Long veneer sheets will usually arrive rolled up from suppliers. They aren’t heavily figured in most cases, and when unrolled they will lie fairly flat, and don’t require much preparation. However, there are times when veneer will need to be flattened, and below are some tips for doing it the right way.
First you’ll want to number all the pieces then tape their ends. Once this is done, you can focus on the flaws and flattening. There exist numerous veneer softener brands which are commercially available, and that can be sprayed on each veneer side. You can also mix a formula yourself, which is relatively straightforward, as the ingredients can be found online.
Once you’ve sprayed each side, the veneer will turn pliable, but must also be dried. You’ll do this through laying down a board which is flat, such as Melamine because it uses a coat which is water proof. You’ll also need a paper sheet like builder’s paper, which can be purchased at most big box shops. Finally, you’ll need a veneer sheet along with an additional paper layer which is covered with Melamine.
Next, place the Melamine top piece on your pile and be sure it is clamped or weighed down. Wait several hours, and then switch the paper. This process should be continued throughout the day until the following morning. After your paper becomes dried, you’ll see a veneer which is nice and flat. While the process might sound tedious to some, it isn’t, and the resulting veneer will be much more pliable.
Veneer Flattener Formula
The purpose of flattening your veneer is twofold. The first is making it more pliable and easy to work with. The second involves the opportunity to add some glue inside the mixture that will function as the sizing while also strengthening the veneer, without compromising its pliability. For those that choose to add glue, below is a veneer flattener formula which uses it:
Flattener Formula 1
- One gallon of water
- 8 ounces of glycerin
- 8 ounces of denatured alcohol
Flattener Formula 2
- Fifteen ounces of Wildwood glued powder. Wheat flour can also alternatively be used.
- Twenty eight ounces of water
- Fourteen ounces of glycerin
- Seven ounces of denatured alcohol
When working with veneer it is important to tape any splits or cracked ends. Additionally, always remember to number your sheets for both ends, that way you don’t get the order mixed up. Leaving the veneers to lie out gives them the needed time to flatten. And in most cases, they will manifest a curve which is the result of being rolled up during storage.
Crotch, stump and burl veneers typically arrive in shortened pieces, because they will only grow to a certain size. The pieces will be kept flat during shipping since they are too short for rolling, but are also quite brittle. This means they will require your attention before use. They must be carefully unwrapped since they will usually have some cracks and holes. One of the most elegant veneers is Cinnamon Laurel Burl, but even it has cracks and holes which must be addressed.