Week 5 – More Doors

The guts of the doors were completed last week and this week I wanted to try and get the veneered skins on the doors.  Todd led me to a plank of curly birch in the wood room that had an awesome bubbly lava lamp like character to it.  I thought this would be great for the inside.  I also thought that it would be great to use an often overlooked wood.

I unfortunately did not take any pictures of the process used prepare the veneers from a plank of wood, but suffice it to say that you slice off some rather thin (3/32” thick) slices of wood as wide as the plank (8” – 10”), plane/sand the slices smooth and thin enough to bend around the forms, and finally glue the slices together edgewise to form a sheet large enough to cover the inside face or outside face of the door.

Veneers applied to curved door panels

I made the rather bold assumption that gluing the veneers onto the substrates would go as smoothly as gluing up the plywood substrates.  This did not turn out to be the case.   The vacuum press was not quite able to pull the veneers tight against the substrate at the very edge of the door.  After some discussion and conjecture with the instructors we modified the glue up with some additional cauls to put extra pressure on the edges of the door, but even then the second door also had a few gaps between the substrate and the veneer.  If you look closely in the photo below you can see a thin gap between the outer veneer and the edge band.

Gap between veneer and door substrate

“It’s not a mistake until you can’t fix it” – Jim Budlong

It took about a day, but using a Zona saw and every other thin kerf saw I could find in the tool cabinet I was able to slice down about half an inch between the veneer and the substrate to remove the glue which had hardened within the gap and allow the veneer to be pressed tight against the substrate with a small amount of force.  I worked some glue into the tiny joint and applied as many clamps as I could along the length of the gap.  After the glue had set and the joint was cleaned up again the gaps were gone and no one was the wiser.

Plane shavings of repaired door veneers