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Too much Veneer6/29
I am in the process of starting a one man shop. While purchasing material and equipment for my intended products I purchased some veneer. I think I have a use for some of the material but I now have more than I will ever need. It was an impulse buy but I couldn't pass it up. I have an estimated 1500 pounds of oak, maple, walnut and cherry veneer. Here is what I know about it. it is 1/50 of an inch thick. The material is in pallets 10 and 12 feet long. The pallets are two ft. wide and between 4 and 8 inches thick. They are securely banded except for one that broke a few bands. I have them stored flat in my pole barn for now. I assume that the veneer has value but I certainly need help figuring out what that might be. I would like to market the veneer in a way that is reasonable to the buyer as well as myself. My questions are as follows. Should I cut it into more manageable lengths? should I build racks to store it? how do I show prospective customers what I have? Do I want to get into shipping and handling, build a web site or just sell locally? Should I target the hobbyist or try to sell the larger lengths as architectural? As you can see I have no idea what I'm doing with this much veneer but would like to make the best of it.
I don't know where you live, but pole barn storage is probably the last place to keep quality veneer. Exposure to wide swings in humidity and air borne dust (grit) will make it very unattractive to a commercial buyer. Also, a commercial buyer will not want to take any risks. So without knowing how it is handled, if properly stored, still in sequential order or not, or any knowledge of the history, they will not be interested. They just can't take a chance of the job going poorly. Personally, after being a woodworker for over 40 years (26 professionally), I know very few local people who work with raw veneer at all. I would say you have yourself in a pickle. There are sites like Woodbarter that may help you get rid of some of it, but most likely even those guys are going to want good photography of the material. Unless you have some really nice figured material, it's going to be a really rough sale. Good luck. By the way, I have a big stack of veneer I bought on ebay and a local auction 10 years ago. All highly figured burls and curly. Hardly used 1% of it. I guess we each need to learn a lesson!
I have to agree with Rich, no one who buys veneer on a commercial level will be interested. The first thing that came to my mind when you were describing the crates is that the veneer has been picked over. It sounded like "a little of this, a little of that", which means someone took the odds and ends and veneer that was "too good to throw away" (but not good enough to use) and made it into a nice bundle ... and put it away for five years. I know, been there done that. Then five years later I go "Why did I keep this?"
One thing I will say here is don't cut it down unless you have some use for it yourself. If you cut it to anything under 8 foot, they will call it "furniture grade" veneer and that automatically drops the price by nearly half.
You might be able to sell it on Ebay or something similar, but I would stay away from walk-in retail sales. Reason being that 99% of people don't know how to work with single ply veneer and when their process of Elmers Glue-all and four C-clamps doesn't work, they get mad at you for providing "inferior" veneer.
It will make GREAT kindling for your 4th of July bonfire though!
Thanks Gentlemen for your insight. I'm not ready to burn it yet but that is a future option. These are not remnants. I believe they are the examples of each log that a seller has used to show his client. I believe it is good quality. I can't prove that without opening the pallets. Then the can of worms grows because I now have to deal with and handle long thin sheets of wood just to see what I own. As pointed out it is not going to qualify as architectural and may or may not be good for furniture. I thought it may be useful for smaller woodworking projects. I've seen small packets of veneer at woodworking stores but paid no attention to the details. Thickness, sizes, price etc. I know I don't want to leave it in the barn for long. the majority of it is sort of shrink wrapped prior to palletizing and banding. the seller thought I would be alright if I leave it as is in the barn. He did caution about opening the pallets without putting it in a stable environment. Its sort of a pickle and also a challenge to see what I can come up with. I'll probably end up making a sow's purse out of a silk ear.
Bob, you probably confirmed John S's suspicion when you wrote, "I believe they are the examples of each log that a seller has used to show his client."
Here's some important information about veneer. Most veneer buyers want material that is in the sequence that it was sliced from the log. That's what allows us to create components with consistent grain structure and color, sometimes over very long runs. These sequences can be up to hundreds of individual leaves that are in order, and sometimes up to several thousand leaves from the same flitch or log.
When a flitch is sampled to a potential customer, there is an accepted method for doing so. A leaf is taken from one-third of the way through the flitch, one-half of the way through the flitch, and two-thirds of the way through the flitch. If the material you have is all sample sets of this type, what you have is sets of three non-sequential leaves, each set being from a different flitch.
Sadly, such material is of value to almost no one. The only user I can imagine who can make use of it is someone who does very small projects using veneer, projects that do not require sequential leaves. Practically by definition, that person is not going to need a lot of veneer, and there aren't very many of those people to begin with.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it sounds like you've got a barn full of nothing. If I were you I'd doublecheck the pallets to make sure there aren't any whole flitches in there -- they might be worth something, subject to the observations of the posters above. If not, you might try offering it for free to schools.
Sorry to rain on your parade, but it's probably better to know before you invest a lot of time and energy.
Prior to putting a match to it, there may be a Boys/Girls Club interested in your haul or perhaps a Trade School/High School.
If it hasn't gotten wet, it will BURN. I used to use 8" shorts to light my annual winter bonfire. I would start throwing a few sheets at a time in, then get a little frustrated.
Once a small flame was established, I threw a handful in and WHOOF!!!! Watch it go!!!!
Excellent for you next creative bent lamination creation! If you're going to burn it, I'd be happy to give you something for it! Happy 4th
Sell it on Ebay.