Thursday, 2 May 2013

Hand veneering stage 2 part 1 Figuered Maple

Bought a sheet of mirrored glass from K mart. This was going to be used as the mirror jig to get the best grain match for when selecting the veneer parts for the figured maple. This is best used for book matching. One left side one right side mirrored from one another.

I came across this you tube video when researching information on book matching veneer. This was the first time I saw the mirror trick when trying to obtain the best grain match. I will be using this for the figured maple. In my books that I bought it also mentions this a lot.

Cool thing with this video is that It talks about 4 way matching a bit and also a quick little angled application to the veneer to make the veneer look more appealing. I might consider this with my veneers. Creating a V shape (mentioned in video) will make the veneers more appealing and will fit in with some of the shapes within my design. Its just I will need to do some more playing around to see whether this is achievable.

This mirror was going to be perfect for the jig since it would cover all substrate panel sizes for final piece.
To make the jig all I was going to do was secure come L brackets to an off cut piece of MDF. These parts were left over from the last few jigs. The L brackets have been spaced out evenly.

Attached double sided tape to the L brackets and the bottom edge of the jig plate.

Attached mirror to jig and gave it a light press to help bond up against the tape.

The base wont be this big will cut it down so its easier to move around.

Cutting down mirror jig on saw station.

Getting ready to do some veneer matching and selection. Before I even touch the large figured maple veneer leafs I wanted to use up the offcuts that I had cut off from the long 2400mm leafs. These small offcut sections would be used for the drawer parts.

 I had numbered these offcuts as well to make sure that they were still in the same orientation as the veneer pack. Always best to number your leafs as soon as you get them since the pack is stacked in the same way in which the log has been cut.

I could easily mirror the veneer pieces like this for the drawer box lids and bases. But  thought this orientation looked boring an a 'V' orientation that was mentioned in the above you tube video would suit the shape better.

What the idea is that with this jig the image in the mirror shows what the left hand side would look like if the joint was made right where the bottom edge of the mirror is. This shows the mirrored image of the right side and this is called book matching.

With figured veneers the possibilities of different book matchings is endless. At the end of the day it comes down to taste. This is the same straight mirroring as before its just the joint is moved further down the width of the veneer leaf creating a totally different type of matching.

This is whats called 'V' orientation. The mirrored veneers resemble a sort of V. This V can be made at really any angle, each new placement will give a totally different image again making the choices endless.

What I'm doing here is grabbing 4 veneer leafs. This will make up two lid sections for the drawer box lids. The top two making the first lid and the bottom two making the next. It's really important to mark these veneers in numbers so you don't get mixed up.

You want to also make sure that each piece is line up with one another in the grain direction before taping is made and before the cut is made. If not lined up properly the book matching wont work and the mirrored pieces will look off centered.

To avoid the veneers slipping when lined up I placed painters tape to hold it all in place. To make things easier when I have the veneers lined up I make a small pencil line. Every time when I need to re align these leafs I can just refer to the drawn line.

Like I said before the different images are endless. What I'm wanting to obtain here is an effective V mirrored orientation that doesn't seem over the top but still appealing to the eye. I need to remember that most of this will be cut out and some of the mirror grain images will be lost when the 20mm offset is taken away from the parts. So my main focus of detail and drawn attention I want is going to be the middle mirrored section of the veneer leafs.

This above one seems to dominating and a lot of the interesting image at the back will be lost when the panels image is transfered to it.

I'm quite happy with this one. The top grain sections span out from one another and leave a big enough gap. Some of the back section will be lost but wont effect the design to much. This is really just a skinner version of the top one.

This one is ok but a lot of the middle section and back have been taken away. Also the top section pieces are too close to one another.

Same as the one above too much of the mirrored pattern is lost.

A lot of these images are really just to show what patterns can be achieved.

Each pattern that was shown here I draw a line down the center point. The bottom edge of the mirror acts as the center point as there where the center of the book matching will begin. I also number them. I did this so I could keep going back to the orientations that I liked and eventually choose one.

Doing it this way also gives me a reference point that I can come back to when doing the other drawer box lids and bases. Since this pattern has been chosen it now must run through the other drawer box lids and also the drawer box bases. I chose number 2.

I measured where the line was to the outside edge. This would give me a reference to use now when doing the others. It wont be totally 100 percent but still really close.

Since cutting through a large pile of veneers I really need to clamp down a straight edge to the veneer pieces. Its best to sandwich the veneers this will give even pressure and help secure it better when cutting with the veneer saw. You will also find that you obtain a far better cut.

I used my pax veneer cutting saw for this. The figured maple is a lot better to cut compared to the wenge. There is like no tare out and the cuts are really clean. Also you don't really need that much pressure to cut them.

When cutting the veneer pieces make sure never to tare always finish off the whole cut before trying to take away the off cut.

When you have sliced through the top veneer leaf carefully remove it but slip it over 180 deg. You still want to label these parts and keep them together since these two can be used as mirrored pieces for another project some other time. Label them the same numbering so you know what pile they came from encase you need to use them for repairs.

