Veneer Question/ NX Ottica MTM-H Frame Servo Bass Build

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ebag4

I started a new speaker project (it truly is an illness  :lol:).  I picked up some veneer, a burl this time.  I have a question for some of you that have worked with burls.

It is my understanding that burls can be fragile, this is a plane tree burl, it does not seem to be too fragile, I have worked with makore that has been more delicate.  The reason I bring this up is that I am planning to use heat lock to apply the veneer, my question, are the burls more likely to crack with the heat? Should I consider using a veneer softener?

What about the bark inclusions, they are rather small, would I be better off leaving them or would I be better off filling them with putty or plugging them with a plug from another sheet?

Last question, I like the color as it is now, I have seen Sapele's get darker after finishing with poly, what type of finish would help maintain the current color?

Here are a few pics:









Any advice is appreciated.

Best,
Ed
« Last Edit: 3 Nov 2016, 05:15 am by ebag4 »

Captainhemo

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #1 on: 19 Oct 2016, 01:18 am »
Nice  looking  veneer Ed , can I ask what you're building  ?

The Indian Applwwood we just  used was what I would call delicate,  we used  this stuf and it worked well  http://www.veneersupplies.com/products/Super-Soft-2-Veneer-Softener-Conditioner.html
 We'd have never been able to bend it around the roundovers without it.

My buddy was saying he has picked up  raw veneer that  is not overly flat, he sprays the  veneer down with this  product and then presses it between a couple sheets of MDF overnight, flattens it right out.

If you are wanting to use poly,  I've found the  Minwax clear stuff ( I haven't tried the water based)  works well, doesn't seem to add colour .  You could always pick up a tin and try it on a small  piece.  Other options might be a high quality lacquer or possibly even  a shellac/spirits finish  like   what  Mike has shown us in the past (French Polish)
No matter what you choose,  doing  a small sample like  mentined above is  probably a good idea

Hope you'll post pics  when you get to that point

jay

ebag4

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #2 on: 19 Oct 2016, 01:58 am »
Nice  looking  veneer Ed , can I ask what you're building  ?
Hey Jay, you know what I'm building  :wink:!  I'm finally getting around to building the MTM flat pack I picked up from you.  I am building a pair of H frames as well, I am planning on having both servos face forward.  I glued up the MTM section this past weekend:



Having both sides in the flat packs made it easy to build a template for the bases.  I am working the MTM into an interface between the servo and MTM.

I have the kit from Danny, the NQ drivers look incredible.

Thanks for the info on the softener and finish, I don't have the endurance for a French polish, But I have considered a shellac, I have a long way to go before I get there.

Best,
Ed

ACHiPo

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #3 on: 19 Oct 2016, 02:17 am »
I have not worked with veneer, but did recently use Heat Lock for curly Etimoe, and the veneer softener made things pretty straight forward.  I'm not sure what's in it (I suspect it's just polyethylene glycol), but it sure works.  Well worth the $15 or so.

Oh, and I agree that's stunning veneer!

I can also vouch for the Veneer Supplies website.  Joe is great, as is his products and prices.

Captainhemo

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #4 on: 19 Oct 2016, 03:24 am »
Hey Jay, you know what I'm building  :wink:!  I'm finally getting around to building the MTM flat pack I picked up from you.  I am building a pair of H frames as well, I am planning on having both servos face forward.  I glued up the MTM section this past weekend:



Having both sides in the flat packs made it easy to build a template for the bases.  I am working the MTM into an interface between the servo and MTM.

I have the kit from Danny, the NQ drivers look incredible.

Thanks for the info on the softener and finish, I don't have the endurance for a French polish, But I have considered a shellac, I have a long way to go before I get there.

Best,
Ed

Ed
Glad to hear those cabinets went together  nicely for you, they're looking good  :) Those  10 degree rabbets on the  backside of the baffle  for the wings really do  aid in assembly don't they ?   With the new flat packs, it's even easier as the wings  are also positioned with dowels in the base.
That veneer should look  fantastic on those  cabinets, plus it will  suit the copper phase plug of the NQ's. Are you planning on painting/dyeing the  inside of the waveguides ? 

Hoping to build a pair out here  soon too

Keep the pics coming as you   move on  :beer:

jay

mlundy57

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #5 on: 19 Oct 2016, 04:28 am »
Ed,

What type of backing does the veneer have? If it is raw wood veneer the heat lock is not the best idea. That's what I used on my Wedgies and no matter how tight I got the seams, when the veneer cooled down the seams opened up. Not much, but enough to be able to tell where the seams are.

