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Building a Small Entertainment Center

Gluing the Radial Patterns

After laying out the circumference, the pieces were rough cut to leave about a 1/4" beyond the top blanks. The cutoffs were numbered for use on the edges, making the grain match easier to do. Using a piece of 1/8" thick masonite, a circle was cut to be used as a top platen in the vacuum bag. The platens were covered with wax paper to prevent the glue from sticking to the platen. Without this, the platen could be glued to the veneer if there is any bleed through. On open pore veneers, the chance of glue penetrating the veneer is semi likely. After the peices were glued up in the vacuum bag, removing the paper veneer tape is necessary. Appliying water. sparingly, and using a putty knife, it comes off rather easily, but is messy.

Rough Cutting the Top Veneer   Top Platen  Removing The Paper Tape

Once the veneer tape is removed, it's a good idea to leave the pieces sit for a day or two, to allow the moisture to escape. Otherwise, any work done now will be effected. Routing the edges flush with a laminate trimmer and flush cut bit results in a clean edge. Since Ebony is somewhat porous, filling the grain will lead to a much nicer finish. Using dark Bartley Paste Wood Filler, and a plastic spreader for Bondo, the filler is worked into the grain, taking care to go both with and across the grain.


 Leaving as little excess as possible on the surface now will make it easier to clean up after it has dried. After letting it dry overnight, sanding the residue off the surface is next. A random orbit sander, with a vacuum hose preferably, and using a fine grit paper will give a nice smooth surface. It's important not to sand too much, or you'll sand through the veneer.

Paste Filler For The Ebony   Applied Paste Filler For The Ebony   Sanding The Paste Filler

After cleaning the sanding dust, a coat of finish can be applied. This will ensure it stays clean through the next few steps. It also helps in protecting it, to a degree. While the drying was taking place through the previous stages, I was working on the flat panel doors. Since I wasn't sure how much adjustment I could get from the european face frame hinges, I made a test piece from some scrap, and checked for overlay amount and clearance. I was then able to determine how big to make the doors. After hanging them and adjusting them, just to make sure everything was okay, it was time to veneer them.

Hinge Test Jig   Test Fitting The Doors  Test Fitting The Doors 2

Using the same iron technique, with titebond two glue, I applied the edge banding. Working on the bottom edge first, then the two sides, then the top, offers the best look, much like working with plastic laminates. The vacuum system on my bench really makes this a simple process, regarding clamping the doors while being worked on. When applying the glue to the veneer, it's best to glue wide pieces, and trim them to rough width after the glue has dried. With veneers like satinwood, which is quite brittle, the glue helps in preventing it from splitting while being cut. The right edge was cut prior to having the glue applied, while the left edge was done after the glue was applied. Big difference in the quality of the cut. (Slightly exaggerated to show how brittle this stuff really is).

Edge Banding the doors  Edge Banding the Doors  Using the Vacuum System For The Door Edges

Once both doors were edge banded, the face veneers were glued on. Again, the veneer was slightly oversized to allow for some sliding. The top platens were cut, and covered with wax paper. As always, the glue was applied to the substrate only. Then blanks were layed onto the veneer, which was laying on the platens. Trying to put the veneer onto the blanks would risk splitting it. The pieces were then taped with blue painters' tape and put into the vacuum bag. The green felt laying on top of the platen permits even vacuum pressure on the middle of the doors. Without this, the edges could be pulled tight, and prevent the air to be evacuated from the middle area.

 Flat Doors in Vacuum Bag  Flat Doors Fresh From The Vacuum Bag Testing New Veneer Tape

Once the glue dried and the pieces were removed from the bag, I was time to see how well the glue up went. I was usuing a new, to me anyway, veneer glue from Joe Woodworker's Site. It's called Better Bond. http://www.joewoodworker.com/veneering/glues.htm It's available in three different shades, for use with different colored woods. This helps make seams and edges a little less conspicuous. Any bleed through would also be much easier to deal with. I used a foam roller to spread the adhesive, which is a one part adhesive, so there is no mixing required. I didn't like the way it spread using the roller, even though that's one of the recommended ways to apply it. From now on, I'll use a notched trowel.

The other new item I used here is a veneer tape, also from Joe Woodworker, requires no wetting to use or remove it. I was somewhat skeptical about it, but it preformed beautifully. It is show in the third photo directly above here. It's the brown colored tape. The other tape is standard veneer tape. Since I wanted to apply a finish to the doors right away, I didn't use any water to remove the tape. I used a random orbit sander and a cabinet scraper. The new veneer tape is able to just be pulled off, taking care to pull it back over itself, on about a 45 degree angle, to ensure I didn't pull any wood fibers off with it.

This tape will eliminate the need for painters tape to assemble the pieces, then flip it over and install veneer tape, then flip it agian to remove the painters tape. Both a cost savings in material and labor, so I will be using it for everything, at least for a while until I give it a thorough testing. If it works as well as it did here, I'll be a happy camper. http://www.veneersupplies.com/product_info.php?cPath=86_37&products_id=5336

The blue tape on the edges of the flat doors are to protect the edge banding from glue squeeze out. It also helped in keeping them from getting marked up by the bearing on the flush cut bit, when I routed them to size. The tape left a slight overhang, which permitted sanding a small radius on the edges, protecting them from future damage.

Completed Doors Installed  Doors Hung and Interior Painted

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  Back To pg. #5  Back To pg. #6  Back To pg. #7  Continued pg. #9

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