Jonathan Benson shares his methods for preparing and fixing veneer
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Wrinkled and buckled veneers must be flattened before they can be laid up and pressed onto a panel.
Jonathan uses a glycerin-based sizing mixture to fill the pores, then presses the veneers flat while they dry.
How to flatten veneers1
After covering the bench with newsprint to contain the mess, spread the sizing mixture on all the veneer leaves
Stack the veneers between sheets of newspaper and layers of fibreglass window screen - the screen helps the moisture to escape
Load the stack into the veneer press and apply light pressure. Let it dry there for an hour, then remove the stack, change the paper and press again. Repeat this process several times
Remove the stack from the press, change the newsprint, remove the screening and then replace the veneers in the press with increased pressure overnight
The sizing material fills the cracks and pores in the wood, allowing it to flatten out with no cracks. Bits of newsprint are likely to stick to the veneers and must be scraped off before the veneer is glued to a substrate
Making and using a veneer punch
Veneer punches, used to remove a damaged spot in the veneer and replace it with a little patch of sound material, are difficult to find and expensive, but you can make your own from a short piece of thin-walled tubing, such as a length of electrical conduit.
Hammer the end of the electrical conduit to make it oval shaped or bean shaped. You could also squeeze in the bench vice
Grind the end of the shaped conduit to make it sharp, then extend the bevel 1/8in or more up the conduit
File the inside of the punch to remove the burr and make its edge as sharp as possible
Here's the completed punch, alongside the kind of veneer defect it can repair
Put blue tape on the back of the defect, then punch it through from the face side
Press the patch into place and secure it with paper veneer tape on the face side. Here the tear is replaced with a burr patch