How Do You Plane Thin Stock Into Veneer? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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How Do You Plane Thin Stock Into Veneer?

I've been MIA from this forum because I have had my nose buried in my new veneering project (jewelry box). I now own my first walnut burl veneering and cannot wait to put it to use.

Along this new adventure-journey I have had to make two new TS sleds and a new fence/feather board rig for my band saw all of which are doing their respective jobs quite well.

However, I seem to be having an issue planing thin (approx. 1/16") walnut stock on my DW735 planer. The surface exits the machine looking like it was planed with a machete - the cuts are very choppy.

To be clear, I am taking extremely this cuts, less than 1/4 turn of the wheel. I am beginning to think the issue is with the Hurricane Class Vac that comes built-in with this planer. I think it is lifting the thin stock into the knives as they rotate.

Today I will attempt to disable the vac and see if this will help.

I use an 8' melamine bed that runs through my planer and this has worked very well on the DW735 and my old DW713 planers.

I have read (in a Jonathan Benson book), that using a 'sliding backer' to transport the thin stock through the planer works very well. This backer has sandpaper adhered to it to hold the thin stock in place as it is passed through the planer. I have not tried this yet, but will later. However, if it is the vac that is lifting the stock into the blades then this backer will not work any better.

If anyone has any other ideas or suggestions, I'm all ears.
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post #2 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 12:22 PM
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Personally I would not try and power-plane 1/16" veneer.

I can get down to 3/32" straight through my 15" planer, but 3 out of 10 times the stock would explode, so it is not worth trying.

I always band-saw down to 3/32" and then hand plane after the veneer has been applied.


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post #3 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 12:54 PM
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I was hoping your absence was not a sign of a problem. Glad to see you back on the forum.

I have the same planer, so I appreciate the force of the fan on the discharge of the machine. This is spread out across the planer, so the velocity at the head should be lower.

I first attempted to plane < 1/8in stock on my previous planer, a Delta 22-580. I was trying to get to 1/16in strips for a friend to use on shaker style boxes.

I was not happy with the results. I had the strips mounted on a 3/4in backer board, so I had reasonable space between the stock and the bottom of the planer.

I even tried double sided tape. This worked in some spots, but not in others.

I concluded 1/16in stock was being lifted by the action of the knives.

I switched to using my drum sander.

I do not think you will be successful on the 735, even with the fan disconnected. This has 3 knives, my Delta only had 2.

If you have a drum sander or access to one, I would use it.

If you do not have access, I would follow WillemJM and plane or sand after applying the veneer.
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post #4 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 01:00 PM
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What about using turners tape? Super, double sided tape.
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post #5 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments. I understand perfectly well about how thin stock can get destroyed in the planer.

Here is my dilemma. The veneer I am using has small pin-holes and cracks that I am afraid with reveal the 1/4" birch ply substrate below. So because of this I was thinking that by adhereing 1/16" walnut between the birch ply and the actual veneer, I would eliminate this potential problem.

However, getting all of the thin walnut stock down to the same thickness is my problem. Failing to have a uniformly smooth surface beneath the veneer would be disasterous to the end result.

I will readily admit that I have not layed down a single piece of veneer to date. Having said that, I may find that well done veneer work will not be as 'uniformly smooth' as I anticipate it being. I will cross that bridge when I get to it. For the time being, I am trying to think far enough in advance to try and reduce or eliminate any pitfalls that may lay in wait for me. Glaring white spec's peering through the veneer is not something that I or anyone else would appreciate.

Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.
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post #6 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Problem??

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Originally Posted by Dave Paine View Post
I was hoping your absence was not a sign of a problem. Glad to see you back on the forum.
Problem? What problem? Oh, you mean the veneering project you guys have scrambled my brain with? LOL.

Man, I've got digital caliper's hooked up to my bandsaw and all manner of new unheard of inventions for doing precise work unheard of in any wood worker's shop. I wouldn't believe any of that - other than the digital caliper part.

