Veneer Thickness and Sanding Tolerances

Veneer thick enough for heavy sanding is hard to find, so learn to use a light touch. June 18, 2009

I'm relatively new to veneering. I have built a vacuum press that has worked well on a few projects and am using PPR glue from Veneer Systems. My problem is not with glue type or clamping pressure. The project I'm working on has 12 curved doors that are to match the detail on balance of flat slab doors. The detail is a 3.5 mm solid mahogany edge that flushes out to a mahogany or lacewood veneer, depending on location. On the first 4 doors out of the press, as I was sanding the glue line out around the perimeter after applying edge, I burned through the veneer almost instantly. Are there any suppliers that are known for providing veneers that are thick enough to take some sanding? The material I have is so thin that I can't imagine thickness could be measured in anything but angstroms of light. Thanks for any leads that will help future projects go a bit smoother.

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor A:
Standard thicknesses for commercially produced veneer are between 1/35 and 1/47 of an inch. You can sometimes find 1/16 veneer, but it is not available with the variety that the thinner stuff is.

In my experience, sand-throughs have only been an issue when my pieces have come out of the press wavy or wrinkled. Start sanding with 120 and switch to 150 as soon as the knife marks are out.

From contributor B:
Go to the Project Gallery on this site and see post of 6/10 "Marquetry Display Table". There are links to other projects of his. He is not the only contemporary veneer/inlay artisan, but you will see what can and is being done with available veneers. He may be willing to share some knowledge.

From contributor C:
I tend to flush my edging to the veneer with a router and do as little sanding as possible on and around edges. You do need to be very carefully with the router as a mistake is usually not fixable. I also don't sand the panel veneer until after the edging is applied to avoid repeated sanding.

From the original questioner:
Thanks to all for the helpful, insightful responses. After remaking the first matched set of panels, I became much more careful. Very little sanding on veneer, protecting veneer while working edges etc... The hand work is very time consuming but the finished product is ultimately meeting expectations. Thanks again.