After fooling around with shop-made veneer for the pierced hood on the Egerton clock and not being satisfied, I decided to purchase a wood-backed veneer. I went to joewoodworker.com and bought a 4′ x 8′ sheet of ribbon-stripe mahogany. I opted for the backer veneer to run across the grain for added stability – I am punching through most of the veneered front. I placed my order on July 15th. Friday the 19th my veneer arrived. (Joe has great service. I was notified at every step.)
In the shop I cut off a 24″ section from the sheet. The opening photo shows how I went about establishing the angle of the grain, and it shows that I made a mistake as I rushed to get started – I laid out four sections (two pieces for each clock) angled the same direction. I needed two sets with the grain at opposing angles.
What I am particularly fond of is how easy it is to work with backed veneer. I cut the pieces to size using a pair of scissors. How easy is that? To get setup to do the punch work, I cut a piece of plywood a bit over-sized to act as a backer, then tacked and clamped my patten (slightly adjusted to show areas covered by moldings in the finished piece) to the plywood. I clamped one end so I could easily check my progress as I completed some of the work.
I began by using an 1/8″-wide chisel to cut at each of the four corners of the small patterns in my design. Work was just as with a machine in that I grabbed the chisel, oriented it for one corner then cut that corner in every contorted square. In the left-hand photo you can see the completed run of the first stage of work. I have to say that my hand was cramping as I worked the corners while holding the chisel between my thumb and index finger. I used a light mallet tap to punch the corners.
As I began step two using the small gouge, I decided that my mallet was unnecessary. Mere pressure could cut the veneer. I worked the small squares one at a time, removing the waste as I worked. A couple times the waste would slide under the veneer before I could grab it, so I had to remove the clamp in order to clear the way for the next square. And I could check my progress.
After nearly four hours I finished with the first half of one pierced piece of veneer. When I held it up to the hood, it looked good. What wasn’t good was the temperature. My shop has no air-conditioning, so I loaded up the necessary tools and veneer and took off for home. I could punch the remaining pieces at my kitchen counter.
Next week I’ll give you a look at the two finished pieces. Not bad so far.
Build Something Great!