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Thread: Advice on Veneering Chevron Tabletop

  1. #1

    Advice on Veneering Chevron Tabletop

    So I've been working with an interior designer on this table. She wants a "4 piece" chevron top. Obviously I'll be veneering it, however it'll be my first time using a vacuum bag on a large project like this.

    The tabletop measures 50" x 55" so it's a little too large to manage as one piece, and also a little too complicated I think to try as a single glue-up. My plan is to veneer each of the 4 "triangle" sections of the chevron separately to MDF, cut them to fit, fine-tune the joints, and then glue them together as a single tabletop, and most likely veneer that to a another solid piece of MDF for strength.

    I have a local source for 1" MDF. I'm thinking it might be a little better to use that as it'll give me more surface area for a glue joint when assembling the 4 sections.

    So breaking the process up might be a little more work, but it sounds safer in my head. Am I on the right track or am I missing something? Anybody ever have to do this?


  2. #2
    On anything that has multiple pieces of veneer I generally lay the veneer out on a table face up and tape the veneer together. That way it can be used as a single sheet.

    I wouldn't care for the idea of using MDF. It's heavy and very sensitive to water, even moisture in the air. Particleboard would actually make a better substrate for veneer but it's heavy too and doesn't hold screws very well. You might consider laminating 1/4" plywood to 3/4" plywood and cover the opposite side with the veneer.

  3. #3

    The entire top is still a bit large for my bag, so I almost have to do it in separates. I thought about plywood, I've just never had good experience with it not being warped or whatever. Granted I rarely ever use any ply. I also don't have any good, trusted source for it (other than Lowes but that's iffy). I'm used to using MDF, the weight doesn't bother me, and it's always stayed flat in my experience.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Huntington, Vermont
    If you have a large enough press, tape the sketch face together and lay it up in one piece. If not, joining the veneered sections will work, but vertical registration will be key to avoid sand-through and clamping those triangles will be tricky. Tightly fitted plywood splines in routed grooves will serve for joinery. You may want to make the sections oversize and trim at the end. The inner chevron would be most easily assembled as two rectangles, then trimmed to the triangular shape, but you could use temporary clamping ears as well. The outer triangles can be added using clamps in both directions but they will want to slip along the gluelines. You could use clamping ears there as well to get the clamping force at right angles to the gluelines. An adhesive with plenty of working time would be a good idea.

    Mdf is standard for veneer substrate If you are worried about moisture exposure use Medex. Garnica Plumaply , veneer core ply with a hardboard face, is a lighter, stronger option. Mdf is available in 5' sheets (although you had better eat your Wheaties before lifting a sheet of 1"), otherwise you will have to joint the substrate together. Whatever you do, make a balanced panel, that is, do the same to both sides of the substrate. Gluing up 1/4" to 3/4" is asking for trouble imo. A well glued single layer of four pieces with the solid edgeband shown should be fine.

    It is possible to set up a large press for one time use with plastic sheeting sealed to a flat surface with mastic. It's a bit harder to get a perfect seal than with a proper vacuum bag, but it works and would avoid the complexity of assembling all those parts accurately.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 11-22-2019 at 9:44 AM.

  5. #5

    Thanks for the reply. Vertical registration was a concern, but I think with a several dominos it'll keep everything level enough. It'll also make clamping a non-issue for me. I was planning on making them oversize and trimming on the slider. I'm just crossing my fingers I'm not missing something before I take a deposit for this job. But I'm thinking everything will be fine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Huntington, Vermont
    Sure, dominos will work, spaced fairly closely. My choice would be a single layup with an improvised press but the other way will work. I seem to remember a FWW article on a sunburst veneered table assembled that way.

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