Then I noticed a huge problem - I only had enough sapele wood for the two bottom shelves. I had miscalculated on the amount of stock I needed. Fortunately I had some baltic birch plywood 18mm thick (3/4" nominal)
I don't currently own any vacuum veneering equipment yet and normally use the veneer pressing method. Essentially this involves using some cold press veneer adhesive, gluing the veneer to the ply substrate and then applying a plastic covered caul over the top of the veneer with a large weight and a few clamps holding it down while it cures.
This works fine for flat even shaped panels such as this.
Preparing the veneerThe first thing to do was to cross-cut the veneer to approximate length. I use a proper veneer saw with a craft self healing mat as a backer. I also use a safety rule as a straight edge. No point in risking your fingers whilst pressing down on a regular ruler.
|Self healing cutting mat and a safety ruler|
|The Pax veneer saw - Sheffield England made.|
|Liberally spraying with water|
|1st sheet placed onto a plastic covered ply caul with a layer of|
shop rag underneath
|Subsequent layers of moistened veneer and shop rag|
are placed on top to create a sandwich.
|The final layer has another layer of shop rag placed over the top.|
|The sandwich is left overnight|
The next day I came back and had a look at the now flattened veneers. All was good. I then used a straight edge to cut a straight line down one edge of the veneer. I also did another piece and butted them together. Sometimes you have to have another go to ensure that you get it straight.
|Cutting a straight edge|
Then I applied veneer tape to the upper surfaces of each leaf to hold it together. Glue was spread on both the veneer and the baltic birch ply substrate. The veneer glue I use is Titebond cold press veneer adhesive. I apply it with an ink roller.
The veneer was then applied to the substrate and pressed down with a veneer roller.
|Pressing down from the centre to the edges with|
a veneer roller.
|Stage weights and extra clamps were used|
Cutting the boards to size.
I had already cut the plywood substrate to size in a previous operation. When the newly veneered board was taken out of the press all that was left to do was to cut the excess from the board.
|Excess cut off with a veneer saw.|
You have to take care in this process as you can chip the
edges and show face of the veneer unless you are careful.
|A finished board. I used 180 to 220 grit on a random|
orbit sander to clean up.
Rabbetting (rebating) the edges.
Each board then had a 4mm (5/32") deep rabbet applied to the underside to ensure that the top of each shelf came slightly below the shelf support rails. We had decided in the early stages of the design that this slight lip would prevent items such as pencils rolling off the shelves.
|Rabbet was applied by hand with a Record #778 Rebate/Rabbet plane|
So I dodged a bullet there and the moral of the tale is always ensure you have enough stock to complete the project or learn how to veneer.