Wood Veneer...who's done it?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Blaine_M, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    I will be purchasing some thin/flexible wood veneer soon to finish some tower speakers I'm building. Some questions I have for anyone who might know....

    1. I'll put the veneer on the backs and top of the towers first so I'll have fewer visible seams from the front. My first question is how do you spread the veneer glue on so it is not too thick. I am buying glue roller made for veneer glue (I think it is just like the contact glue), will that put it on thin enough?

    2. On the fronts of my speakers I have a 1/2 radius I'll be wrapping the veneer around so there will be no seams. Obviously that is a very large piece of veneer. When I apply that do I center it on the front of the speaker, roll that on as best as I can, then wrap each side? Or should I start on a side and wrap around to the front, then the other side with the large piece of veneer? That large piece scares me....any other tips for that would greatly be appreciated.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. eric nyhof

    eric nyhof Stunt Coordinator

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    I've done some veneering with both the peel & stick kind and the thin papar backed.
    While more time consuming, I think the paper backed gives a better end result and has better adhesion to MDF.
    To apply the glue (regular contact cement) I just used an old paint brush to smooth it out.

    I've also done the wrapped corners. I could not find any veneer locally that was wider than 24" so I had to seem 2 pieces togather in on one of the sides.
    I started on one of the back sides and got it as square as I could and then wrapped it around. I left a little bit of veneer overhanding so I could trim it with a flush router bit.

    If you can't get big enough veneer, you could do a couple of things with the corners:
    - Leave them square, I have done this with several corners and it works out great when the veneer grain is parallel to the edge. I have also done it with the grain perpindicular to the grain, although not as nice is still produces a good corner.

    - veneer the corners square and then use a router with a square cut bit to remove the corner. Put a piece of solid wood in the corner and then put a radius on that. I could email you some examples.
     
  3. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    That's how I would do it. Since the front of the speaker will be the most "looked at", you'll want that to be centered properly.

    I'd say lay the enclosure on its back and elevate it somehow to allow you to apply the veneer to the front and roll it around the corners to the sides. Elevating it will keep the excess veneer from bumping into the floor/table. Start from the center of the front and work your way out to the sides.

    It's a little scary to do your first veneer job.. especially when they tell you once the adhesives meet, there's no going back. It's not too bad as long as you're careful.

    Practice on a piece of scrap so you get a feel for the process if you want.
     
  4. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    That sounds good, I'll give that a try. I want a seemless look from the front if I can get it. I'm putting the dampening material in tomorrow and attaching the front baffles after that, which will probably take me through the weekend because I have my tower speakers to do and a pair of bookshelfs for a friend...and only 4 large clamps.
     
  5. Bryan.T

    Bryan.T Agent

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    I have never done any wood veneering, but I did do some peel and stick. For the next DIY I think I will give wood veneer a try. Can't you spread wood glue on both the speaker and veneer, let it dry then use an iron to bond the two together. I was thinking of trying that instead of the contact cement. I would also start at the front then rap around. Depending on how big the speaker is, would it be easier to lay the veneer flat with the adhesive up then touch the front of the speaker to the veneer then roll it to each side? Let me know how you do it and how it turns out.

    Thanks,
    Bryan
     
  6. Joey Skinner

    Joey Skinner Second Unit

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    On my towers I layed the veneer flat, glue side up, then placed the front of speaker down on the veneer and rolled it up the sides. I did this by myself but having a helper would be better. To get a near invisible seam, put some wax paper down the back of the speaker, overlap the veneer a little then use a razor knife and cut through both layers all the way down the speaker. Peel off the excess veneer and remove the wax paper and the two ends should match perfectly.
     
  7. Bryan.T

    Bryan.T Agent

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    Joey

    Thanks for the hint with the wax paper. I should have done that with the PE peal and stick I tried. I am a little confused on the different types of veneer, paper back, wood back, nbr, etc.. I am not sure what works best for speakers, since we usually want it to rap around radiuses. What type and thickness of veneer did you use? What type of adhesive did you use? Also, did you cut the holes for the drivers before and you applied the veneer.

    Thanks,
    Bryan
     
  8. Mattak

    Mattak Stunt Coordinator

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    I used 6" mini rollers to apply contact cement and liked that way, then had the best results sticking it down using a wallpaper roller (small, pretty hard rubber, lots of pressure per sq inch that way). I would highly suggest testing a scrap of veneer with water to see if it warps when you get it wet to decide if you should use a water based product or not. The birch I veneered with warped a LOT with water, so I went with the solvent based DAP Weldwood (they make both water and solvent based).
     
  9. Joey Skinner

    Joey Skinner Second Unit

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    I used 10 mil paper backed red oak from Tapeease with solvent based contact cement applied with a 4" roller. I pressed it down with a kitchen rolling pin. The speaker holes were cut before the veneer was applied. I trimmed out the holes with a razor blade. It might be easier to cut the holes after the veneer is put on. On some smaller speakers I use some iron-on veneer from Home Depot. It worked fine but I like the contact cement method better. The only thing with cement is you don't have any room for mistakes. Once the veneer touches the mdf it is STUCK.
     
