Lumber Core and Veneer

Hey folks here’s an update on 14, which I think I will rename Schooner, more on that later. I have been busy this summer with veneer and all the nuances of making it, and as the title suggests, the hand made plywood it attaches to. It is a long process, but one that gives the builder ultimate control over surfaces and grain.


The veneered side panel, made up of  5 strips of Walnut of varying widths. No book matching all slip matched so it looks like one plank of wood.



It begins with a blank of suitable material for making veneer. It is important to save the side cuts so they can be used as solid material for what are called applied edges. If done properly, without too much jointing, it is near impossible to tell if the wood has been altered in any way.


One of the cabinet sides made of poplar, and shaped  to continue the curved nature of this build. Poplar has been rift or quartered cut and then sawn into staves about 2″ wide. It is then edge glued back together so each staves grain opposes the adjacent piece. After shaping, each side panel will be cross banded with a commercial veneer (1/42″). This will eliminate any expansion problems. Finally, the application of the walnut veneer will finish things up. All of this is possible with my lovely little vacuum bag I got from Joe Woodworker. Thanks Joe! I got videos of it at my Instagram feed, @robertallanwhelan


Shaping components by hand can sometimes introduce a bit of wind into a cabinet. I had about a 1/16″ over the span of this rather large cabinet. Not bad me thinks, I took care of that by planing opposite “tight” edges of both sides.


I will hide a bit of the door edge by placing it in a rabbet that will be milled into the left hand side of the cabinet.


The template I used to shape the sides and also a shot of the plywood templates used for drilling jigs. Used 1/4″dowels but probably could have gone with 5/16″, ah well… it’ll all work out in the end.


You can see the cross banding in this shot.


Laying out rabbets on template. Success with all drilled holes on both sides! Plywood templates worked so I’ll be less stressed when it comes time to actually drilling into the top and bottom components.

IMG_2669 (1)

Applied edges being test fitted to cabinet sides


It was important to make some angled cauls that distributed even pressure to the applied edges. Looking for gap free joints on both sides to make the veneer seamless.

Stay tuned! lots more to show…..












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