I don't know what would happen if you tried using a vacuum press (and cold press glue) with the open design of the cabinet.

One option might be to glue the veneer to a backing sheet using a cold press method like a vacuum bag then you could use the heat lock glue and an iron to apply the now backed veneer to the cabinets.

If your veneer is already on a backer than the heat lock will work fine.

Either way, definitely use veneer softener.

For the finish you could use a non-yellowing poly like General Finishes "High Performance" water based top coat. It's possible that, being water based, it could react with any tannins in the wood so to be safe it would be a good idea to put a couple coats of super blonde dewaxed shellac (no more than a 1 pound cut) on the veneer and let it dry completely (at least overnight) then scuff sand before applying the poly.

As Jay mentioned, you could just use the super blonde shellac by itself. That's what is on my N3's. It's a lot of work and if you are new to French Polishing I strongly recommend getting Robert O'Brien's DVD "French Polishing with Robert O'Brien". Also, build and veneer a test box or two so you can practice each step before doing it on the MTM's.

Lacquer is another option. These are small enough that you can use rattle can lacquer but make sure you don't spray it in the house. The one and only time my wife used lacquer on one of her leather projects the house stunk for over a week.

With the bark inclusions you have a few options. One thing I have done is to use CA glue to stabilize them. However, I haven't tried it before applying the veneer. Test it out on a piece of scrap first. You can also do nothing and if the inclusion falls out you can fill the void with a wood filler like Timberline so it blends in or take a Dremel and enhance the hole enough so you can inlay it. It all depends on how creative you want to get and how much time you want to spend on it.

What do you mean by working the MTM into an interface between the servo and MTM?

Mike

ACHiPo

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #6 on: 19 Oct 2016, 11:01 am »
If it is raw wood veneer the heat lock is not the best idea. That's what I used on my Wedgies and no matter how tight I got the seams, when the veneer cooled down the seams opened up. Not much, but enough to be able to tell where the seams are.

Seams are definitely a challenge with Heat Lock, although if your veneer is big enough you may not have any?  If you do, Joe (from Veneer Supplies) has a trick that uses a wire coat hanger about 2" from the seam that creates extra veneer material to put the joint in compression and avoid gaps.  It worked well (a bit too well, actually) for me.  It's definitely something you want to practice before trying it on your main project (same thing for the finish)

mlundy57

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #7 on: 19 Oct 2016, 01:17 pm »
Seams are definitely a challenge with Heat Lock, although if your veneer is big enough you may not have any?  If you do, Joe (from Veneer Supplies) has a trick that uses a wire coat hanger about 2" from the seam that creates extra veneer material to put the joint in compression and avoid gaps.  It worked well (a bit too well, actually) for me.  It's definitely something you want to practice before trying it on your main project (same thing for the finish)

I used that trick and it did work to get the seams tight. The problem was they didn't stay tight once the veneer cooled.

I agree that if the veneer is wide enough to cover the entire surface in one piece the heat lock is fine. That's what I did on the LGK 1.0s and had no problems.

WGH

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Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #8 on: 19 Oct 2016, 05:38 pm »

I don't know what would happen if you tried using a vacuum press (and cold press glue) with the open design of the cabinet.

One option might be to glue the veneer to a backing sheet using a cold press method like a vacuum bag then you could use the heat lock glue and an iron to apply the now backed veneer to the cabinets.

A vacuum press would probably crush an open cabinet, I have crushed an arched form and it looked like a giant stepped on it. I believe Jim Salk uses the Titebond Cold Press Veneer Glue along with a vacuum bag press on all his very well braced speakers. The veneers he uses does not have a backing. The veneers with backing can cause problems because you are relying on the glue bond between the backing and the veneer to last forever.

Wayne

ebag4

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #9 on: 19 Oct 2016, 11:23 pm »
Thanks for the responses guys!

Ed
Glad to hear those cabinets went together  nicely for you, they're looking good  :) Those  10 degree rabbets on the  backside of the baffle  for the wings really do  aid in assembly don't they ?

Yes they do, they make dealing with the angle no issue.

With the new flat packs, it's even easier as the wings  are also positioned with dowels in the base.

No doubt, excellent work on the prototypes, I'm sure the complete package is outstanding.

That veneer should look  fantastic on those  cabinets, plus it will  suit the copper phase plug of the NQ's. Are you planning on painting/dyeing the  inside of the waveguides ?

