Cutting Veneer into Strips for Edgebanding

Advice on how to soften and cut figured veneer flitches. December 14, 2009

Does anyone know how to cut walnut flitches it into strips for edge banding since it is brittle?

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor J:
Unless you're cutting hundreds of these, invest in a veneer saw (the hand tool variety). It should be about ten bucks at your choice of woodworking stores/sites. Almost everybody sells the same one, a German brand with a replaceable saw blade.

Using it takes some getting used to, especially on something fragile like burl. The teeth point in one direction on part of the blade, and the other way on the rest. You will mostly be cutting on the pull stroke. Try cutting the last inch or two where you will be exiting the cut (the part closest to you) first, but with a push stroke. You may want to put veneer tape on the band before you cut it to keep it from breaking after it's cut.

From contributor V:
Get some commercial Veneer softener like GF-20, or make some yourself. Allow the burl to relax for a period of time to flatten out. Get it dry enough to apply tape to as contributor J suggested. If it's too dry, it will chip and break apart like crazy.

From contributor U:
Softening the veneer will help. The other thing you need to do is keep the veneer under pressure while cutting it. A heavy straight edge should work depending on the length of strip you need to cut.

From contributor V:
Good point. Adding to that, pressures in the burl due to the wild grain can cause tears as you are cutting. These tears often will go up under the straightedge. I have often cut slightly oversize and then re-cut. I have also often not done so, and had to change a two-piece match into a four-piece match.

From contributor M:
Contributor V - you mentioned a homemade veneer softening mixture, do you know of a recipe for it?

From contributor V:
Glycol, isopropanol alcohol, and water. I think it's equal parts, but I'm not sure. GF-20 isn't that expensive.

From contributor R:
On a custom basis manufacture Walnut Burl edgebanding with a fleece back is an alternative.