These off cuts too show a mirrored picture. Not as decorative but still pleasing to the eye. 

I wanted to use the drawer box lids that were veneered with the wenge as a template to transfer the shape to the figured maple veneer pieces. First I had to clean the edges that still had over hang of veneer and glue.

The image of the panel is transfered to the veneer pieces. Some of the panel over hangs the veneer pieces but I am not fust by this since it is in the 20mm offset section and hasn't gone over it.

Best to label these parts so they dont get mixed up. At the moment I have only marked the joints with the chalk and labeled them DBL which stands for drawer box lids. I don't want to label them top or bottom yet since I need to see what the other ones look like yet. I may want to re arrange them. I have also marked the inside edge which is the longest side. this will distinguish which is left and which is right.

I have not cut down to its finished size yet since I still need to clean the veneer seams.

As a reference I was able to use the previously cut veneers as a template to mark out the cut line for the next drawer box lids to ensure that the pattern will be the same when the veneers are cut.

Double checking to see what the pattern was going to look like and how much it matched up to the previous cut pieces.

The veneer tops and bottoms did need to be rearranged. I moved the one of the bottom ones to the top since it matched better with the other one. The veneer parts have now been labeled top/ bottom and left and right.

In the mean time the veneers will need to be pressed and weight applied to it to prevent warping. These veneers are more buckled than the wenge and probably will need to have moisture added to them and pressed before being pressed to the substrates with glue. ( same process that I did with the Fijian Mahogany.

Cleaned the edges of the drawer box bases. The veneer saw is starting to get blunt and will need to be sharpened. To do this I need to buy a small triangle file to sharpen each tooth. After this is done it will be placed on a stone to get rid of any burrs that were created.

The other veneer offcuts that will be used for the drawer box bases and other drawer box parts have been placed under clamp pressure and weight from the bricks to prevent unnecessary buckling.

To be able to completely fit the veneer parts in between the two large pieces of wood that I had to sandwich the veneer in to run over the jointer to clean the seam lines. I had to cut off some of the off cut sections on the veneer parts first.

The bottom section is what I had to cut off. This needed to be done so the whole seam joint would be sandwiched between the two timber boards.

Cleaning the seam joints on the jointer in my work shop.

Seam joints clean. When jointing really blond timber you need to be a lot more precise in your joints compared to darker timbers. The joints stick out a lot more so its also wise to take the time and careful mark out where the book matching is going to meet up. Some of the matching can become slightly un balanced due to some of the joint being cleaned up. We are not talking heaps about 1-2mm.

Some of the sections wont completely match up. I found this was more so the top and bottom. I'm not too fust about this since 20mm will be cut off from both the top and bottom.

As you can see the top doesnt completely match up. Again this wont matter since most of the knot section will be cut out.

Once happy with the joint I started to connect the two pieces together with veneer tape. First using small strips and place across the X axis this will drawer the two pieces in towards one another making the joint tight. Now you want to make sure that the joint doesn't curve but is straight. If there is a curve in it when pulling the other areas in tight this can create stresses on other areas and can result in one of the veneers going under the other when being pressed. If this occurs re run the joints of the jointer. I tend to check this before any veneer tape is placed over it.

Once totally happy with the tightness from the veneer tape on the two pieces run a long veneer tape strip right down the middle of the joint.

If there are any gaps in the joint the polyurethane will fill it up. One of the many positives with this glue also it will meld well with the oils and waxes that I will be using. If there is a gap it should only be about a hair line fracture.

I noticed that one of the drawer box tops was not place on the veneer properly it seemed off centered.

The red pencil is the new line. This is why its so important to check over everything before doing any pressing. As you can see the gray lead line shows the shape off centered, more towards the bottom. Theres more grain on the right side compared to the left just past the large growth ring patterns towards the outer side.

To me this looked weird and needed to be changed.

Now this drawer box shape is not a normal trapezium one side is meant to be longer than the other on purpose. So this can make it hard trying to get the right center point at boths ends since if you think about it there are two different center points not just one. This is if your running both center points at 90 deg.

Before pressing the veneer parts I need to cut off the off cut sections. Now these off cuts of veneer will still get used for later projects that require marquetry. I place these off cuts in a plastic box that I made for the figured maple off cuts.

Drawer box lids ready to be pressed again.

Before any pressing takes place I need to flatten the veneers as best as I can since some of the figured maple is buckled. If I don't get this flat and try and press it there is a chance that it will break in many different areas causing the need to a nightmarish repair.

Like with the Fijian Mahogany I don't need to get it totally flat just work able so the veneers wont split when being pressed.

To get them flat I was going to follow the same process that I used for the Fijian Mahogany. I place this cloth material between each veneer face and sprayed it with water. You don't need heaps of water just enough to dampen the material. I just used the drawer box lid cauls to press up the veneers.

What the material will do is that the moisture that is placed into the veneers it will draw it up into itself.

