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Meow Meow Meow
Nov 13, 2010


I thought I would post a build thread because I enjoy reading them but have never made one on these forums. My way of giving back. This build was completed well over a year ago and documented on another site, so this will mostly be copy pasted from my original build. This will be a good introduction to anyone wondering about veneering on a small scale, I use a few specialty tools, but also show how to veneer with just some clamps for those that just want to give it a try. Please ask any questions you may have.

I am going to build a small box that has drawers in it. I am building it specifically to go on my desk at work, we have very minimalist desks, basically just a flat surface with no drawers or anything. This box will be a way of cutting down on clutter, one drawer is sized to hold tea bags, another can hold some pens and highlighters, some snacks and other junk can go in the larger drawers. It's also a way of bringing a bit of wood into my office, there's no wood to be found around here, not even faux woodgrain melamine.

Here is the design, four drawers in two rows with kind of an offset symmetry.



Lately I've been building a lot of smaller box style projects and one thing I've been doing is drawing everything out full size. It really helps being able to just hold up a piece of wood and see if it matches, it also helps when designing around a specific thing to be held, in this case the drawer sized for tea bags. I draw the joinery as well so it makes life a bit easier when cutting because I can focus on solely cutting it, I don't have to think about what dimensions my rabbets need to be because I've already figured it out and put it on the paper.



The front view is on the left and side view on the right, I didn't do all the details for the side because a lot of info I need is on the front. It will measure about 12" wide by 9" high by 7" deep. My plan is to fully veneer the box and then veneer the drawer fronts, so I will be sharing that process with all of you. I have some spalted chen chen for the box and macassar ebony for the drawer front...I'm going for a striking high contrast on this build.

I started the build by choosing my veneer, the chen chen veneer I have is 10' in length, I don't have a spot to store it flat so it's rolled up with my other long veneer. Here it is partially unrolled.



I measured out the length I needed plus a couple inches extra and cut my pieces off the length. At this stage I use a sharp pair of scissors to cut the veneer. My plan is to make two of these boxes as they are small enough so I cut enough veneer for two. The pieces are fairly narrow so I plan to bookmatch the pieces, I couldn't get a nice picture of them bookmatched because the pieces are curled up from being in a roll...but they look quite nice slip matched. I weighted them down overnight down to help flatten them out.



I also cut the case pieces, I am using 1/2" baltic birch plywood. First I cut the pieces to size, then I put in a 1/2" dado stack on my tablesaw and cut the joinery. The corners will be joined by rabbets, and the dividers by dadoes. Everything went smoothly except for the first dado I cut, it was much deeper than I planned as I had cut the rabbets first and didn't reset the depth (it was 3/8" deep instead of 3/16"). Not a big deal as I have not cut any dividers yet, so I'll just need to take that into account. I also cut a rabbet for the back of the box.



Next up I'll be doing some veneer work to prep the veneer to be glued to the plywood.

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ColdPie
Jun 9, 2006



Hair Elf

Awesome! Very interested in seeing your veneering process up close.

Meow Meow Meow
Nov 13, 2010


Next I bookmatched the chen chen. The first thing I did was line up my four sheets for cutting. The figure moves slightly through the sheets, so to get a good bookmatch it's not as simple as lining up the ends of the sheets and cutting, I had to match up the figure. It's pretty easy in this case as the spalting is so prominent in the wood. Once I line it up I taped the bundle together with blue tape, you can see the ends of the sheets are offset a bit. Then I used my straightedge and veneer saw to cut a straight edge on the bundle.



The veneer sheets are close to 6" wide and my box is about 7 3/4" deep, so I cut the bundle again at 4" parallel to my first cut to give me a bit of extra. Then I taped the sheets together with blue tape. First I taped across the joint every 4" or 5", using the tape to pull the joint tight, my cut wasn't perfect but the veneer is so thin the tape can pull the joint tight (kind of like how clamps can close up gaps in an edge glue up). Once I've taped across the joint I tape down the length with blue tape.





Then I flipped my taped sheets over, looking pretty cool so far. Then I used veneer tape on this joint and put the whole thing under some wood to keep it flat while the veneer tape dried.



