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Jointing Veneer
By Sal Marino

There are a number of ways to obtain a good, tight joint that will be virtually invisible and will not lift or pull apart. While the following method may not be the quickest or most practical, I have always had great success with it.

If you are going to work with narrow sheets of veneer that have to be jointed together, make sure that you purchase the sheets in consecutive order as they were cut from the log this way the grain pattern and figure will match when you join the pieces together.  When veneer is manufactured, each sheet is cut off a log and then stacked. These sheets are also kept in consecutive order so that both grain pattern and color will match and be consistent. One pile of consecutively stacked veneer is called flitch. When you purchase veneer, inspect the flitch to make sure that all of the sheets are consecutively stacked, so that grain and color will match when you layout, joint and glue them together.

Book matched veneerBook Matching is one of the most attractive methods of jointing pieces of veneer together. This method is also called a two piece match. The two consecutive pieces to be jointed will appear to be mirror images of each other. Start by laying two consecutive pieces of veneer side by side. Open them in book fashion, (like you would be turning a page in a book) and inspect the pieces for quality, defects and if the two combined pieces will be large enough to cover the surface you will be working on. The next step is to joint the two pieces together, but first, you must cut straight inside edges for a perfectly tight joint.



Homemade Jointing Jig
Veneer jointing jig
This jig can be made of two pieces of hardwood each piece approx. 6 inches wide,1 inch thick and about 4 inches longer than the length of the two pieces of veneer you will be jointing. Sandwich the 2 mating pieces of veneer between the two boards allowing a little less than 1/32" of the veneers to stand out on top. Clamp the boards to prevent movement of the veneer along the exposed edges.  Next, either sand or block plane the edges very carefully making sure not to bend them over.  Make as many passes as needed until the veneer edges are flush with the board's top edges.



Making The Joint
Jointing veneerLay the two pieces of jointed veneer on a work board with jointed edges together. IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE THE FACE SIDE OF THE VENEER IS UP.  To insure a tight joint, use veneer pins (these are similar to push pins used in corkboard to hold up paper messages). Drive the pins into both pieces about one inch away from the joint line. Make sure the pins are slanted toward the joint to bring the two edges tightly together. Don't worry about pinholes, once the veneer is glued down, they are virtually invisible, and if needed can easily be filled later.

Now cut a piece of veneer tape slightly longer than the length of the joint. The tape will be applied to the face side and will be removed after the veneer has been glued down. Moisten the side of the tape that has the gum adhesive on it by lightly running it over a damp sponge. Next, place the tape over the center of the joint and press it down the entire length of the joint. Remove the veneer pins and use a rubber or hardwood roller to insure the tape is firmly applied to the surface.

Jointed veneer

After the veneer has been glued down, the veneer tape may be removed by lightly dampening with a sponge dampened with water and peeling off the tape. Once the tape has been removed, let any gum adhesive residue dry completely and then scrape or sand the remainder of the residue off. It will turn to powder and come off easily. If you try to sand while the residue is still damp, it will be pushed down into the pores of the wood and create a gummy mess. After jointing, the veneer is ready to be glued down to its surface.

Slip matched veneer
Slip Matching is yet another method of jointing veneers. Consecutive sheets of veneer are slipped out side by side (in contrast to turning them over for book matching) and joined together with a repetition of the same grain appearance.

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