I will undo the clamps when it is all dry. Its best to leave this over night. I will be pressing it up straight away the next day. Its best to press your work up quickly after this since if you don't it will just go back to its natural state. Remember its a natural material and its always wanting to move even when its no longer in log form.

Sanding all the texter marks and pencil marks. The figured maple veneer is a little bit translucent especially when placing up against the light. Best not to take my chances with leaving writing on the substrate faces there could be a chance that this could show up under the veneer. Just used a 180 grit on this didn't need a powerful grit. I also used this time to sand off the tape.

Scoring and sanding the veneers before applying glue. Doing this to open poors and create a better bonding surface.

Using the Shelly's Polyurethane since it worked well on the test piece.

Spreading out the polyurethane across the substrate panel.

This is the last time I will use blue chalk on really blond veneer. There could be the possibility that this can stain this. Plus also If I choose to flatten out the pieces with moisture I will do this before I place veneer tape on them. While placing the veneer onto the glued substrate and placing the tape to prevent the veneers from slipping it moved the veneers away from one another breaking apart the joint.

Also I forgot to use distilled water. So next time I will need to use distilled water on the figured maple.

Pressed up job and will e left in press for about 4 hours.

There are a few reasons why this joint looks un neat and has opened. Trying to hide the veneer seam line with really blond timber like maple is really hard. The veneer seam line needs to be totally straight and clean. You can get away with quarter sawn veneer since the veneer seam line will be hidden amongst the grain. Plus since the wenge is really dark if the seam line is opened it wont be noticed since the glue from the polyurethane will meld well with the oils and waxes.

I talked to my tafe teacher and he gave me a few different solutions to not necessarily fix this but to prevent it from happening further with the other veneer joints with the figured maple. The book matching is all neat its just the veneer joint. At the moment, even in the clean sections it looks way to dominate.

This can not be repaired. The only way to hide this is by adding in stringy inlay. The inlay will fit in with the design, luckily. The inlay will be 2mm wide and this will fit in with the 2mm wide spline joints in the drawer boxes. The stringy inlay will be the same colour as the spline work. The stringy inlay will fit in well with the diamond housing and the edging around it. The inlay cant not be that wide since I don't want it to take the attention away from the veneer book matching. I only want it to cover up the veneer joint.

Reasons why this happened and how to improve: 

  • Due to the veneer buckling when being pressed down the veneer pieces have a chance of pushing away from one another. This can also make them push towards one another as well which is what happened with one of the panels with the Fijian Mahogany. To prevent this you can use small brads and tape them into the veneer at the ends connecting it to the veneer substrate. Do this to each connection piece, but do it in the off cut section where it will be cut out but not in the alignment of the saw blade. This will prevent the veneer from slipping in all directions. I'm finding now when placing the tape down pulls the veneers away from one another a little bit. 
Even though I pressed the veneers with moisture in it and left over night they were still a little bit buckled. I don't think that they are that buckled where I will need to add that chemical mixture that I talked about.

With this veneer it can be a bit miss leading. The joints look clean when placed up to another ( there may be small sections that don't seem too bad) but when totally 100 percent flattened out these sections will double in gaping.
  • Running veneer seam lines over the jointer: If the jig is not totally flat over the blades and fence it will cause the edge of the veneer to angle.

Yes this is only .6mm of an angle but still opens up the joint. I could have used the fence with the pieces I was doing but I would not be able to use the clamps. I needed clamp pressure in the middle and with the really big pieces I was doing I wasn't able to get effective clamp pressure in the middle since I could only screw screws in from the ends where the veneer did not interfere with the sandwiched timber. I could probably still use clamps if I built an extended straight edge sled bar off from it. The sled bar would rest up against the fence and the clamps would still be clamping the boards together creating effective clamp pressure.

(will add in sketch to make more sense of it)

If the veneer seam line doesn't sit totally flat and totally clean the edge can cause high and low points. This can also causing tapering and other factors. If there are high points these points will connect with one another but the lower points wont. If you try to pull the low points closer to one another to tighten the joint ( when placing veneer tape over it) This will put pressure on the high points which can cause them to slip under one another. ( this is what happened with the Fijian mahogany.) I'm pretty sure this is the main cause to what happened to my veneers not connecting properly to one another with my figured maple.

Another reason is that there could be some chipping caused. This is because the veneer pieces have not been run over the jointer properly with the grain from the veneer facing the right way.

  • In one of the veneer books I bought it suggests making a clamp router jig to clean the veneer. The good thing with the router is that the RPM is a lot higher than  the jointer so the router bit will be faster and cause a cleaner cutter. Plus with this jig you can add in more pieces with still obtaining a clean edge due to stronger clamping pressure. Plus with the router you can adjust the speeds. 
I might further expand on this and make up a router jig for this. Will post up a separate post for this documenting the process for this.

Could also make a jig for the spindle moulder as well but since I have limited use to this I might put my efforts into the router jig.