I removed the blue tape and cross-cut the veneer slightly oversize for gluing onto my panels. I glued the veneer to the top of the boxes first, I used my vacuum bag and did both tops at the same time. These panels are small enough I could have easily just used clamps, but the vacuum bag makes it so quick and easy and there's never any worries about having the right amount of clamping pressure on the right spots. I keep them in the bag for about an hour and a half, I used Titebond Veneer glue.



Once the panels were out of the bag and left overnight for the glue to cure, I trimmed the excess veneer. I used a sharp 3/4" chisel to flush everything up. The case sides are rabbetted to the top and bottom so I need to wait until after assembly to veneer the sides. So I assembled the cases. I used the back panel to square everything up while I clamped it, I put some packing tape on the back panel so it wouldn't get accidentally glued in.



After I took the clamps off I planed the rabbett overhang flush with a handplane (yes I use handplanes on plywood ). Then I glued the side veneer on, I used clamps and a piece of 1/2" ply to get as even pressure as possible.



Then I use my 3/4" chisel to flush up the side veneers. It's starting to look like something now and I really think the veneer transforms once it gets applied to a substrate and you can more or less treat it like wood. The match from the sides to the top turned out nicely and is giving the continuous grain I was hoping for.

The Science Goy
Mar 27, 2007

Where did you learn to drive?


I thought I was getting into a flat pack furniture build blog - very pleasantly surprised.

Looks excellent so far! The veneer looks wonderful around that corner, very clean.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns




I finally got caught up on this-very neat. How do you like the TB veneer glue? Any problems with creep? I've always used a urea-formaldehyde glue for veneering but it had to be mixed and was generally a pain, but fried super hard and no creep at all, with a nice long working time.

Meow Meow Meow
Nov 13, 2010


Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

I finally got caught up on this-very neat. How do you like the TB veneer glue? Any problems with creep? I've always used a urea-formaldehyde glue for veneering but it had to be mixed and was generally a pain, but fried super hard and no creep at all, with a nice long working time.

I really like it, I used to use liquid hide glue, but was doing a project in the winter and it was giving me problems. I'd heat it up but soon as it touched the cold wood it would gel and I had some pretty shoddy veneer work for that project. Haven't had any creep issues with the TB glue, that said I've only been using it for 3 years...but then again I have some pretty gnalry burls and crotchwood that have held up for those three years. I guess I'm also ignorant on the failure method, if the creep would show up right away or something that creeps up over 20 years.

I remember looking at UF glue a few years ago and I couldn't find an easy or reasonable source in Canada so I gave up on it.

The next step for the box was pretty straightforward, I cut and glued in the dividers. I used up some MDF scraps I had laying around so it's a mix of baltic birch and MDF. Once the glue had dried I used a handplane to level all the dividers.



Once the fronts were levelled I could start veneering them, I cut several strips about 5/8" wide and a bit long and glued them on. I used clamps and cauls, first I did the horizontals, then the verticals.



Mitreing the corners was a two step process, first I veneered the horizontal top and bottom, then trimmed the veneer flush.



Then I taped the vertical piece in place, and used a wide chisel with a couple of light taps to cut through the top veneer and score the veneer below. Then I removed the excess veneer and glued everything into place using clamps and cauls. I just eye-balled the chisel cut as best as I could, while it looks best when the mitre goes from corner to corner its not a big deal being off a tiny bit as there will be no noticeable gap due to how its cut.







The mitres turned out pretty good once I removed the clamps. I followed the same method to veneer the edges of the divider pieces. Once I did that I set to work on drawers. I won't go into crazy detail how I cut the joinery, but I will highlight a few tricks I've picked up from various sources that I think are valuable, I didn't come up with any of these on my own. I cut all my drawer parts to size before doing the dovetail joinery, my goal is to not have to plane the drawers to fit, but to have them sliding smoothly after glue up.

I cut tails first, so I start by marking out the baselines of my drawer sides with my marking gauge. Then I use a pencil to mark out the dovetails on one drawer side and line up a bunch of drawer sides to gang cut them. In this case I line up six sides, once they're clamped in the vise I use a square to mark across the end grain of the pieces. I cope out the waste and then clean each one up with a chisel.



