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 In Tricks of the Trade

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While trying to attach a carved 18“-thick mahogany veneer to the edge of a curved shelf, an idea came to me as a last moment glue-up solution.

Initially I thought I could make it easier to bend by wrapping the sawn veneer in a towel then saturating it with boiling water; this didn’t have the effect for which I had hoped. As I started to bend the veneer around the shelf, it was apparent that it would not lie flat around the curve.

Grabbing a small offcut of the shelf to use as a caul, I clamped it to the apex of the curved edge, but this still left the balance of the veneer away from the shelf.

My next thought was to use masking tape. But the veneer was still damp, so I couldn’t be sure the tape would hold. And the glue was setting fast.

Then it hit me. If I had something that would stretch like rubber and was clear so I could see the glue joint, I could work my way from the apex of the curve to the back edge of the shelf to get a good glue joint. I would then be able to accomplish the glue-up.

My eyes fell upon a roll of shrink wrap – just what I needed. I wrapped it around the curve and tied it off at the top of the clamp. I repeated the process until the entire assembly was covered and secure. As a bonus, the translucence of the shrink wrap allowed me to keep tabs as I worked.

Everything worked out, but I think it will be a while before I attempt a glue-up again without first making a dry run. -Tim DeKorte






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