Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Many Challenges of Laying Veneer

 Veneer work takes a great amount of skill, even if you are just laying one piece.  But to successfully lay down 24 pieces?  That requires mastery!  And that is just what our 'veneer-man extraordinaire' did on this armoire side panel.   There are so many challenges with applying veneer to a surface, but when you do a job such as this one, with so many pieces of veneer, which all have to match perfectly, the challenges multiply quickly.

First off,  the base surface has to be perfectly smooth.  Any bumps or valleys will effect the way the veneer adheres and could create air bubbles.  Air bubbles are a big problem and lead to the veneer cracking and flaking off.

Next, when each piece of veneer is cut,  the cut has to be perfectly straight so that when you joint the pieces together, there are no gaps in the wood.  And, you have to make sure the the angles are the same so that the grain runs the same way and the seams between the pieces disappear.

Then, each piece of wood has to be aligned perfectly so that the center seam runs straight, all the way down the panel.  This requires lots of very careful measuring, marking, re-measuring, re-marking etc!

And finally, on this panel there is that gorgeous center diamond pattern.  For that you have to take all of the challenges I just told you about the other pieces, and multiply it!  That center diamond has to be cut perfectly, measured perfectly, aligned perfectly, glued perfectly, clamped perfectly.  If it is off, it will throw off the look of the entire panel.

The good thing is that we actually have craftsmen here at our shop who can do this picky, meticulous work, and do it well!  They are like woodworking superheroes.  They can make broken things 'unbroken', they can make ugly things beautiful, and they can perfectly align veneer!

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