Edit to add: The glue-up of the 1/16-inch thick veneer panels went flawlessly! I must credit John Fry for the success. He recommended I use a variation of the veneer panel glue up. This technique does not use any tape on the show side of the panel during the glue up procedure, as tape would smear glue that squeezes out. Instead, he suggested I use strips of wood close to the seams, one on each side, using bricks to hold the seam areas flat. Thanks, John!
Also added (for those who don’t know John Fry): In his latest episode of the Carlo Mollino’s curvy table, Furnitologist Neil Lamens highlighted John Fry as one of two woodworkers pushing the envelope of our craft. I could not agree more! You can see the step-by-step procedures John has used in many of his outstanding pieces, at his web site, Chisel and Bit. Simply click on the Details button below each of the items in his Gallery to see the wonderful pictorial essays.
What follows is a comedy of errors.
Yesterday (Monday) I trimmed the veneer panels such that both pieces were of identical size – tried a few different things, and finally settled on simply placing them under two pieces of MDF, exposing to the cut mark line, and cut them to size at the same time using a climb cut. It worked great!
Then I had to “troubleshoot” my heating blankets – totally forgot that these models have an 11-hour timeout. Of course, it took me a while to figure this out .
I realized at one point I did not have enough of the 1/2-inch MDF substrate I needed, so I ordered some and it was delivered to a cabinet shop five minutes from the house. I picked up the MDF this morning, and started work. Things went well, to get me ready and moving along!
For later today, I must remember: Go back in about 30 minutes to shut off and turn on the blankets again, as doing this resets the 11-hour time limit. I need the blankets to remain ON for the entire night, to get full cure of the adhesive.
It is an exciting time, waiting for that panel to come out of the vacuum bag tomorrow morning…
One thing I did NOT do, but it is suggested for shop-sawn veneers: I did not apply glue to the backs of the veneers; this is normally done for shop-sawn veneers, not for the very thin, commercial veneers. I hope I did not screw up; I totally forgot to do it! But I DID apply a generous amount of glue to the MDF. Hopefully, not an excess. I must get a better feel for it the new glue, Unibond 800, compared to the DAP plastic resin glue I have used in the past.
Up to now I have applied veneers only to small pieces no larger than jewelry boxes, and had never used a vacuum veneer bag. If I did not screw up things too badly, and the results are good, I will share with you. If not, I know exactly which pile this veneered panel will go into – and you will not find out where this pile is.
Now to share the job finally underway: On the left, the 19″ X 24″ panel just after firing up the vacuum pump; on the right, the heating blankets providing sufficient heat to allow proper curing of the glue (I keep the shop at 60°F to 62°F in the Winter):