Bengt Carlen photography

Bengt Carlen photography

Veneers & Curves

Up until this point, the program has focused on working with solid wood. In the final segment of the program, we begin to discuss and practice the possibilities of using of making our own core material, shop sawn veneer and working with wood on a curve.

We begin with substraights: several years ago we moved away from the use of sheet goods in favor of making our own lumber core. Increased stability and workability are just two of many advantages. We make up just what we need, which means no storage problems, and any waste can be either reused or to heat our home. Much of our furniture is filled with subtle curves. No longer are we planing plywood with our fine planes, but solid, laminated core which is initially shaped before receiving a layer of cross banding. 

We will make two panels, the first one will be flat which will receive parquetry on one side and marquetry on the other. This panel is laid up in our shop made mechanical press. The second panel is a curved and tapered door which will later receiveintegrated and applied edges. The curved panel is laid up in our vacuum press, although a method using flexible cauls and a form is also presented. 

With the cores underway, we turn our attention to the edges and shop sawn veneer. Just a few of the advantages of working with veneer include dimensional stability, providing the freedom of grain orientation and the ability to stretch a precious piece of wood. The stock is laid out and edges removed. The bandsaw is set up with a high fence and adjusted to take the veneers at a scant 2mm or 3/32”. The veneers are cleaned up using our hand planes and a friction board. 

On the flat panel, the first face is prepared using parquetry, a pattern using geometric shapes is created and assembled. The joints are shot using our fine planes, and are edge glued, the surfaces are then planed prior to pressing. On the second side of the flat panel we explore marquetry, or creating pictures with wood. We use a double bevel method during which time we can play with the prismatic qualities of the wood.

On the curved panel, which provides us with a review of coopering, the panel is shaped using flat bottom and curved bottom planes, with a slight taper toward the outside. The panel is cross banded in the vacuum press, and integrated edges are applied. The veneer and applied edges are then applied providing what looks to be a solid wood panel of unbroken surfaces with dimensional stability. The surfaces and edge treatment are then completed using our fine planes. 

We finish the program with an exploration of tapered laminations and compound curved veneer work, including form making and clamping strategies.

Upon completion of Impractical Studies, students may enter our Upward Spiral program.

Impractical Studies