A few posts ago, I showed some of the initial prep work to build some legs for a new entertainment stand. The process started by dimensioning some wall studs and then laminating 2 studs together. This formed the core of the legs that I was building.
The next step was to prep the walnut veneers that would wrap the legs. There are 8 legs and 4 faces that need veneer – no need to veneer the tops or bottoms of the legs as neither would ever be seen. So 8 legs times 4 faces equals 32 veneers needed. Ideally I would get each leg’s 4 veneers out of the same board, but this isn’t always possible. The process is involved, but fairly straightforward. First a face and an edge of a piece of walnut is run over the jointer. Next it’s over to the band saw. The goal is to cut an extremely thin piece of walnut from the board (this will become the veneer). The process of jointer and then band saw is repeated over and over until all 32 veneers are cut. Unfortunately both faces of the veneer need to be smooth, and they aren’t smooth enough coming off of the band saw. So the final step to prep the veneers involves a lot of sanding. I use a wide belt sander (although I think a lot of people call them a drum sander) to smooth the faces and get the veneers to the final thickness.
Now with all of the pieces prepped, it’s time to start gluing on the veneers. I first begin with the sides of the legs. As you would imagine, it’s just gluing and clamping. The veneers are oversized, so once the legs come out of the clamps, there is a need for some hand planing. With the side veneers flush to the front and back of the leg cores, the front and back veneers can be applied. If you can’t tell by now, it’s a lot of work to build legs this way. It would be a lot easier to just start with thick lumber and joint and plane it to dimension. The challenge in that approach (and this specific situation) is that I wanted the walnut to match (in color) the rest of the walnut that would be used on the piece. And I wanted strong, stable legs.
The photo below shows the top of a leg and one of many mortises. By the time the piece is finished there will be 60 mortises cut. Lots of work left to do, but finally making some real progress.