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Subject: Wood veneering technology

Wood veneering technology

From: Martin O'Brien <martinob>
Date: Wednesday, August 30, 2000
Holly McGowan-Jackson <ngvcons [at] ngv__vic__gov__au> writes

>Information on veneering technology at the turn of last century is
>requested in relation to a large picture frame made in 1898 in
>Melbourne, Australia.  It is of simple construction, with nailed
>joins.  The frame profile is a wide descending bevel, that consists
>of a single board attached to an outer member. The front surface is
>covered with a quarter-sliced veneer that has the appearance of an
>American oak.  The veneer is extremely thin (less than half
>millimeter) and is backed with paper.  A brown, water-soluble glue is
>used to attach the veneer to the paper backing and the paper to the
>carcase wood. The veneer was applied following the construction of
>the carcase which would make clamping rather inconvenient.  We were
>wondering whether it could be an early form of "iron-on" veneer.

>From what you have described, I would say that "yes" you have an
early form of "iron-on" veneer.  Other cabinetmakers and myself
specializing in early woodworking techniques refer to this as hammer
veneering.  In this procedure, hot hide glue is applied to the
substrate and the veneer is quickly laid down on and adhered to the
substrate with the aid of a veneer hammer which is nothing more than
a metal edge or "squeegee" that serves as a kind of roller to smooth
out and encourage the bonding.  This happens very quickly while the
hot hide glue is gelling.   There is a window of time though that
you can re-heat the hide glue if you haven't been able to get the
veneer laid down flat.  This re-heating can be done today with an
electric clothes iron, but I'm sure that "veneer irons" of some type
existed back then.  I can't believe that they didn't need them.  Try
hammer veneering and you'll see what I mean.    I hope the brown
glue you are referring to is indeed hide glue.  There are many
references on hammer veneering.  The first that come to mind is:
Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking Volume three. I hope this is of some

Martin O'Brien
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:16
                 Distributed: Sunday, September 3, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-16-010
Received on Wednesday, 30 August, 2000

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