Birds' Eye-Maple Mantel Box - Veneering Pt. 1

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Now that the box itself is glued up, the next step is to veneer the outside. To create a "seamless" look for the box, I am going to lay on the veneer in a very particular sequence: first the ends, then the long sides, then the top. Before I can do that, however, I need to make sure the end pieces are completely flush across their widths. Since the veneer is so thin, any discrepancy in the substrate will translate through to the surface. In this picture I am sanding the edges of the long pieces flush with the end pieces.

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Sealing the edges with watered-down yellow glue. Sealing the edges will help with glue adhesion, and should prevent the veneer from peeling up around the edges later down the road.

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Because the ends of the box have both end grain and face grain, I am using poplar veneer as a backer underneath the Birds' Eye Maple. The backer will also even out any remaining discrepancies in the surface of the MDF.

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Gluing up the ends. In this case I used eight pipe clamps, four pairs of bowed cauls, and two MDF "pads" to ensure even clamping pressure.

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Once the backer veneer is glued up, the Birds Eye Maple is laid on and glued up.

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Trimming the veneer flush with the edges. Once the edges are completely flush, I can overhang the veneer for the other three sides of the box. Don't worry, I swear this will all make sense in the end...