The Society of American Period Furniture Makers

Tools and Techniques => Veneer and veneering techniques => Topic started by: bbrown on January 26, 2016, 06:31:43 PM

Title: veneer both sides or just one?
Post by: bbrown on January 26, 2016, 06:31:43 PM
 Do folks here always veneer both surfaces of a panel being used in a project vs. the show face only?

Title: Re: veneer both sides or just one?
Post by: ttalma on February 02, 2016, 11:48:25 AM
I've never veneered the back of a piece. I always hammer veneer, and have never had any problems with cupping etc. I do try to use a 1/4 sawn piece for my substrate. I tooth both the veneer and the substrate, and try to use my own resawn veneers when possible.

I don't recall every seeing a period piece where both sides were veneered either.
Title: Re: veneer both sides or just one?
Post by: Jack Plane on February 02, 2016, 04:23:37 PM
Ditto... though I don't worry too much about the cut of the substrate. At any rate, substrates can be tempered to behave how you wish.

Eighteenth-century French cabinetry was sometimes thinly and crudely veneered on internal surfaces, but I think that was more to protect hands from receiving splinters from the roughly hewn surfaces.
Title: Re: veneer both sides or just one?
Post by: bbrown on February 02, 2016, 08:33:19 PM
  Thanks for the replies guys.  I asked this because I recently heard a fairly well known woodworking instructor state  that one should always veneer both sides of a panel.  I never do either, but sort of wondered if I was missing something. 
     I recently made a batch of 10 Chippendale mirrors and did veneer both sides of the aprons, but that's probably a rare exception.  That's an unsupported and fairly thin poplar substrate.

     
Title: Re: veneer both sides or just one?
Post by: FrederickH on February 03, 2016, 03:20:02 PM
  Thanks for the replies guys.  I asked this because I recently heard a fairly well known woodworking instructor state  that one should always veneer both sides of a panel.  I never do either, but sort of wondered if I was missing something. 
     I recently made a batch of 10 Chippendale mirrors and did veneer both sides of the aprons, but that's probably a rare exception.  That's an unsupported and fairly thin poplar substrate.

     

This brings up a question that I've had, for a long time, concerning the top crest rails of old Chippendale/Queen Ann mirrors. Many of them have the top crest "bowed"(concave) out from the wall and I've always thought that this was from uneven moisture absolution on the back side of the crests. No one has been able to clarify this for me and it may be due to not veneering both sides of the wood. The several(4) Chippendale mirrors that I've made all had solid wood crests and they are as straight as the day that they were made . Any comments?
Title: Re: veneer both sides or just one?
Post by: Jack Plane on February 03, 2016, 06:36:17 PM
I've seen mirror crests and aprons both cupped towards and away from the wall. It all depends on how wet the surface of the wood got during the veneering process.

Tempering the wood can avoid cupping, though I'm inclined to ignore this step when making mirrors because the inevitable cupping adds to the 'antique' effect.
Title: Re: veneer both sides or just one?
Post by: bbrown on February 03, 2016, 09:21:08 PM
  Jack, would you describe how (and why) you "temper" wood?  I am not familiar with the process.
Title: Re: veneer both sides or just one?
Post by: Jack Plane on February 04, 2016, 01:11:44 AM
Tempering wood is the process of wetting and drying the surface(s) of dry wood – that is, wood that is optimally dried to local and seasonal conditions and fit for cabinetmaking.

If in doubt as to how a veneered panel will eventually settle, pre-wetting the surface to be veneered (to simulate the application of water-based animal glue and the wet veneering process) and allowing the wood to dry out again, will give an indication as to the likelihood and extent of cupping or bowing.

One can then assess how much water should be used in the veneering process, or if the reverse should be wetted prior to veneering, or indeed, the reverse should be subjected to unreasonable heat to shrink that face.

I don't normally go through the trial process any more; I can usually gauge what's required depending on substrate, substrate thickness and veneer thickness.

As mentioned above, I welcome a certain amount of cupping/bowing when veneering mirrors etc., but, unless copying a vernacular piece of furniture – such as a chest of drawers – that exhibits bowing of the drawer fronts and/or the top, I take care to make veneered panels flat.

A prime example of necessitating flat veneered panels was a circa 1775 mahogany cabinet-on-chest I made some years ago. Warped door panels in this era of enlightened cabinetmaking would be unacceptable.