I really should have taken into account the time it takes to dovetail eight drawers in my decision to make two of these boxes...adds up quickly.



Next I use blue tape to tape the end grain of the drawer fronts and cut off the excess.



Then I use more blue tape and I put three layers of tape across two spots on a drawer side inside (the one I will be marking out), just overlapping my baseline. Then I use my marking gauge to cut through the blue tape. This creates a tiny little rabbet which makes the layout transfer so easy, it allows you to butt up the blue tape rabbet to the drawer front. No need to hold a flashlight underneath to make sure you're lined up or constant eye balling the baseline to ensure it doesn't shift as you're marking. I continue to re-use my little blue tape rabbets until it stops sticking or it's been all cut off from the subsequent re-baselining of it.





Once the tails have been transferred to the drawer fronts, I peel out the tail areas and I have a great layout that is very easy to see. I saw the pins and chisel out the baseline and get a great fitting joint. I find the key to good half blinds is the joinery layout because the rest is fairly easy...don't cut or chisel past your lines, so if you have good lines it should fit great.





Meow Meow Meow
Nov 13, 2010


After cutting all the dovetails I used a dado stack to cut a 1/4" groove for the drawer bottoms. Then I veneered the drawer fronts, I veneered them with macassar ebony, I used my vacuum press, similar to how I did the case tops in an earlier post. After the fronts were veneered I glued up the drawers, I like to glue them up in the case, that way the drawer is matched to the case whether it is square or out a bit.



Once the drawers were glued up I measured and cut 1/4" plywood for the drawer bottoms. I've been lining box bottoms recently with decorative paper, so I decided to line the drawer bottoms with paper. In this case it is wrapping paper. First I laid out all the bottoms to make sure I had enough paper.



Then I cut the paper slightly oversize. Here is my toolset, a straight edge and marking knife for cutting, and a glue stick for adhesive.



I clamp two bottoms together while the glue dries. Then I use my marking knife to trim the excess paper once I take them out of the clamps.



I also attached the feet to the boxes, the feet are small pieces of 1/4" thick pine that I planed some chamfers on.





Finally I applied a finish, I put on two coats of Osmo oil on the pieces.



Just Winging It
Jan 19, 2012

The buck stops at my ass


Forgive me I you already mentioned this but I missed it, but what wood did you use to make the drawer fronts?

Meow Meow Meow
Nov 13, 2010


Just Winging It posted:

Forgive me I you already mentioned this but I missed it, but what wood did you use to make the drawer fronts?

I don't think I mentioned it. I used walnut for the drawer fronts, I knew I would be veneering the drawer fronts with macassar ebony so I picked a dark wood in hopes that they wouldn't look to obviously veneered.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns




It looks really nice. I see you left out the step where you sand through the veneer. That one is my favorite.

What did you do for a back/hardware?

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Meow Meow Meow
Nov 13, 2010


Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

It looks really nice. I see you left out the step where you sand through the veneer. That one is my favorite.

What did you do for a back/hardware?

My track record with sanding through is pretty good, but I only hand sand and always wait as late as possible in the project before sanding.

The back is pretty straightforward, if you can recall I had pre-cut the backs out of 1/4" ply much earlier in the project when I glued up the case, I used it to help keep the case square during glue up. It's simply glued into a rabbet on the case, but before I could do that I had to affix my newest form of signature for small projects. I have a branding iron which is great for furniture, but I find it a bit too big to use on boxes and such. So I purchased these 1" brass disks engraved from Etsy for a reasonable price. I used a 1" forstner bit and inlaid the brass in place. I put it exactly where there was a knot on the plywood, I think it looks pretty cool with the discoloration around it.



This picture sums up the progression of the knobs.



It starts out as a 1/2" x 1/2" x 2" piece of cherry. Then I used a 3/8" plug cutter on the end grain to get a tenon. I use a drill chuck on my lathe to grab onto the tenon while I turn the knob at the end. Then I use a handsaw to free the knob. The knobs are a smidgen under 3/8" and the tenon that will go into the drawer front is 1/4".

This completes the build...thanks for following along. Here are the nice photos I took after completion.







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