Waterford is a historic town near Leesburg VA, about an hour west of Washington DC. The Waterford Foundation runs a Heritage Crafts School. This year it will feature five classes in each of four months on a wide variety of traditional crafts. As mentioned in my previous post, I’ll be teaching an Introduction to Veneering class at the Waterford Foundation on April 1-2, 2017. Since you’ve asked (only kidding), let me tell you a little more about it.
Here is the course outline.
- A brief background on veneering and the objectives of the course.
- Why veneer?
- Design opportunities
- Material constraints
- When and where to use and not use
- Cutting veneer with and across the grain
- Managing cranky veneer; flattening
- Avoiding losing short grain pieces
- Matching veneer
- Taping concepts and alternatives
- Book match, slip match, rotational match
- 4 way match : diamonds and stars
- Make a panel with a four way match
- More complex matching: concepts
- Crossbanding and edging
- Adding edging to your 4 way match
- Let’s glue it up and then go home!
- Look at the results, clean it up.
- Hammer veneering. Demos then let’s try it.
- Sequential hammer veneering: traditional techniques.
First I will cover why we would veneer, and when we shouldn’t. Then some technical issues and the basic design palette. Brief talks will be followed by much cutting and taping, and hopefully not too much hair pulling. Veneer can be frustrating because the different wood species act so differently. Solid wood is also like that, but you are unlikely to work with three, four or more species in an hour, where that is very common with veneer. Experience provides confidence in knowing how to deal with different characteristics, and I’ll try to pack in as many different peculiarities as I can during the class.
The end result of the day will be a 12×12”panel with a four way match central pattern, surrounded by a thin fillet with a crossbanded edge. This is a very traditional configuration, commonly used in Federal furniture. Drawer fronts are often a simplified version of this approach. Once you can do this, the more complex options should be comprehensible, and doable with a little practice.
On the second day we will clean up the panels that spent the prior night in a vacuum press drying, and I’ll talk a little about sanding and finishing. With only 1/40” of wood, sanding is a delicate subject.
The last subject will be hammer veneering. This is the traditional method – before modern glues were invented it was how nearly all veneering was done. It’s quite different and unfortunately requires additional tools. In certain situations it greatly simplifies achieving complex results. I’ll do a little demo then everyone can try it out.
The two pictures in this article both show four way match veneer patterns. The small sample board shows four different edge banding woods, to show some design possibilities. The tabletop also includes some marquetry, an advanced veneering technique that I also hope to teach a class on this year. Ignoring the inlaid patterns though, this is exactly what the class is teaching, in a larger scale.
If these topics appeal to you I’d encourage you to sign up. I’d like to hold this class in Charlottesville as well but need to figure out how to do so in my congested shop. At this time, the Waterford class is the only one that is planned.