch veneer tape along the joint. The bottom photo shows the result after pressing. The photo will not really show it, but the resulting joint is virtually invisible!

Two pieces of veneer edge jointed and ready to be joined.

Blue tape is used to bring the edges into precise contact.

Veneer tape is placed across the joint.

Blue tape removed.

Veneer tape placed along joint on top of joint.

Result after pressing. The idea is to make the joint disappear.

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