I have a plan but am going to wait and see how it works out.

What type of backing does the veneer have?

It is raw wood

If it is raw wood veneer the heat lock is not the best idea. That's what I used on my Wedgies and no matter how tight I got the seams, when the veneer cooled down the seams opened up. Not much, but enough to be able to tell where the seams are.

I have had some luck with seams and heat lock, however I didn't go about it in a conventional manner. When I inserted Sapele triangles into the Maple crossover covers of my V1s I actually cut the triangles out a bit larger than required, pressed the veneer down into the cutout in the Maple using the tip of the iron, then cleaned it up by sanding the excess, unconventional but worked well in that case. Fortunately for this project, the veneer is large enough to cover with one sheet per side, even for the H frames, so no seams other than the corners

I don't know what would happen if you tried using a vacuum press (and cold press glue) with the open design of the cabinet.

The gentleman I bought the veneer from also mentioned cold press, in this case I think I have decided to go with heat lock but use softener on the veneer just in case the heat causes an issue with splitting, I don't have access to a vacuum press anyway.

Either way, definitely use veneer softener.

Done, I'm ordering it tonight.

For the finish you could use a non-yellowing poly like General Finishes "High Performance" water based top coat. It's possible that, being water based, it could react with any tannins in the wood so to be safe it would be a good idea to put a couple coats of super blonde dewaxed shellac (no more than a 1 pound cut) on the veneer and let it dry completely (at least overnight) then scuff sand before applying the poly.

Thanks for that Mike, I had considered doing something like that but didn't know if I could poly on top of shellac.  I have used and like the General Finishes as well

Lacquer is another option. These are small enough that you can use rattle can lacquer but make sure you don't spray it in the house. The one and only time my wife used lacquer on one of her leather projects the house stunk for over a week.

Is this preferred over shellac/poly?  My main concern is keeping the veneer from darkening.

With the bark inclusions you have a few options. One thing I have done is to use CA glue to stabilize them. However, I haven't tried it before applying the veneer. Test it out on a piece of scrap first. You can also do nothing and if the inclusion falls out you can fill the void with a wood filler like Timberline so it blends in or take a Dremel and enhance the hole enough so you can inlay it. It all depends on how creative you want to get and how much time you want to spend on it.

Looking at the veneer, the occlusions are very small, I think I will simply try to fill if needed.  Would something like Peter used on his last project to smooth out the grain work for this issue? 

What do you mean by working the MTM into an interface between the servo and MTM?

I am going to put something between the top of the H frame and the base of the MTM, you could consider it a base for the MTM.

Seams are definitely a challenge with Heat Lock, although if your veneer is big enough you may not have any?  If you do, Joe (from Veneer Supplies) has a trick that uses a wire coat hanger about 2" from the seam that creates extra veneer material to put the joint in compression and avoid gaps.  It worked well (a bit too well, actually) for me.  It's definitely something you want to practice before trying it on your main project (same thing for the finish)

Thanks ACH, big veneer is my choice if available, fewer seams.  I will be ordering the softener tonight.

A vacuum press would probably crush an open cabinet, I have crushed an arched form and it looked like a giant stepped on it. I believe Jim Salk uses the Titebond Cold Press Veneer Glue along with a vacuum bag press on all his very well braced speakers. The veneers he uses does not have a backing. The veneers with backing can cause problems because you are relying on the glue bond between the backing and the veneer to last forever.

Thanks Wayne, I have only used backed veneer once, but prefer the raw because for me the corners come out nicer, looks like wood at the seam, probably because I don't know how to use backed veneer properly :-).

Best,
Ed

Plund

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #10 on: 21 Oct 2016, 03:09 am »
Ed,
A picture is worth a thousand words...



Here is a piece of raw cherry I used with "Heatlock"...  You can see the LARGE split just to the left of the quarter.  My experience was similar to Mike's... this did not split until the wood was cooling after I ironed it onto the top of my N3 tower speaker.  This was the only veneer panel that split on my N3's, but boy did it split!  Side note...The N3's I made are largely based on the attractive N3's you made five or six years ago. 

If you are set on using that very nice burl, I would vote for contact cement.

