I have been told, do a blog.
I will try.
Try to post as often as I am able to and answer your comments

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Treasure Box #2 - Sawing and Dying Veneer

For our best pieces, we use sawn veneer. It is usually 10 time as expensive as sliced, but it is a better quality product.
When the veneer is sliced, it is often steamed or heated and the shearing of the knife damage the structure of the wood.
When the veneer is sawn, it is just like solid wood, just thinner.
Patrick Edwards did a good blog entry on sawn veneer with a video of one of the last veneer sawing comapny, near Paris, Georges et Fils.
To read the article it is here.
And for the video I will put a direct link

So we still have a bit of stock from when we had money, or when we have commission that require sawn veneer, we buy more than we need to provide for our specs.

the veneer is kept in a “cave à placage” a veneer cellar, Patrick likes to call it the veneer cave, it must sooth his primal instincts. The temperature has its importance but mainly we watch the moisture, that we keep around 60%.
The table is in a terrible mess as we dug into the veneer for the boxes and for a clock Patrick is making.

We have veneer but we are low in dyed veneer, especially the greens. So, we have decided to cut some veneer.
We have only a old small delta, but with a resaw king blade and an improvied fence, it does work.
I tried couple spiecies to see how the blade react, and it is not always the haredst wood that are hard to cut. But in the hard wood selection, the maple is really a mean one.

when tuned up, even with an average quality bandsaw, but with patience, you can do wonders (not sure about the spelling of that one).
The veneer is 1/16”, like the one we buy in France.
We can not do yard wide veneers like in Paris but for marquetry packs, and not background this is perfect.
We have been experimenting with a pressure cooker to dye the veneers. It does work pretty well. I put it on twice a day until pressure has build up, and this for three days and it seems to be sufficient.

We use ALJO MFG. CO. and Lockwood’s water stain that Patrick had bought years ago.
When sanded a bit and cut into you can see that the color has penetrated to the heart of the veneer.

We will carry on on the dying wood. The next step, is to dust my German to try to read AND understand that book about staining veneer.

For the green bone it is another story, and not a success yet. We tried to use the same technique and it appears the pigment size are to big to penetrate the cell of the bone. I will try transtint as it is a dye not a stain, and also the chemical approch with copper sulfate that I found in an old book

You can see that the stains grab very well on the outside even if it seems black, but inside….

I will let you know what happens!
-- Patrice lejeune


  1. Inspiring! My dds austin friends likes these photos so much. Keep sharing!

  2. If its not too nosey of me, may i ask if you've had a shot at sawing anything tremendously hard like ebony, katalox or african blackwood into veneers on the bandsaw yet?

    I've got a rather large amount of african blackwood burl to turn into veneers and i'm somewhat nervous about making the first cut.

    1. Sorry I did not reply earlier, I did not put the alert on for the comments.
      We did not Re-saw the ebony we are using on the treasure boxes. I did cut lignum, and it worked like a charm. the hardest I had so far was hard maple. Take a good blade like the resaw king from laguna.

  3. Patrice, related to the dyeing of veneer in the pressure cooker, this is something I am experimenting with as well for a piece I am working on (reds and blues in various shades). I'd love to know details about how you did it. How much solution did you put in the cooker, how long did you cook it each time? Why cook it twice a day for three days and not just longer for each cook? Did you have to weigh the veneer down so it didn't curl up in the pot, or did you just lay it in the dye solution and it stayed in?

    1. I have to do more tests and find out what works the best in which situations with what wood and what recipes. This will be ongoing for a while... I first need to learn german as the bible book is in german :"Vom Farben des Holzes"