  • Another way of obtaining a clean joint is going back to the old hand tool principals. Using a hand planer. Just use a number 8 or 7 jointer plane and lock the veneer in a vice secured between to pieces of timber. Make sure that the blade is razor sharp. When doing this you can see how much you are actually taking off and you will also find that you will obtain a very clean joint. Only take off small amounts each pass. But with this there must be effective clamp pressure right across the how length of the sandwiched boards. 

These were the early final concepts for the final piece.

Current pics below show the modifications that have been made to the drawer boxes. Some things will also be changed on these later on as certain sections I'm not completely happy with and some of the structural properties still need to be figured out.

Top section has fold out lids. Fold line in the middle. middle section is the diamond housing section that will have a brass loop positioned inside where a Japanese coin will be connected to it to act as a pull handle. At the bottom of the housing will have to add in some veneer that matches up with the rest of the book matching. Will just grab this from one of the other leafs. The red line will be the inlay, (known as string inlay this will only be about 2mm wide.). I needed to add this since to cover up the joint. The joint looks way to dominate and unfortunately left a gaping since the veneer pieces slipped apart when being pressed.

The wenge will be much darker than this when the danish oil and wax is added to it.

The drawer boxes are meant to be a slanted trapezium. One side made longer on purpose to the other. 

To continue the pattern will add the stringy inlay on the base as well where the veneer seam line is. The inlay will only be added when the final shape size template is transfered to it. This is the same for the top.

I had to re do the other set of drawer box lid veneer pieces since the veneer joints were done quite poorly and needed to be fixed up. Plus also needed to place new veneer tape over the joints since the old stuff had come apart due to the moisture breaking down the adhesive bond on the tape when being pressed over night.

Make sure to run the veneer pieces over the jointer in the correct way. Making sure that the grain is facing the right way.

The hand press was in use and had to use the vacuum press for the next glue up. These cauls were not meant to be used in the vacuum press. The top caul I had to router the edge so it would not damage the vacuum pressure matting.

I decided to use tight bond 1 with this since I needed more work time due to having to knock brads into the veneer to connect it to the substrate. I knocked the brads into the 20mm offset sections. This was merely just to see how well this ill work. These drawer box tops will still have the stringy inlay inserted into them down the veneer joint.

To apply the glue evenly I spread it out with a paint roller.

Just needed to add in a small pressure caul in the middle to provide central pressure to the middle of the clamp job in the vacuum press. Normally the cauls for this job if going into the vacuum press should be a bit bigger, just wasnt prepared to press it up in the vacuum press and was a little bit pressed for time.

Began book matching the drawer base bottoms. They needed to be the same book matching as the top. To make sure the mirrored angle was right I used one of the offcuts from the book matching of the drawer box lids.

Booked matched view from the mirrored jig. It is slightly different due to these sections of the veneer leaf being in a different section of the log.

Doubled checked with one of the drawer box lids that this book match was right.

Again to obtain an effective book match the grain with all the sheets need to line up to one another. To make things easier just draw a line down that matched up with all the sheets.

So the sheets would not move while cutting taped them together with blue painters tape. 

Making the cut. When one cut is done the off cut is flipped over at 180 deg and kept separate. The bunch of offcuts will be kept to together and number as well. This is encase I want to use a book matching later down the track for something else.

Taped off cuts together with blue tape and placed into figured maple off cut box.

Placing veneer parts together to see how book matching went.

Placing drawer box base over veneer connection. Making sure that the central point of the bottom and top both co-line with the veneer seam line.  I want the veneer joint line to run in the center line of the drawer box base.

Once out line the veneer parts have the off cuts trimmed off. These off cuts are than placed into the off cut container which will be used for other projects, like marquetry projects. The veneer part is than marked with a triangle and also is numbered and named to what drawer box base it will be either top, bottom for left or right.

Veneer parts clamped under cauls and will have the seam lines cleaned up on the jointer. At the mean time they are not ready to have the joints cleaned yet. 

Unfortunately I ran into a problem. The drawer box lids that I pressed up last week in the vacuum press did not glue up properly. 

Now this could be for a few different reasons. 

Reason one

The clamp cauls I used didn't have enough over hang. These cauls were meant to be used for the other press not so much this one. I don't really think this would be the case since the poor bond is all over the place. 

Reason two: 

The press job might have been too high. Normally I don't try and veneer two things at once on the vacuum press. This may be the main unlikely cause since the vacuum press is quite strong. 

Reason three: 

There was not enough glue. You have to be careful when using the paint roller since when spreading out the glue most of it will be lost and taken into the fiber cloth of the roller. What I reckon has happen here is that it has not bonded properly since there is not enough glue which in turn the glue has dried faster due to not being a thick enough layer. Basically the glue joint has been starved 

For one of the drawer box lids this meant carefully removing the veneer from the substrate with a knife and a small 150mm ruler. You want to use sort of a sliding technique gradually trying to loosen the veneer from the substrate. I had to cut around the brads to loosen the veneer. You want to be careful not to tear the veneer.

