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A Couple Veneer Questions


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I'm doing my first veneer project, putting some figured eucalyptus on a strat. I already applied one half of the veneer using Brian's technique from the tutorial section here. However, I pulled the weights off and looked at it this morning and noticed two things that I am looking for some help on. The first thing is that I noticed a very small bubble on one portion. I am wondering what the best way to fix that is. I figure I will likely need to slice it open and put some glue in there and flatten it down with a clamp and blocks, but wanted to see what the more learned say.

The second issue is one that I am a little less sure on. The forearm contour extends a litte past the center line, so the one corner of my first piece is glued down along the contour. Well, my nicely jointed veneer now shows a gap as it bends over the contour. This makes perfect sense, but since I already have one side glued down, I am a little uncertain as to what I need to do to make it so that I get a nice joint. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

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Is it a definite air bubble? If not, I would try to fix it without adding more glue since this has more chance of getting into and onto the show face of the veneer. If - as a long shot - you are going to use CA or epoxy as a grain filler then you can fix the problem as part of this step, soaking the area with CA and clamping it flat with a wax paper, HDPE or similar non-stick caul. If you are shooting lacquer then you might even be able to use that as a local adhesive for purposes of invisibility.

If there is glue underneath, localised heating might re-activate it sufficiently to re-adhere the bubble. This has the downside in that you might re-activate the areas that are already adhered.

How much glue was initially added and how? Spreader/roller, fingers, one or both sides, etc? I apply glue for veneer to both surfaces using a notched plastic squeegee, taking as much off as possible (short of scrubbing) before letting it tack up and then applying. Identifying the cause of the bubble will be a useful exercise. I haven't had to repair any bubbles in veneer so I am a little short of direct experience.

As for the gap, have you tried inserting a hand-cut sliver of scrap veneer?

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I have used a syringe with a really thin needle to inject thin super glue into bubbles, going with the grain (flame maple veneer in my case) and then pressing the veneer down. That way you don't have to cut the bubble open. A cut can be more visible than the needle hole (virtually invisible actually). However I was just finishing this with shellac under my ordinary finch, so if the superglue were soaking the veneer it didn't show up in the end.

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For glue up, I put glue on both surfaces, using a silicon brush. There was probably more glue than necessary, but this was my first veneer job, so I didn't really know any better. I am planning on just doing lacquer over it, though I had played with the idea of doing shellac first just to give it some warmth, as my lacquer is waterbased. Maybe I will go that route with CA. I have some thin CA with stewmac's whip tips. I'll play aroung with it. I have enough veneer to redo the top if need be, but I would like to avoid that hassle.

For the gap, I actually just sat down to think about the geometry better and got that worked out, so the only issue now is my one or two bubbles.

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I busted out the iron and wet rag today. I steamed the bubbles and then clamped down a block with some waxed paper. After coming out of the blocks, it looks great. One or two of the larger bubbles had some glue buildup that causes an ever so slight ridge where the glue didn't get totally softened up, but that can get sanded out to get level. I think I've about got this, we'll see.

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Hopefully the glue doesn't end up making you sand through the veneer or have problems with finishing. Every time I make a piece of furniture SOMEWHERE I get some random squeezeout or area where the glue snuck onto causing me all kinds of hassles with stains! That is definitely this year's bugbear.

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There was a little glue that came up through in a spot or two, but I am doing a clear finish on the veneer (excepting any burst if I do one), so I am not terribly concerned. Of course, there will be test pieces.

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