This is truly one tough project and if I can just get the basic's out of my face, I'll be on my merry way to just starting this jewelry box. The truth is that I am a perfectionist and unless I am completely satisfied with Step A I cannot move on to Step B. It's in my DNA and it is what it is.

Bottom line is that I am loving every second of this because it is making me think very differently about my wood working. In addition, I believe I will emerge a better woodworker for meeting all the demands that veneering requires.

A drum sander did enter my mind, but I do not have one. I may look into one today.

Take care and thanks for all of your comments.
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post #7 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SLAC_Engineer View Post
What about using turners tape? Super, double sided tape.
That thought has occurred to me try carpet tape (or something similar). The problem may be getting the tape off of the veneer without destroying the veneer in the process.

Carpet tape would probably stick too well for this purpose.
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post #8 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 03:31 PM
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My first thought is 1/16 on planer???? I think my sander would maybe even eat it. How about gluing to backer then dealing with difference?
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post #9 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 03:32 PM
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How thin can a drum sander get down to?
FYI, Constantine's sells 1/16" veneer
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post #10 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 05:11 PM
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I doubt very much you will be able to make veneer in your shop,the planer won't work and you can't saw cut it either,and i doubt very much a sander will do the job,best bet is to buy what thickness you need and get on with the project.
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post #11 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1950 View Post
My first thought is 1/16 on planer???? I think my sander would maybe even eat it. How about gluing to backer then dealing with difference?
This is what I get for reading those darn'd ol' books. LOL

I can take your comments two ways:

Way One - do as you suggest then try to pry off what's left on the backer, or

Way Two - just leave the thinned down walnut on the birch ply (which is what I planned on using anyway) and then adhere the veneer to this birch ply - walnut combo board. If I do this carefully, the walnut will be nice and even across its surface and that is what I'm after.

To be honest, Way Two has been on my mind as a real solution to my dilemma.

As usual, you knocked it out of the ball park again.

Thanks for the comments and food for thought.
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post #12 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nostrildamus View Post
FYI, Constantine's sells 1/16" veneer
Thanks for that bit of info. I've only been able to find one good veneer vendor - Joe Woodworker. I will check out Constantine's.
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post #13 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canarywood View Post
I doubt very much you will be able to make veneer in your shop,the planer won't work and you can't saw cut it either,and i doubt very much a sander will do the job,best bet is to buy what thickness you need and get on with the project.
I actually wasn't trying to make veneer. I'm smarter than that. LOL

I was just trying to thin down some walnut stock to adhere beneath my veener so that the birch ply would not show through the veneer pin holes. By attempting to use the planer I was hoping to dimension these sheets to a uniform thickness.

I could use slightly thicker walnut stock for the same purpose. But taking this too far would affect the dimensions of my jewelry box.
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post #14 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 08:26 PM
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Just curious, how does the planer handle thicker walnut?
I had trouble planing walnut on my planer, and I think it was a sign of dull blades.
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post #15 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 08:55 PM
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First off, I am not experienced enough to offer any real world opinion, so take this for what it is.

Here are a couple of possible ideas:
1. I was reading something the other day about guys using white glue and paper (even newspaper) to temporarily adhere smaller pieces to larger more manageable pieces. Once you are done, you can simply wet the pieces and seperate them since the glue is not waterproof and the paper between the pieces of wood should keep them from joining each other more permanently.

2. If you are planning on adding a thin layer of walnut to the birch piece and then veneering more walnut onto the top of the walnet covered birch, can you sandwich some walnut and birch together then resaw through the walnut then plane both pieces of walnut covered birch to youe desired thickness?

3. Can you color the birch dark (walnut color) before applying the veneer so the pinholes would not show "white" spots from the birch underneath?

I hope these thoughts help or at least get you thinking about other (better) more creative ways to get past your problem.

