Veneering Equipment

Basic descriptions of veneer stitchers, slicers, clippers, and guillotines. November 13, 2008

Reprinted with permission from MLS Machinery, Inc.

Veneering equipment is a very specialized category. Veneering equipment covers a number of machines previously discussed under other categories; example, presses, glue spreaders, sanders and finishing equipment.

Veneer stitches are machines that stitch pieces of veneer together, very much the same as a sewing machine would stitch material together. It uses a very fine thread, but this thread is made of glue and when it is activated by heat, the glue melts and holds the pieces of veneer together. Once a full 4' x 8' sheet of veneer (or whatever size is required) is produced, it will be pressed onto a panel (by a press) and during this pressing operation, the glue almost disintegrates because of the heat. Veneer, by the nature of the material, only comes in narrow strips being between 2" to 12". Should an operator require to cover a panel 48" wide, he would stitch eight, six-inch pieces (or a similar configuration) together with this sewing machine (veneer stitcher) and make up the 48" piece. Some stitchers are called zigzag machines because they stitch in a zigzag fashion, criss-crossing from one strip of veneer to another. Once pressed, the veneer panel would go through a sander, which will remove any trace of the remaining glue.

Some stitches can be very large and are fully automated such as a cross feed splicer. This machine will take the veneer that has been cut (guillotined) automatically put on the glue and stitch one piece to the other continuously while being pulled back as the stitched sheet becomes larger and will drop the sheet onto a bundle once the veneer sheet has reached its required size.

Some stitchers, instead of stitching, join the veneer strips together by gluing the edge of the strips and splicing them together, sometimes also known as "veneer splicers". Again excess glue is removed once the part has been pressed and sanded.

Veneering equipment also includes clippers and guillotines. The guillotine is very similar to the guillotine found in the metal industry. Guillotines will take a number of pieces of very thin veneer, after they have been placed one on top of the other to form a thick "book", and in a method similar to that discussed under horizontal panel saws, instead of a blade traveling across, a long knife comes down and cuts the pieces to a pre-determined width before they are spliced or stitched together. Guillotines will come anywhere in length from 6' to 15'. There are also double knife guillotines that are much faster cutting the front and the back of the material at the same time to the desired width.

Clippers are basically the same as a guillotine but are much smaller. They will do the cross-cutting as opposed to the rip cutting as has been discussed under horizontal panel saws; therefore, a guillotine will rip into long parts and a clipper will cut these long parts to the required length. Most clippers are normally not more than 24", maybe to a maximum of 48", wide with a knife blade coming down in a similar way to the guillotine as discussed above. It can also be fed the same way; that is, with a pusher fence as seen again under panel saws.

Under this category there are also machines that actually make the veneer, such as a veneer slicer that actually takes the log and rotates it against a knife that runs almost the full length of the log, actually peeling the veneer off the log, almost like a turning lathe. The thickness can be set to determine how thick a veneer is required.

This only covers the main machines in veneer operations. There are some others but they are not dealt with here.

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