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Veneer Basics pg 3
Tools used in veneering are pretty basic, with a few specialty items thrown in.
A few different hand tools can used to cut veneers.
1. Veneer saw, a small double edged saw, with a
curved, toothed edge, and offset handle. These are handy, but do need to be sharpened prior to use. (as do most
tools). This saw is pulled towards you, while being held against a straight edge. Several passes are needed to cut
through the veneer, however, it's common to cut a "stack" of veneers using this method.
2. A wide, (1 1/2"), wood chisel. This is used as a knife, holding the flat edge of the chisel
against a straight edge, and tipped forward, away from your body, and on a very slight angle so only a small part
of the chisel edge is being used. You pull the chisel towards you, making light passes, until the piece is cut.
Only one piece at a time can be cut using this method. The slight angle will permit a tighter seam.
3. My favorite method is using a post mortem scalpel.
While this sounds a little morbid, if you get a new one, it won't have any blood on it, YET! Be very careful using
them, because they're pretty sharp. A self inflicted autopsy is no fun.
This panel, while done for practice, has provided me a way to hone my skills, while at the same
time has lead to some very fine work, and will eventually end up as a front panel on a jewelry box, or similar
4. Rotary cutters from material stores, also cut
well , but I really only use it for rough cutting to size. Just my personal preference.
5. A veneer slitter, designed for cutting strips of veneers, in varying widths, are quite
6. A self healing mat, so you are not cutting the work surface below the veneer. These are
available in Walmart, or any sewing supply store. This will also help keep the cutting tool sharp for a longer
7. Veneer punches, either homemade, or store bought, will work. These are used to repair knot holes
or flaws in the veneer. They "punch" out irregular shaped pieces, surrounding the flaw, and also are used to punch
out a patch. They are easy to use and do a great job of fixing small problem areas. They are available in several
sizes, and the commercially available ones are spring loaded, to pop out the piece.
8. Veneer tape, available perforated or solid, and in
different thicknesses and widths. They are pre glued, and need to be moistened to activate the glue. Tape
dispensers, made for this are available, but are some what expensive. (about $ 100.00) If you plan on doing a lot
of veneer work, it's a good idea. Otherwise just a small tray with a sponge in it, and add some water. Tear off a
piece of tape, and run the shiny side over the sponge. The veneer tape is used on the face side of your work. If
you use a vacuum press, a piece of tape on the back side, (the side buried in the glue), will show up as a hump on
the finished side of your project.
9. A veneer hammer, typically used with hot hide glue, to work the veneer into the glue. Used much
like a squeegee, it is not actually to "hammer" anything. It is used from the middle to the edges, to squeeze out
the excess glue and air bubbles.
10. A veneer roller. This is used to roll the veneer tape onto the seam to get a good bond.
11. A soft brass wire brush is also handy to use for working the tape into the veneer. (Gently)
12. A framing square, a tape measure, or rule. (I prefer to use an inside reading rule, as they
will lay flat on the work surface). A hammer, and nail pullers.
13. A metal straight edge for guiding your cutting tool is a must, and good ones made from wood
with a brass edge are recommended, as they help hold the veneer still, and are quite stable.
14. The plywood strips with sizes printed on them are for cutting strips of veneers for borders.
They are used in conjuntion with the brass straight edge on the right side of the photo. They make very quick work
of this task. The veneer is held against the plywood, and the brass straight edge is held against the small blocks.
Then simply run the cutting tool along the brass edge.
15. Small precision combo square proves to be very handy.
16. Two mirrors with a tape hinge, allows you to see what radial patterns will look like. This
drawing is a quarter of a circle, but with the mirror, you can see how a completed pattern would look. This is a
great way to pick where to cut the veneer from, as you can see what a radial pattern will look like. As you move
the mirror, the pattern shows you an amazing array of possibilities.
17. Plexiglass angles, which will allow easy construction of radial patterns, as they are made in
angles that are multiples of 360 degrees.
18. Blue painter' s tape, in varying widths is essential, and you'll use a lot of it. It is so
handy for many aspects of veneer work, I buy it by the case.
Veneering can be done in a small work space, with minimal tools. It also opens up the world
of inlays and marquetry. It can be a most relaxing hobby, with remarkable results.
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