Good luck.
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post #16 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 09:08 PM
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I've made some pretty thin peices on the bandsaw

Quite accidentally. They were "off falls" from the primary saved piece, but I was impressed how thin they were, less than 1/16". They were a bit rough because of the blade set.
Here's the big question for me...how big are the pieces and can they be resawn from a wide plank/board.
If they are 6" or 7" wide then I think you can probably do it. You bandsaw would have to be tuned perfectly and a fine set blade used rather than the typical 3 TPI resaw blade.
It would seem that if you glued them to a thin substrate like 1/8" plywood you could then plane the by hand to get a smooth surface or just just a ROS with progressively finer grits.
Without know the exact application, it's difficult to know the size, the joinery, the thickness etc. ..... bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #17 of 29 Old 08-10-2012, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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dwl, you have some exceptional ideas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwl View Post
First off, I am not experienced enough to offer any real world opinion, so take this for what it is.

Here are a couple of possible ideas:
1. I was reading something the other day about guys using white glue and paper (even newspaper) to temporarily adhere smaller pieces to larger more manageable pieces. Once you are done, you can simply wet the pieces and seperate them since the glue is not waterproof and the paper between the pieces of wood should keep them from joining each other more permanently.
I've done this same or similar process for carving. You glue newspaper onto MDF then glue to piece to be carved onto the newspaper. When done you take a chisel or whatever, and pry the carving from the newspaper. This works as I've have personal experience doing this. However, the carving can handle the prying. I do not think thin walnut can handle the prying or the water necessary to separate the two members. I have not done this, but it may be worth a try.

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2. If you are planning on adding a thin layer of walnut to the birch piece and then veneering more walnut onto the top of the walnet covered birch, can you sandwich some walnut and birch together then resaw through the walnut then plane both pieces of walnut covered birch to youe desired thickness?
Good idea, but in my case the birch ply is 12"x13" (which represents one side of my jewelry box) and my band saw can only handle 8-1/4". This is why I am adding two sheets of walnut to the birch ply: 8"x13" and 4"x13". This will cover the birch ply.

Quote:
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3. Can you color the birch dark (walnut color) before applying the veneer so the pinholes would not show "white" spots from the birch underneath?
Ah, now you're peeking into my brain. This is actually Plan B. I have some alcohol soluble Dark Walnut dye that may work perfectly for this. However, I really wanted to try and add the walnut layer first, but as we now know, this creates other issues of its own which must be resolved before we can move forward.

And, one more thing: the adhesive I will be using is supposed to dry to a dark color, so this may be all that will be needed.
But, again, I have not done any testing so I cannot be certian. If all goes well tomorrow, I will get some serious testing done and will know a bit more.

(Note. COMED has not been able to keep us in power for most of this past week. This has slowed my progress to a snail's pace and I'm not a bit happy about this at all.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwl View Post
I hope these thoughts help or at least get you thinking about other (better) more creative ways to get past your problem.

Good luck.
You're a thinker alright and that's a good thing in my book.

Thanks for stopping by to lend a hand.
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post #18 of 29 Old 08-11-2012, 12:10 AM
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I have sanded thousands of square feet of 1/16" thick veneer in an EMC wide belt sander. I start off at around 1/8" thick, and remove about .030 from each side in the sander. The veneer turns out great.

I cant speak to a drum sander, but my widebelt works fine.

Planing stock that thin usually does not yield good results.
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post #19 of 29 Old 08-11-2012, 12:30 AM
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Sorry but first suggestion would be we NEED pictures. Second is why are we-you using birch backer- I thought we wanted it to look like solid walnut. Thus use -----walnut. I have made my own veneer- cut it 13" wide 1/8 thick on bandsaw sanded it on 16/32 performax down to smooth 1/16". Was not the way to get burl look you want though. Pictures I am confused- don't worry though I am used to that I am married.
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post #20 of 29 Old 08-11-2012, 12:30 AM
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Not sure what your project is and I have never worked with veneer before but I have a couple ideas that I would try if I was doing it.

I think I would just apply the veneer to the birch and then mix up some colored epoxy to fill any voids/cracks/pinholes etc. Your going to want to fill those to get a smooth surface anyhow, correct? Kill 2 birds with one stone.

Another thought is to stain the birch prior to applying the veneer since your just trying to achieve a color to hide the defects and not really needing the extra thickness.

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