12 November 2012

The Shot Edge

Quite a bit of the stuff I make involves veneering of one sort or another, usually for a back panel or more often for a carcase side(s) and I'll often use commercial grade veneer (0.6mm thick) but these days I much prefer to saw my own on the big bandsaw.

No matter what sort of veneer is used though, it's still got to be jointed...somehow.

And therein lies the difficulty...or could be if you don't go about it the right way.

When I first started to veneer stuff several years ago, I tried all sorts of ways to get that elusive pair of mating edges.  The obvious way is to use a steel straight edge and knife, but a Stanley blade has a double bevel, so even if you manage to cut a pair accurately, they meet with a 'V' which simply isn't acceptable.

The next alternative is to use a single bevel knife and I found the best ones were made from an oddment of machine hacksaw blade...grind it correctly, wrap a piece of masking tape round one end and you've made yourself a wicked little knife.  Use this against a thick piece of 18mm mdf and provided the veneer doesn't splinter when it's sliced, you may be onto a winner...

...except that 99 times out of a 100, the damn stuff will splinter no matter how carefully and methodically you make the cuts.

The only way to give yourself a fighting chance to produce pair of mating edges is to make a veneer shooting board, where a couple of consecutive leaves are cramped and then shot in using the longest plane you can get lay your hands on..in this case it's 'Big Woody' on the runway.

The veneer shoot is fine for commercial veneer, but it's also essential if you use bandsawn veneer, which can be 2mm and upwards in thickness... your'e on a hiding to nothing if you try and cut the stuff with a knife!  It could be cut on the tablesaur or with a router, but the veneer shoot is by far the easiest method.

Once all the leaves have been jointed, apply the veneer tape, glue and then slide swiftly...

...into the AirPress bag for a couple of hours.  I usually cover the job with paper to prevent any glue 'squeeze out' sticking to the inside of the bag and I also only veneer one side at a time with a job this big.

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