JoeWoodworker Veneer
The Official Website of this Non-Professional Woodworker ™

Part 1

Veneering Basics
14 Good Reasons
Vacuum Press Uses
Vacuum Press Options
Questions & Answers
Part 2
DIY Vacuum Press Plans

Vacuum Press Chart
Project: EVS™
Project: EVS-2™
Project: V4™
Project: CRS™
Excel 1™
Excel 3™
Excel 5™
Part 3
Vacuum Bagging

Vacuum Bag Basics
Polyurethane vs. Vinyl
DIY Vacuum Bags
Connect the Bag
Bag Closures
Bag Platens
Breather Mesh 
DIY Frame Press
Part 4
Veneering Information

About Veneer
Veneering Glossary
Veneering Myths
Balancing a Panel
Veneer Glues
Veneering Tips
Substrate Materials
Flattening Veneers
A Sharp Veneer Saw
Jointing Veneers
Taping Veneers
Dealing with Defects
Curing Glued Panels
Veneering w/o Vacuum
Hammer Veneering
Iron-On Veneering
Veneer Storage
Amazing Bookmatches
Edgebanding Guide
Paper-Backed Veneer

Part 5
Miscellaneous Info

Vacuum Press FAQ
Veneering FAQ 
Veneer Glue FAQ
Vacuum Forming
Vacuum Clamping Pedal
Vacuum Clamping Jigs
Vacuum Clamp Matrix
DIY Vacuum Manifold
Vacuum Press Gallery 1
Vacuum Press Gallery 2


Vacuum Veneering - Tips, Tricks, and More!

Veneer Seams: Making Large Panels from Small Veneers

It can be a challenge to find highly figured veneers in large sizes so you may find it necessary to join two or more pieces of veneer together to make a large panel. The good news is that this method can reveal some amazing results that can only be achieved with veneer. Using the right tools, the process is simple and nearly fool-proof. Click the picture on the right to see how four sheets of a lesser grade walnut burl veneer are quad matched to achieve a visually appealing effect. Even the most mundane veneers offer stunning character potential when book-matched or quad-matched.

Part 1: Edge Trimming
You can use any number of methods to prepare the veneers for edge to edge joining. The method you choose may depend upon factors such as the thickness/quality of the veneer and the size of the seam. For some joints, you can clamp the veneer(s) between two boards and trim the edges with a flush trimming router bit, low angle block plane, or even a stationary jointer. Though some claim success with a razor knife, I've never been able to get a perfect joint line with one and I don't even try anymore since the results have been so spotty.

My opinion is that the best jointing method requires a veneer saw. You'll find these saws very easy to use. And though they are made for right handed users and though I am a lefty, I've found little difficulty in using my right hand for the work.

A veneer saw is not an expensive tool yet it cuts a perfect seam every time if it's properly sharpened. Just make sure the saw has the correct tooth profile before you begin. Click here for more information regarding blade grinds. You can buy a dual edge veneer saw from me and I will sharpen it for you if you wish. You can also sharpen your own saw with the technique described here.

Start with two flat pieces of veneer. For more information on flattening veneers, click here. Ideally, these veneers should be taken in the order in which they were sliced from the log. This is often referred to as sequential order which is what most veneer suppliers offer.

For the most pleasing effect, the veneers should be laid side by side with one veneer face up and the other face down (with the same edges touching each other). This is called book matching. This way, one veneer is mirroring the other. For straight grained veneers, this minimizes the visual effect of using multiple veneers to lay up a single panel. If you are using a figured veneer (especially a burl veneer), book matching can uncover some very intriguing patterns.

The Veneer Sawing Technique
Place a ¾" straight-edged piece of MDF, plywood, or hardwood over the "keeper" side (in other words, you are sawing off the waste side of the veneer). For a clean joint line, it is imperative that the straight-edge be absolutely true.

The saw is designed to cut on the pull stroke only. Start in front of the veneer so the blade is already in motion when it comes in contact with the veneer. Place adequate pressure downward on saw and be certain to keep it pressed against the straight-edge. It typically takes 4 to 7 passes with most species to cut through a veneer. Keep the saw moving past the veneer so the ends are cut cleanly. This method has always given me perfect results.

Using A Veneer Saw

The straight edge I am using in this example is piece of walnut that has been passed across my jointer. It has a nice, clean edge. I placed some 100 grit self adhesive sandpaper on the bottom side of the board to help keep the veneers from shifting while being cut.

When the cutting is finished, lay the two veneers together with the cut sides adjacent to each other. The grain patterns in the veneer should mirror each other almost perfectly if the veneers were cut evenly and if the veneers are laid up in the sequence from which they were sliced from the log. If the pattern is off a bit at one side, you may have to cut one or both veneers again.

Imperfect Straight-Edge Tools
If you find a gap along the seam/joint, it is possible that your straight-edge is not perfectly straight. In this case you can place the two veneers with one slightly overlapping the other (both facing up) and saw a straight line down the middle. Your straightedge will not have to be perfect because you will be sawing reciprocal parts at the same time. Just saw lightly so the keeper piece on the opposite side of the straightedge doesn't tear up. Click here for a drawing of this technique.

Pattern Shift Problems
Within a bundle of veneer, there can be a shift or movement of the figure pattern. A slight degree of shift can be expected since no two slices of veneer will ever be exactly the same. There is also a machine-made shift that occurs during the trimming process at the mill. For the veneer user, this means you might not be able to get a perfect bookmatch just by stacking the veneers directly over each other and make the joint cut.

Helpful Ideas
The solution is simple. After you have established the desired pattern with the veneers you are using for the bookmatch, mark the proposed joint line on the first sheet of the veneer set. Use a veneer saw at the line you have drawn and cut the first sheet only. Lay that veneer on top of the next veneer sheet in the bundle so that it is mirrored/bookmatched. You'll need need to move the veneers around a bit until you see the perfect mirror image at the cut edge of the first veneer sheet. When the first sheet is laid on the second so that there is a perfect "reflection", draw a sharp pencil line on the second veneer. This is your cut line for the second sheet.

Frequently Used Veneering Words or Phrases

Book Matching - Laying up two or more veneers side by side with opposite faces showing. This method can yield some amazing results with figured and burl veneers.

Book Matched Veneer

Slip Matching - Laying up two of more veneers side by side with the same face showing on each. This is often done on quartersawn veneers to eliminate the barber pole effect in which light reflects differently from every other piece of veneer in the lay up.

Slip Matched Veneer

Butt Matching - Laying up two or more veneers end to end with opposite faces showing.

Butt Matched Veneer

Quad Matching - A combination of book matching and butt matching in which four or more veneers are laid up side by side and end to end. As with book matching, this can create the most interesting patterns. To do this, you will need four sequential veneers. Play around with the rotation of the veneers to find the most pleasing or outrageous pattern. Cut and join two sets of two veneers using the technique above. Then use a veneer saw to cut the mating edges of the bookmatched pair to get a clean joint line for the final edge (making the quad match).

Quad Matched Veneer

Sunburst Layup - A process of cutting veneers into pie slice pieces and laying them side by side with alternating face direction. This type of arrangement can create a stunning effect on even the most ordinary veneers. They are time consuming to make but the results can be outstanding.

Sunburst Veneer

Part 2: Seam Taping

Yes, Joe is a practicing Catholic
The Vac FAQ
Heat Lock Veneer Glue
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