The other drawer box had some loose parts in it as well but this was mainly at the edges. You can do a taping technique which is just flicking the veneer and hearing if there are any opened cavity sections. You will tell the difference in sound to a properly bonded section to a none bond section. The none bonded sections gives off a hollow soft taping sound where the properly bond section gives off a loud tap sound.

I tried this on the middle section of this drawer box lid and I could hear no difference in sounds. I didn't want to try and remove the veneer like I did with the other one since there could be a high chance that I would tear out the veneer. So I decided to go along with this one and take it to the next stage. The outside loose sections will still need to have glued place in and pressed again. If I get to the stage where I have made the opening cut down the middle and have found loose parts in the veneer I will have to try and stick glue inside the loose sections and press again.

Luckily I was able to get the whole veneer piece off in contact. There was a little bit of damage but luckily this was mostly in the off cut section.

The brads that I used to keep the veneer from slipping helped out heaps the joint is a lot cleaner than the first ones. So I know that I will be using this for the other maple veneer stages.

Before gluing again I had to sand the substrate glue face again and score the veneer face again to create a new bonding surface. I had to remove the old glue layer that was there. This time I planned on using the polyurethane.

Cleaned off the masking tape on the bottoms of the drawer box bases with the cabinet scraper and orbital sander. This tape was from when using it to prevent the wenge veneer from slipping when being pressed.

Had to stick glue under the loose sections using a putty knife as a glue applicator. The small ruler was really meant to be used as a lifting mechanism so I could get the glue inside with the putty knife. 

Once all loose sections were found pressed it down with clamps and left for a couple of hours. I used scrap timber that would spread the pressure weight out evenly from the clamps. It also protected the veneer faces from being damaged from the G- clamps. Under the pieces of timber I used baking paper to prevent the timber from sticking to the veneer. As for the bottom I just used one of the clamping cauls to protect the wenge veneer from being damaged from the clamps.

Wet the surface with the water spray bottle than spread out the polyurethane glue evenly across the glue face on the substrate of the drawer box lid.

Pressed up the job between two of the pressure cauls. I made sure that all the clamp pressure from each clamp would at least cross into one anthers pressure spread path. There is a diagram that I posted on this in one of my earlier posts on veneering.

Drawer box parts:

Started to do all the grain matching for the figured maple for the drawer box fronts, sides and back.

At first I wanted a nice sort of back sawn grain figure on the fronts that would connect to the sides and back. For starters this wasn't really possible in some circumstances.

If I was going to do a back sawn figured grain choice than the two top will need to have the grain running in connection with one another along with the bottoms as well. Due to the shape of the design of the drawer boxes and the fact that wanting to pull them out of the whole cabinet and using them individually from the cabinet I wanted the grain to run in a matching alignment from the long side to the front to the short side and back. 

Although it would be impossible to completely match the back to the sides. 

Think of it this way 

( add in sketch drawing ) 

Think of the drawer box sides,front and back as a long strip that has the fold sections where the joint connections are going to be. Now picture a grain figure running from one end to the other. Now both ends are going to be completely different. Now if you fold them on the joint lines and connect up the outer side (at left end) wont match up to the back (right end) as they begin in a different figured grain pattern. 

I can  get all 4 sections to match up its just I cant get the end section to match up 100 percent to the original starting point when placed together. 

I think as well with the way I have gone about in the processes of machining I would be setting my self up for a bit of a hectic moment. 

Let me explain. 

Ok I have left offsets on all edges of the parts because of the veneering. Now when you take these offsets away they are going to effect the alignment of the grain since parts of it are taken away now. So each part which was once connected up to one another in grain alignment wont be to connect properly. 

You could easily do this with solid timber if you kept all pieces in the same board, but just counting in th saw cut thickness from the blade. Now I could do this with the veneer but I would need to cut the veneer parts to their final finished size or very close like 1-2mm. If I did this I would be setting my self up for mistakes and a hard time. With veneering you want to leave an offset encase the ends of the veneer don't bond well to the substrate, encase the veneers slip on the substrates during the bonding process, if you damage an edge or the edge gets rolled when sanding. 

Plus also if I'm wanting to use a back sawn figured look on the drawer fronts I would need to run the two top drawer boxes or bottom drawer boxes over two different veneer leafs. These veneer leafs have to be next to one another in the lay up number sequence. 

What I would need to do is select a section in the veneer that I want to use as the front drawer front. I would than need to centralize the pattern (meaning mark out the length of the drawer front and mark the middle point where I want the central point in the grain pattern.) After cutting the fronts out from both the leafs I would than need to flip either the right or the left drawer front veneer piece to 180 deg on the x axis, ( this is so now the grains will run in alignment, this is so they would be book matched.) 

Now before I did this speaking hypothetically I was flipping the right side drawer front veneer piece. I would need to make sure that I was matching up the sides to the front in the opposite way to the left.


Left side: short side -matches- front side- matches to long side

Right side long side-matches- front side- matches to short side. 

