Veneer Repair Workshop at CVSW

Following the recent Groopshop gathering at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking I stuck around to teach a couple of one-day workshops.  The first was “Veneer Repair” wherein I presented a group of techniques I’ve learned or created over the years.  Having looked at an awful lot of historic furniture in my career, I think it is safe to say that the challenge of dealing with veneer damage and loss has been beyond the skill-set of a great many folks in the business.  This is a topic of great interest to me, and since I’ve taught it many, many times, including last week, there seems to be interest in it.  I am currently scripting out a video to shoot here in the coming winter with a young videographer living nearby.

My first order of business, a month before the class, was to make a set of near-identical “problem” boards for the students to work on.  These were fairly good representations of the types of problems they will encounter.

For most losses a technique I created involves tracing  precisely the damaged area onto a small piece of mylar or acetate that is taped to the adjacent background.  Then I select and locate a piece of veneer that matches the surrounding background as best as possible.  (I apologize for many of these pictures, I discovered ex poste that the camera was having a bad day, or perhaps it was the camera operator…)

The outline is transferred to the veneer via a piece of carbon paper (these are obviously not the same problem piece, but I think you get the idea)

The marked veneer is then mounted on a backing board with stick glue, and cut out with a jeweler’s saw.

If all goes well you get a perfect fit from the git go.

But sometimes the back side of the joint edge needs to be feathered with a small gouge to make it fit perfectly.

Once you have the grain and fit correct, you slather on some glue, overlay with a piece of cling wrap or mylar, and clamp with a plexi caul and the veneer repair is pretty much done.  There is finish work yet to come, but that is another subject for another time.

A number of other techniques were taught, but I was so busy teaching that I forgot to take pictures of them.  You’ll have to wait for the video, I guess.