Pete


Captainhemo

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #11 on: 21 Oct 2016, 04:07 am »
Wow  :o 
Is this typically more of an issue with raw veneers ?  Does using a PB veneer tend to keep things more stable   when using   an iron on method  , either  Heat Lock or  PVA  ?

jay

mlundy57

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #12 on: 21 Oct 2016, 06:29 am »
Wow  :o 
Is this typically more of an issue with raw veneers ?  Does using a PB veneer tend to keep things more stable   when using   an iron on method  , either  Heat Lock or  PVA  ?

jay

In my experience when using an iron, yes. Not all pieces will pose a problem but all it takes is one to ruin a project. Using veneer softener and letting it soak in at least overnight goes a long way in keeping splits down.

The other issue is that when wood gets wet (from both the veneer softener and the steam) it swells. When it cools of it shrinks. These are not splits, but if you look at the large wing of the left Wedgie you will see two straight lines where the veneer pieces meet. This is the result of the veneer shrinking and opening the seams up just enough to form a straight line. Since straight lines don't exist in nature the eye gets drawn to the seams instead of the grain pattern.





The best backer I have found, especially when rolling the veneer over a radius, is the 22.2 mil bubble free backer from Oakwood veneer (don't know if anybody else offers something similar). An additional benefit is that since this backer is designed for use on less than perfect substrates, there is no issue with MDF seams telegraphing through even without any special treatment. To be clear, you still need to fill and sand and the better the prep, the better the end result, you just don't have to do anything to the seams like applying watered down glue, epoxy, bondo, etc. before applying the veneer.

Mike

ebag4

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #13 on: 23 Oct 2016, 12:40 am »
Ed,
A picture is worth a thousand words...



Here is a piece of raw cherry I used with "Heatlock"...  You can see the LARGE split just to the left of the quarter.  My experience was similar to Mike's... this did not split until the wood was cooling after I ironed it onto the top of my N3 tower speaker.  This was the only veneer panel that split on my N3's, but boy did it split!  Side note...The N3's I made are largely based on the attractive N3's you made five or six years ago. 

If you are set on using that very nice burl, I would vote for contact cement.

Pete
Hey Pete, I remember your build, they look great.  That is exactly the type of splitting I had with the maple on my V1s, the Sapele on the same build did not have any splitting.  I thought it might have been that I was using too much heat, but there was more Sapele than maple on that build, so it wasn't the heat.  I could use contact but that stays where it goes down, for some of this build I will need better control than that.  I don't have a reasonable way to use cold press, it appears it would have to be clamped in some way, so heat lock it is!  I am hoping the softener helps prevent the splitting.

Best,
Ed

Plund

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #14 on: 23 Oct 2016, 02:37 pm »
Ed, I will cross my fingers that your burl comes through without splitting... I used softener with the raw cherry that split.  I certainly don't have enough veneering experience to know which pieces of which species are prone to splitting.   I will anxiously await pictures of your build as it progresses!

ebag4

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #15 on: 23 Oct 2016, 10:15 pm »
Ed, I will cross my fingers that your burl comes through without splitting... I used softener with the raw cherry that split.  I certainly don't have enough veneering experience to know which pieces of which species are prone to splitting.   I will anxiously await pictures of your build as it progresses!
Thanks for the clarification Pete, much appreciated, more food for thought.

Best,
Ed

BK_856er

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Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #16 on: 24 Oct 2016, 01:30 am »
My experience is limited to paper-backed makore - I'm no expert.  I used softener and heatlock with excellent results, including a 3/8" roundover, on the LGK.  All is well a few years later.  No seams in my case.  You would be wise to (1) measure your actual iron temp with a thermocouple to ensure it's suitable, and (2) do some test pieces to refine your technique.

BK


ebag4

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #17 on: 25 Oct 2016, 12:47 am »
A little progress this weekend...



Best,
Ed

ACHiPo

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #18 on: 28 Oct 2016, 04:03 pm »
Ed,
Looking good.  Looking forward to seeing them veneered!
AC

ebag4

Re: Veneer Question
« Reply #19 on: 29 Oct 2016, 01:19 am »
On My experience is limited to paper-backed makore - I'm no expert.  I used softener and heatlock with excellent results, including a 3/8" roundover, on the LGK.  All is well a few years later.  No seams in my case.  You would be wise to (1) measure your actual iron temp with a thermocouple to ensure it's suitable, and (2) do some test pieces to refine your technique.

BK
Thanks BK, I asked Joe @ Joe Woodworker about iron temp, he indicated that he had not tested for an ideal temp and most irons don't indicate temp.  He did say that the cotton settings is where most land.

Ed,
Looking good.  Looking forward to seeing them veneered!
AC
Thanks AC, me too!

Best,
Ed