  10. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    I'm using the 22.2mil bubble free stuff shown here...
    http://www.oakwoodveneer.com/products.html

    I've talked to Danny at GR-Research and he recomended to use the contact cement and a clothes iron over the veneer after it is down. I'll do what he recomends since he's built a lot of these.
     
  11. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    Joey did you have any issues with bubbles when you put the veneer down glue side up and put the towers on top of that? Since my speakers are towers I'm very interested in how well that works VS the reverse of putting the veneer on top of the speaker.......
     
  12. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    Joey,

    I just talked to the guy from the web site you posted, they recomend for less of a chance of bubbling later to use the NBL wood backed stuff, he said it will still go around a 1/2 radius as well. Hmmm, I've now had multiple people tell me to use paper backed, and someone else tell me the NBL wood backed.......
     
  13. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Will that thicker stuff make it around the radiuses okay?
     
  14. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    They said it would when I called. I plan on talking to them one more time before I order it next week just to make sure. The woman I talked to seemed confident that it would. If you look at the site it is just another layer of paper, the actual wood is the same thickness. I'm going to go with a straight maple finish, I'd like the birdseye maple, but I can't justify that much $ for the veneer!
     
  15. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    1. Have you considered Spray adhesive? You spray both the veneer and the wood with an adhesive, let it become tacky, then you roll it tight to push bubbles out with a rubber roller. My friend who is a professional contractor did this and after 3 years the results are great.

    As for edges, he has this end tape machine that uses hot air and pressure to quickly apply a roll of veneer tape on the edges of the wood (If there are any). Since you wouldn't have the machine, you can use a wet rag and a hot iron to melt the glue that's already on the edge tape. Then cut off the edges with a sharp blade like a very sharp chisel or utility blade.

    2. Another option you have is to use a router and cut out a square block strip from all the edges of the box. Then buy a solid piece of hardwood of the same wood your veneer is, and glue it in place of the cutout. Then you use a router to add your 1/2" radius. If you do this, then your veneer does not have to bend at all.

    What I also love about this method is if an edge gets damaged, you won't see the wood underneath since the edge is solid wood.

    3. You could have also used factory laminated MDF which has an "error" free solid wood laminated on BOTH sides of the box. It's better to have both sides laminated anyways. Then use the solid wood edges with that, OR you could use a mitered cut on the edges or better yet, if you have access to a lock miter bit then use that, and then you wouldn't have to use screws, just glue.

    It sort of takes a lot of time to setup the lock miter though.
     
  16. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    Chris,

    Cutting out the edges and replacing them with real wood will not result in a seamless look, you will have seams. I'm not sure about the spray on adhesive, if it's not something I can buy in a can then it wouldn't be an option for the average joe. Most of us don't have access to the equipment a contractor would use for that. I have not seen the factory laminated MDF, not sure where you'd get that and you'd still have the issue of doing the corners if you wanted to round them off, which I want to do just as it shows in the picture on GR-Research's web site. Also for this application there is no reason to use the tape, it only introduces more seams.
     
  17. Joey Skinner

    Joey Skinner Second Unit

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    I had no bubbling; the speakers look like they were carved out of a solid block of oak. I think the key is to have the veneer on a perfectly flat surface so when you set the speaker on it there will be no waves or bubbles. Then you can work the sides up and around keeping the veneer taught so there will be no wrinkles. If you do it the other way I'm not sure how you would finish wrapping the speaker without picking it up and turning it over.
    Here are some tips that might help. After cutting out the veneer to the size you need find the exact center of the sheet and mark it top and bottom. Then mark the center of the speaker on the top and bottom. Do a dry run with no glue, setting the speaker on the sheet, lining up the marks and wrapping the speaker with the veneer. This will give you an idea how the veneer is going to wrap around and lay on the speaker. Use plenty of glue on both the veneer and the mdf. Mdf seems to really suck it up. I used two to three coats. Cutting the veneer and inch or so oversize all directions will insure every part of the speaker is covered. I used a kitchen rolling pin to press it all down. I didn't roll it but pressed down HARD and rubbed down the sides and edges to make sure everything was bonded. You could use a large dowel or a block of wood with a rounded edge. I don't know if this will be an issue with maple but make sure the grain is going the same on both speakers. If possible do the bookshelf speakers first then you'll be a veteran veneerer when you do the towers. [​IMG]
     
  18. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    Joey, I think you are right on with what my plans are, the only difference is Danny at GR Research says to get the speaker up off the ground, like on paint cans, then put the veneer onto it, not the other way around like you mention. I'm not sure which route I'll go yet, good thing is I can try it first on the bookshelfs!
     

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