This is because I am flipping the the front side so when I do this after the flipping it the right long side will be on the same side as the lefts long side and the same with the short sides. 

But even when doing this it still would not match up the back final edge to the original starting point edge. 

I could easily Just have the matches of the fronts in alignment with one another but have the sides different but this would look silly when taking out the drawer boxes. Remember the drawer boxes need to be seen individually to the whole cabinet its self. 

I had thought about having just the back sawn feature on the fronts but having the on the other parts the main figured fiddle back look. If I was going to do this I would need to make sure that I take off even amounts on either side of the drawer fronts where they meet up so it matches properly.

I am still considering this and even though I have cut up the parts already I can still change it since I have not glued the front veneers to the substrate panels yet.

I will need to see aesthetically what it looks like in connection to having a back sawn look to it matching up to the sides where it has a fiddle back look. It may actually work but at the moment all the parts are the fiddle back sections. The fiddle back was mostly in the sap wood section where the heart wood section didn't really have any of the fiddle back grain feature.

Remember in the end the drawer front veneer is only going to be 80mm high, plus also there is going to be a diamond housing placed in the middle and edging with it.  Will need to come back to this and see what this looks like before I glue the front veneer to the substrate.

One of the main reasons why I choose the fiddle back sections as the main body of the drawer sides, front and back is because it has quite an even grain under the fiddle back ripples. So matching to the backs to both the ends of the sides is quite easy.

As you can see  this is what I am talking about with the grain structure to this figured maple. The fiddle back is more to the sides. The most of the fiddle back is more to the top side. The middle of the leafs does give off a really nice grain pattern though.

Used my ruler as an indication as to what I could get out of this veneer. At first was considering on using the middle section and not the fiddle back.

Roughly placed out my parts and see where I wanted the grain to run down.

Found a central point I was thinking of using to be the middle point of the drawer box fronts.

This was before I decided on using the main fiddle back grain structure.

Also drew in my finished size and what would be my offset size. This would give me a rough idea as to what grain sections I would loose.

Decided on using the fiddle back sections based on the above questioning. Although I have not completely decided on whether to use the back sawn grain patter for the front or just keep it a fiddle back look.

Placed out the sections of one of the drawer boxes. From the top it is the back, short side, front than long side. Now if I decide on using the back sawn instead of the fiddle back section the fiddle back section will not get wasted it will be used for another project or some sections of this project at a later date.

Drew out a triangle connection point and coded it. This will give me a reference point to draw back to when the veneer sections are glued to the substrate panels.

This is the back face veneer starting edge matching up with the long side face veneer ending edge. As you can see it matches up quite well even though they are at both ends of the veneer leaf.

Labeled the parts on pieces of paper with painters tape. I decided not to mark them with the chalk encase the chalk stains the veneer. The blue painters tape wont damage the veneer when being taken off. When gluing the veneer to the substrate I will name the part on the substrate edge.

Parts placed in piles for each drawer box and ready to be veneered.

Before veneering began I needed to remove the old painters tape from the substrate face. This was left over when using it to prevent the wenge veneer from slipping when being pressed. Now this is the last time I use the yellow painters tape. The yellow painters tape is pretty much the same as normal masking tape. It sticks too much to the veneer and can cause ripping of the grain when lifting it off. The blue painters tape is a lot better and I will be using this from now on.

Tape removed from substrate face with cabinet scraper.

Used orbital sander to sand down veneer faces to remove any adhesive marks left over from the tape also to remove any marks made from the scrapers.

Scored all the substrate glue faces than sanded down with 240 grit.

Began applying the polyurethane glue to two of the short sides of the drawer boxes. Applied water down first from the spray bottle to speed up the curing process. Evenly spread out the glue with a small painters scraper.

Taped down veneer to substrate with blue veneer tape to prevent veneer from slipping when clamping up.

Parts in cauls and ready to be pressed up.

Parts pressed up and now will be left for over 4 hours for the curing to fully finish.

Same principals as before began gluing up two of the long sides.

Pressed up and will be left for over 4 hours to fully cure.

Placed weight of the other parts to prevent buckling.

Veneering the next stage of short sides and long sides for the drawer boxes.

Clamped up and will be left for four hours.

Deiced on going with the change and re picking the veneer for the drawer fronts for the drawer boxes. I think it would look best by seeing the two top/ bottom drawer fronts matching one another. Having a continued grain pattern running from one drawer front to the other will look more appealing especially when opening up the cabinet. doors.

I at first choose to use this veneer selection as the top two drawer fronts. But later on changed my mind since they didn't match up with the bottom ones ( same veneer selection in leaf numbering system). Also I found that the bottom section had a lot more fiddle back and wanted to continue that on the top drawer fronts. This first selection of veneer didn't really have any fiddle back.

I think If I am having a more back sawn look on the drawer front having it with a much fiddle back as I could would connect more to the sides. This picture here is taken to show roughly how it would look like. Its actually not that bad aesthetically.

Needed to make sure that the two pairs had to be next to one another when coming to fit up. This is so the grain pattern would match up between one another. Between the two drawers there is about 14mm from the edging.

