Veneer a curved panel - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-10-2013, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I have to veneer a panel approximately 30" wide and 10' long. I will be curved and placed in an overhead arch. I want to veneer a 3/8" flexible plywood and the question I have: Can I veneer this panel while lying flat and then place it in the arched application or will I have to place it in its arched location first and then apply the veneer??
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-10-2013, 10:08 AM
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Interesting question! I have done quite a bit of curved veneer work on furniture but never anything this big. Which means that what I'm about to say is a semi-educated guess.

I think a lot would depend on how tight a radius you're working with. If the radius is pretty big and the curve is fairly gentle, you could probably get away with veneering the panel while it's flat. Chances are that the veneer would compress enough, and the contact adhesive would give enough, that it would work OK. On the other hand, if you're dealing with a relatively small radius and a pretty tight curve, I would not assume that I could veneer the panel flat and still get it to conform to the radius. For a smaller radius/tighter curve, I would veneer the panel after it's installed.

I assume you will be using paper-backed veneer and contact adhesive, which are probably good choices for this project.

Good luck and post pictures!

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post #3 of 8 Old 01-10-2013, 10:09 AM
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you have to veneer it when the shape is finalized. The veneer will either buckle or break if you bend the wood after the fact....

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-10-2013, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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OK.....I also should've mentioned the curved arch is 80 1/4" wide and peaks at approximately 39". I tried to "force bend" a regular sheet of 1/4" Sapele plywood and was within 4 inches of succeeding when the piece began to crackle.

The problem with veneering the piece in place is the task of managing a 10' long contact cemented limp sheet of veneer (paper backed) without having it make contact somewhere. The same holds true of veneering on a flat surface such as my bench, but the handling problems become more manageable.

Lastly, I don't want to appear ungrateful for the advice or argumentative, but I don't understanding if the outer most skin of a 3/8" flexible plywood substrate is nothing more than a thin layer of inexpensive wood veneer. Then why would one more thin veneer layer automatically immobolize the flexibility of the flexible plywood substrate?
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-10-2013, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradbdad View Post

OK.....I also should've mentioned the curved arch is 80 1/4" wide and peaks at approximately 39". I tried to "force bend" a regular sheet of 1/4" Sapele plywood and was within 4 inches of succeeding when the piece began to crackle.
To what radius? I bend 1/4" 3 ply plywood to as small as a 20 inch radius with no difficulty at all. But it must be 3 ply, and you have to cut it on the easier bending axis of the wood.

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post #6 of 8 Old 01-11-2013, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradbdad View Post

Lastly, I don't want to appear ungrateful for the advice or argumentative, but I don't understanding if the outer most skin of a 3/8" flexible plywood substrate is nothing more than a thin layer of inexpensive wood veneer. Then why would one more thin veneer layer automatically immobolize the flexibility of the flexible plywood substrate?

The outer skin of flexible plywood splits along the grain when it bends. You could probably force your veneer to do the same, but I doubt you would be pleased with the appearance.

That being said, you could be correct that the thin paper-backed veneer would not keep a pre-veneered panel from conforming to your radius. Unless you're lucky enough to find someone who has done this before -- which I don't think any of us has -- you aren't going to know whether it will work until you try it.

Could you do a test with a smaller section? Maybe cut a 2-foot section of the flexible plywood and veneer it on the flat, and then see what it does when you try to push it up into the vault framing.

This will certainly be cool when you get it to work, but it's an ambitious project!

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post #7 of 8 Old 01-11-2013, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Some good ideas and I guess I will have to test representative but smaller piece to know for sure. The arched radius is 44"...if that's sheds for definitive light. I'll let you know on the test in a few weeks!
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-11-2013, 01:11 PM
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Some good ideas and I guess I will have to test representative but smaller piece to know for sure. The arched radius is 44"...
That radius is a snap with 3 ply 3/8". But even four ply makes it considerably more difficult.

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