Getting Into Trouble With Hammer Veneering And Joints

I have some very attractive figured veneer pieces that I’ve picked up that I would like to use for box tops, accents, and such. I also have some really nice exotic & figured woods that I can resaw myself that I may like to use as well. What I really want to know are advantages and disadvantages of each method, as well as the learning curves involved. A would also appreciate and general advise you may have gained through experience.

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On some deep dents, a couple steps, maybe a day apart, can be effective. I’ve been using the iron on the veneer repairs, though not saturating them as Barry does. I’m also being somewhat circumspect about specifically steaming dents through the veneers in areas that are sound/will not need reglued, so as not to cause delamination. I always “tooth” the thick veneer with my toothing plane or scraper.

A veneer hammer is used in conjunction with hot hide glue in applying veneer to a substrate. The term “veneer hammer” is somewhat misleading, as the “hammer” is used more like a squeegee than a hammer. The hot hide glue is applied to the substrate, then the veneer is laid onto the glued surface. The hammer itself has a dull blade, approximately three inches wide, on one side of the head, and a square shaped face on the other side. This head is connected to a standard handle, much like a regular hammer.

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The blades for the plane are a toothing plane and a regular blade ground to a degree angle. These blades are great for veneer prep and working high figured wood. If you are ever in the Durham area you can stop by and play with them if you are thinking of investing in this plane. I can’t find any videos of someone doing a joint that way other than that one. A handful of people putting single pieces on drawer fronts or boxes, or doing two small pieces. Probably evidence that what I’m doing is semi-insane.

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He works methodically and is very good at explaining everything that is going on – including what to do with cracks in the veneer or if they develop part way through the process. I would really encourage you to jump into it and learn a great and versatile skill. I must admit though, I practiced on some scraps first. DO NOT try to veneer with contact cement!!!! There was an article in Fine Woodworking magazine many years ago about how the veneer WILL come loose in big bumps.

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I didn’t look at the video you linked, but I’m going to assume it’s the Patrick Edwards woodtreks one. That guy is on a level .01% of us will ever get to. I still practice that joint, but it’s level 9 difficult. Jointing it first seems saner/simpler to me, too. I think they still need to go down one at a time because the working time of the hide glue is so short. I don’t think I could coat substrate, coat veneer, flip, and hammer before it turned into jello over such a large area.

Also, don’t overlook your substrate, in this case your plywood. Don’t use cheap plywood with voids or warps etc. Once you start pressing it into the hot glue it shouldn’t move at all.

I use yellow glue, but white glue has a little slower set time if you need the leeway. For large panels, I recommend plastic resin glue , because it has the longest set lime. Lumber core is plywood with a core of solid wood sn ips instead of veneer. It’s one of my favorite substrate materials. Although it’s expensive, lumber core is more consistently flat than other plywoods. It is a glorified squeegee plain and simple.

Such is the case with the piece on which I will demonstrate hammer veneering. Often times when repairing furniture, the veneer must be replaced. If you’ve read the article on how to reveneer a tabletop, you read that the top is placed in a press or between clamping cauls to clamp the veneer to the top. In some repairs, it’s not possible to put the part in a press due to the fact that it’s an integral part of a larger piece. Making a veneer hammer is really easy compared to making planes. A luthier friend of mine generously donated a bucket of ground hide glue.

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