Mending Cap Veneers

Hello everyone…

Well, it’s been one of those autumns….

We recently had some atmospheric “issues” here in the shop and below you can see the results on the cap veneers on the spinet case.

Loosened Cap Veneer

Loosened Cap Veneer

Loosened Cap Veneer on Spinet Front Rail.

Loosened Cap Veneer on Spinet Front Rail. 

The front rail took the brunt of the damage, with four splits there, and one on the top edge of the bentside.  Tapping on the veneers revealed the precise locations where veneer had lifted. After waiting a couple of days for conditions to stabilize, I began with re-laying the lifted veneer sections.  Here is where hide glue earns its keep.

First, a warm palette knife was inserted between veneer and ground, to lightly melt any residual glue that might prevent surfaces coming back together.  Then fresh, warm, thin glue was worked into the space.  I pressed it all down with my fingers, rubbing with a veneer hammer action.  I lightly moistening of the top of the veneer to prevent warping across the grain, but but not so much as to soak and swell the veneer, which might lead to further splits as it cooled and dried.  Linen rags go on top to keep the veneer stable once the glue has grabbed it.

Cap Veneer Relaid

Cap Veneer Relaid

IMG_3878

Of course, the open splits did not close up.  That was not my intention.

Remaining Open Joint in Cap Veneer on Front Rail.

Remaining Open Joint in Cap Veneer on Front Rail.

Next was to saw and chisel out the open section.  Here it is on the bentside cap veneer:

Cleaned Cap Veneer Joint on Bentside.

Cleaned Cap Veneer Joint on Bentside.

Fortunately, I had spare cap veneer banding, thick stuff.  I shot the edge of the strip with the try plane on the small shooting board.  After breaking off a small section, I braced the veneer against a nail driven into the shooting board so that I could shoot it and also pivot the veneer around to adjust the angle of the veneer’s edge.  Here’s the set up (yes, dangerous having metal near the plane edge, but I didn’t want to waste time, so caution thrown away):

Shooting the edge of a veneer banding piece.  Note that the piece is free and can be pivoted against the nail to adjust the angle.

Shooting the edge of a veneer banding piece. Note that the piece is free and can be pivoted against the nail to adjust the angle.

I kept up planing until the piece was just beginning to fit the gap, trial and error testing.  Then I resorted to a small bastard file and carefully filed one edge, tested, filed more until the piece fit into place.

Filing the shim edge.

Filing the shim edge.

Shim fitted into gap.

Shim fitted into gap.

Finally everything was trimmed back with chisels and a sharp spokeshave.  Since the veneers are not finished yet, blending everything out was much easier.  See the result.

Flushed and Blended Shim.

Flushed and Blended Shim.

Here’s the big replacement shim for the major split on the front rail.

Fitting the Gap Piece for the Front Rail Cap Veneer.

Fitting the Gap Piece for the Front Rail Cap Veneer.

Gap piece fully trimmed and fitted.

Gap piece fully trimmed and fitted.

This one was large enough that when I glued it in, I put a damp linen rag piece to keep the  piece stable .

I haven’t yet cleaned up this one.  Tomorrow.  Plus a couple of more joints to repair.  But it seems to work.

As the surgeon’s mate said in Master and Commander, “Aye, sir.  She’ll patch up nicely.”

Ed

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This entry was posted in Harpsichords and Spinets, Veneer. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mending Cap Veneers

  1. Bill T. says:

    Ha! I love the line “See the result”! Because I CAN’T see it! Which is, of course, the desired result. Nice work, Ed!

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