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Crosscut Fixture

Crosscut FixtureThe problem with crosscutting veneer using a straightedge is that you have to cut inwards from both edges of the veneer, or the veneer will split/tear near the edges. With this fixture the veneer is trapped against the front edge/stop and can be cut back to front with no tearout. Multiple sheets can be cut at the same time and all cuts will be square to the front edge of the veneer. Using pencil marks (or a scale) on the stop, veneer (or 3 tab roofing :-) can easily be cut to length.

The base and stop are 1/4" MDF. The square/straightedge is 1/4" plywood with a piece or stainless angle epoxied on. The cutting leg of the angle is flush to the bottom of the plywood and runs long to mate with a kerf in the stop. The kerf allows the cutting blade to run past the edge of the veneer and registers the square to the base. There is a second kerf in the middle of the stop that I use for breaking down long sheets of veneer.
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Masking Tape Dispenser

Masking Tape DispenserAfter doing a bunch of seaming I went to eBay to look at tape dispensers and found this Big Inch No.4 dispenser. Its big and heavy but its ability to dispense cut pieces of tape in varying lengths is very handy for veneering, e.g. cross taping veneer seams. For most tasks I prefer 1/2" wide tape so I added a wood block with a utility knife blade mounted to it that splits 1" tape before dispensing it.

I haven't seen any more for sale and don't know if the cheap electric alternatives (e.g. Royal TD100 @ < $25) are any good.
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Veneer Tape Dispenser

Tape DispenserI've tired a number of ways to moisten veneer tape and this setup works the best. The image is just a starting point, the tape holder was originally built around a ceramic wheel stamp moistener. I thought the wheel moistener was a great idea but the wiping action of the sponge moistener works much better (no blotching). The water reservoir and capillary action in the sponge keeps the top of the sponge wet.
Tape DispenserUsing the envelope moistener (Premier PRELM3) with the top off allows more contact area/pressure against the sponge and moistens the tape enough to get a good consistent bond (not so with the top on). Having a tape guide below the top of the sponge provides consistent pressure and allows for long seams. Straight wood dowels (closer together) would probably be fine, I needed the stepped guides for the custom aluminum wheel I tried.

... I used 3/8" drill rod (...front two are now stainless) for my second dispenser (2nd image). There's also a front view... This one works pretty well, but the stop collar sandwich (collar-disk-tape roll-disk-collar) lossens up in use (too little tape tension) and needs to be snugged up every now and then. Adding a cone spring (between a collar and disk)... solved that.
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Glue Spreader

Glue SpreaderI'm a perfectionist and a notched spreader is the only way I know of to get a consistent thickness of glue. My spreader is made from a bent piece of scrap stainless (25ga) notched with a triangular file (the closeup includes a ruler for scale). Filing down a fine toothed vinyl flooring spreader is another possibility.

To test coverage do a test layup using a glue color that contrasts with the wood color. Press the layup for a couple of minutes and then peel off the veneer. In the closeup you can see that I didn't quite get 100% coverage with my VG Fir coverage test (tiny pockets of uncolored fir).

Use a porous quartersawn wood to see if you're using too much glue. There's a very fine line between bleed through on porous wood and 100% coverage. Using raw MDF cauls will help to minimize bleed through. I'm happy when there is no obvious bleed through and the MDF comes away with tiny pips of glue stuck to it (felt, not seen).

See also:
YouTube video of spreader in use
Article: Gluing with a Notched Spreader

Glue Spreader I've made a batch of these with 23ga (.028"/.72mm) stainless and milled notches. The spreaders have an ~1mm V notch on 3mm centers. Their calculated film thickness is 6.6 mils (.0394 x .0394 = .001552, / 4 = .000388, square root = .0197, / 3 = .0066). I did two tests to calculate film thickness using grams of glue used per square meter. Considering I used a 55 lb scale and relatively small test pieces (~.3 sq meters), the 4 and 5.6 mil results are surprisingly close. Even with the relatively small notch area, unacceptable bleed through is possible if care is not taken to clean up/remove excess glue - pressure and angle can make a big difference. I am offering them for $19.99 shipped. I know that sounds like a lot, but I'm charging less than I should (and its a _lot_ cheaper than a Pfohl/Klebo or Lamello spreader). They measure 5-3/4" wide and 3" tall when flat. I will custom cut these to width (3mm increments, no charge) if you want a narrower spreader.
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