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How to Flatten Veneer


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My veneer has arrived and it needs to be flattened prior to glueing it on the body....right?

I've read where I can mist the veneer with water and press it using some flat plywood, absorbant paper, and a good bit of weight (cinder blocks or tool boxes whatever) changing the paper every 4 hours or so.

What do you guys recommend for flattening?

Also, I have consecutive sheets of veneer so I can do a bookmatch, but the edges need some attention. I am thinking I can align the sheets back to back so the bookedge is facing up, clamp them betweem two boards with planed flat edges, and run a tool down that edge and sand them flush to the boards. What would be a wise choice of tools to trim with to give a clean cut....or should I just sand them down by hand with a block?

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If it's thin enough to begin with I wouldn't worry about flattening it. Most veneers will take a bend such as the arm contour of a body while your gluing them down to begin with.

If you do decide to add a mist of water to shape the wood, your probably looking at a very long time to completely dry. Think of it this way I found out when it comes to green wood (freshly cut) the rule of thumb is about 1 year per 1 inch thick to dry so something say 1/40" thick would take a minimum of about 2 weeks.

When it comes to the tools to shape the edge's I personally would go with the sanding block because any knife edge (unless your taking a lot off) will tend to pull the wood no matter how well it is pressed or clamped and mis-align the pattern.

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Thanks Brian,

I'm not worried about the contour at all, the veneer is very flexible. What I am worried about is not all of the surface making contact with the guitar body due to waves and curls in the veneer itself...it is not flat right now. It is not far from it but I guess my fear is that if it isn't dead flat prior to gluing, I risk not getting it down correctly and if I try to put a lot of weight on it to make sure I am afraid it may split on me.

Will the glue itself provide enough moisture to help it flatten while curing? I am dealing with two pieces of highly figured quilted maple, the figuring is very very strong but the veneer is a little wavy. You are saying I can go for it and everything will turn out OK? Can I bake it down with an iron after the initial gluing if it is still wavy after removing the sand bags?

I just don't want to mess this up. Thanks

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Sure the iron trick works great as long as you don't leave it on to long, because it will actually cause the glue to release, so just tack it.

If you think there is to much of a wave on the surface of the veneer itself, you might want to give it the once over with a sanding block and some 120 or 220 grit paper. It wouldn't hurt to do that, but your going to need it to be a touch on the rough side to grab the adhesive.

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