Decided on cutting some new veneer since I did not like the previous chosen stuff. ( what I just stated before) This veneer section was short enough for me to use a straight edge to cut it with a veneer saw. I don't like using scissors that much since it cracks the veneer and causes splits. Some times I do need to use the scissors. If you do end up having to use scissors make sure your job is on the right side of the scissors when cutting. The splitting will occur on the left, just take your time and try to limit the cracking.

These were the two matches. The top section is the new section that I cut out. The top section was from the veneer leaf before the bottom section in the veneer leaf numbering sequence. With the pack I have for the figured maple. Each leaf in the number sequence changes a lot in certain areas with the grain patterns. As you can see that the bottom one is the same as the top its just some of the grain patterns are smaller now.

I really like the fiddle back with these and I am glad I made the change.

Decided to just roughly place the veneers in the same alignment that they would be in when assembled in the cabinet. The fiddle back really brings it out heaps, really enhances it a lot more.

This is the angel that the veneer would be displayed at on the drawer fronts when the drawer boxes are inside the cabinet.

Wanted to also see what the bottom section you look like.

Now I needed to give my self some notes with this to look on when coming to the cutting stage. The bottom drawer fronts need to have even offsets cut off. This is so it does not take too much of the pattern way. The drawers are only going to be 80mm in height. As for the top veneer fronts more needs to be taken off the tops compared to the bottom. Also when cutting the drawer fronts to the right size length. More needs to be taken off at the out side end not so much at the inside edge. I only want to cut off a small amount at the inside ends. If I cut off too much it will wreck the grain pattern that I'm trying to achieve.

Drawer front veneers are now ready to be veneered to the substrate panels.

Applying the polyurethane to the substrate faces.

First two drawer fronts pressed up under clamps in clamp cauls.

Did the same procedures for the next two. Just placed the painters tape on the veneer to the substrate to avoid slipping when being pressed up. Now it is ready to be pressed up in between the pressure clamp cauls.

Applying the glue to the back substrate panels of the drawer boxes.

Placed veneer down and taped to prevent veneer from slipping from the substrate when being pressed up. I also labeled parts as to what back they were for either the top/ bottom left or right.

Clamped jobs up and will need to leave for 4 hours for the polyurethane to dry.

Drawer box bottoms 

Before connecting the veneer parts together I needed to clean the seam joint. I needed to place this between two boars and screw together at the ends. This is would clamp the veneers together and make it easier to obtain a clean joint. With this you need to make sure that your feeding the veneer over the jointer in the right direction. If it is not in the right direction you will get splits and you will find you wont obtain a clean joint.

Once I was happy with the seam line joints they could be connected together with the veneer tape.

Scored and sanded the glue faces.

Applied water down first with spray bottle to start curing process with the polyurethane. Applied polyurethane over substrate glue face and spread out with small painters scraper.

To prevent the veneer some slipping and opening up the seam joint I needed to knock small brads into the offset sections. Since the base veneer substrate panels were a lot thiner than the brads length. I needed to cut down the brads.

Pressed up in press between pressure cauls. This needed to be left in the press for 4 hours.

After the four hours passed took this out of the press and pressed up the two other veneer jobs. This followed the same steps as above.


Began cutting out the figured maple veneer for the divisions. I didn't need to do a book match for this since it wasn't really going to get seen that much. I planned on doing a good slip matching though.

I made sure to have the grain of the substrate running in the opposite direction compared to the veneer. You want to continue the grain orientation to make the panel more structurally balanced.

The Divisions were too long to obtain from one piece of veneer. I wanted the span width of one of the veneer leafs to be placed in the middle of the division. The other sides of it I would be the half way point of the width of a veneer leaf.

I wanted to try and keep most of the fiddle back sections close to one another.

Even though you would not see the division that much I still wanted a good slip match. I marked the connection sections with triangles and coded them. I also drew arrows in the direction as to what edge I wanted the front to be. I also marked whether it was going to be a left or right. The left and right faces would be a mirrored face of one another so the veneers had to be totally the same. This is where using the over cut veneers that I had still stacked in milled order came in handy.

Left and right faces. The veneers also needed to be placed in the right upward direction, like the way in which a tree would grow.

All sections were cut with the veneer saw.

Veneer parts are now ready to have the seam lines cleaned than jointed together than pressed. What I might try with this press job is instead of connecting the veneer pieces together with veneer tape use painters blue tape. I was told by a friend this works a lot better and you get a far better joint thats a lot tighter together.

The only thing with this is that you need to make sure you remove the adhesive marks.

Needed to cut some of the MDF scrap to make pressure cauls for pressing up the veneers. I needed to cut a top, middle and bottom caul.

Placed baking paper on all faces that would come in contact with glue. 

