Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Side panels done...

I've gone ahead and applied the veneers to the side panels for both cabinets. The process I use for this is vacuum veneering. I used to use a large mechanical assembly with many vertical threaded rods and a series of horizontal cauls, but moved on to the vacuum press as it is somewhat more convenient and versatile. I still use the small mechanical press for very small flat veneer panel work, but the vacuum press excels at larger flat panels and curved veneering. It is important to mark and orient everything before correctly placing in the vacuum veneer press because once the glue is applied there is not much open time to sort things out. The process needs to be planned beforehand. The vacuum veneer press applies pressure uniformly so no worries about this aspect of veneering.

Once the veneering for each of the side panels was complete, I applied vertical ambrosia maple caps to the sides of each of the panels. They are a little fatter than the intended size and this is intentional to allow for trimming in both thickness and depth afterwards. I also orient the grain of each of these caps to follow the grain of the ambrosia and soft maple veneer, this makes life so much easier since any reversed grain issues are eliminated. After a little hand planing to bring the cap surfaces down to the level of the veneer, I scraped the complete surface of the front and back of these side panels. The ambrosia maple surfaces look seamless now and this is the ultimate goal. You can see the pink hues I was referring to earlier in this panel at the left. You can also see the layers and components which comprise these side panels; the substrate, veneers, bake-in, caps. The remaining operation for the side panels is to trim them in length, but I have yet to come to a decision on the exact length so they will remain a little long for a while. Next I am preparing the tops and bottoms for each of the cabinets.


Sac said...

Just a question for ya.. what was the total thickness for you side panels and door panels? And what did you use as a substrate for these panels? I recently did some veneer work and I really like the process and also the look, and would like to include it into more of my projects. But I am still working out some of my kinks. Thanks.

Norman Pirollo said...

Approximately 3/4 inches for each of the side panels after the veneering. The doors are thinner somewhere above 5/8 in.

Substrate is 9 ply baltic birch ply.

Process takes a while longer but you get the versatility of getting the look you want, a dimensionally stable panel,etc.