Started to run the veneer pieces for the divisions over the jointer to clean the seam joints. If the joints for this are slightly opened I'm not that overly fust since these sections will not get seen much or not at all. Plus I'm doing a little experiment with the glue up for these to see if it works. I plan on using the painters tape to connect the veneers together instead of the veneer tape. I will still be using the brads as this will give even better prevention of having the veneer pieces drifting away from one another.

The experiment will work a lot better when I clean the seam lines on the router jig with the spiral straight cutters. But for now I need to use the jointer, need to keep moving with this project.

To prevent the veneer pieces from flopping around when running over the jointer. I used a paper clip to keep them together at the top. This would prevent the chance of knocking the veneers and splitting them.

Attaching the veneer pieces together. Before even applying glue I have found that the painters tape brings the joints in tighter. It will be good to see what this is like on a larger scale. The painters tape has a very low adhesive bond strength so when removing it from the veneer it wont tear out and will be easy to clean off the adhesive residue.

Before applying the glue needed to score and sand the substrate glue faces.
Applied the polyurethane and spread it out evenly with the painter scraper.

Attached veneer tape to the outside sections to prevent veneer slipping. Also knocked in brads to prevent the joints from slipping away from one another. I just needed to make sure that I knocked the brads into the offset areas that will be cut out and wont interfere with the saw blade.

Pressed up in hand press and will need to leave for 4 hours.

Top carcass panel: 

Started to select the veneer for the top carcass panel for the cabinet. I wanted to create a V booking matching for this that would span out from the front towards the back. I did not need to be a overly great V book matching like the drawer box lids since this section you wont see that much. This is because this is the top panel inside the drawer box cavity in the cabinet. Plus the drawer division would be blocking the center point as well.  Also some of the drawer guides block it as well.

The bottom drawer carcass panel (cabinet base) and the inside of the top drawer carcass panel and the bottom section of the cabinet base will also be like this as well.

These sections will give me the opportunity to test the veneer router jig and see how well it works before trying it on the other sections that really need a clean veneer joint. These sections are the Ikebana base, the inside of the front door flaps and back doors, the sides and the bottom section that faces into the Ikebana cavity of the top bottom panel of the drawer box section.

This was not the piece I was planning on using. But I wanted to see what kind of V matching patterns I could achieve that could be applied to this substrate panel. 

Not the best pic but this is the sort of V book matching orientation I would like to have displayed on the top carcass panel. I would like the bottom V section to be placed at the front.

After a bit of playing around I came up with this. This is not set in concrete but me made me think. To have an interesting look for the Ikebana base and the top section I had though of doing a 4 way grain matching in the middle of the substrate panel. 

I would not bother having this for the top carcass panel see it would be worthless for all the work involved for a section that would not really get seen that much. 

Wanted to get a rough idea as to what the side divisions would look like with the bottom veneer section.

Quite happy with the way the grain orientation looks. Again not the best pic.

The center line of the top carcass panel was 575mm long. This meant that the diagonal line from the 'V' booking matching needed to be this length as well. I had to write out all the dimensions for this since I needed to repeat this for the other sections ( cabinet base both faces, bottom section of Ikebana base and inside face of top panel for drawer boxes)

To get the 'V' book matching right I needed to use the right leaf section from the next leaf layer in the number lay up pile. 

Taped veneer pieces together to prevent veneers from slipping away from one another when cutting down on the book match joint line.

Clamped down to table with a waste board under neath. This would ensure I get a clean cut.

Section cut from veneer saw.

'V' book matching opened up. Some of the grain will be lost when the offsets are cut off. Probably should the orientation closer to the front so that heaps of the back part would not be cut off. 

Now I needed to do some slip matching for the sides that would connect to the central 'V' book matching. Used the T sqaure to get a straight edge on the veneer section. Referenced this off from the edge of the big board I have on the table. This is mostly straight. This is not meant to be a totally straight reference to draw from.

It is very hard to get a good slip matching with this. I was just using what small sections I had left over. I did not particular want to start cutting into the the other veneer leafs to try and get a really good slip match since these particular panel wasn't really worth it since it would not get seen that much.

I still managed to get a really good slip match that I was happy with.

Sections chosen. I wanted to get a lot of fiddle back in these sections. Made triangle connection points and number the veneer parts.

I taped the joints together with painters tape to prevent them from moving apart while I placed the top carcass panel onto it and traced the shape onto it. 

Tracing shape onto veneers. 

Labeled parts as to how they were to be arranged again in the offset sections.

I will keep these veneers as a whole when cleaning the seam lines. When the seam lines are cleaned I will than cut the offcut veneer sections off tape sections together and press veneer to substrate panel. I would like to clean the seam lines for this on the veneer router jig to see how well it works. When I press this panel I will connect the joints with the painters tape and knock brads in near the connection points in the offset sections to prevent the joints from opening up.

Before the seam lines got cleaned and before getting pressed I placed the veneer parts between cauls and placed weight on them. It gets pretty cold in my work shop and there is a lot of moisture in the air. Since there is a lot of moisture in the air it starts to make the veneers buckle, due to moisture entering it. That is why it is important for me to place veneers with weight on it when not being used. 

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