Jointing veneer with tablesaw
Various techniques for jointing veneer. August 29, 2001
We do a lot of veneer work. We've largely given up jointing veneer with a router. Since we can't afford a guillotine, we use a trick from Dakota Jackson to use the table saw. We sandwich a stack of leaves between two pieces of MDF and then, using a Hi-AT blade, cut though the stack, the blade just barely going into the top piece of MDF. (NOTE: this is a professional cut and should not be attempted by hobbyists.)
We get good results: certainly good enough for backer veneer and with easy veneers, good enough for the public face as well. But with difficult veneers the results are problematic and unpredictable. Would I get better results if I used a powerfeed to put the stack through the table saw? I'd certainly get better pressure over the cutting point. And better yet, how about if I climb cut the stack by reversing the powerfeed? There would be nothing behind the tooth to tear out.
As I said earlier: this is not something people should try. I want to find out if this is an established professional technique or not.
If you're serious about veneering, I suggest you buy a beam saw with a milling unit. It's much less expensive than a guillotine. Don't climb cut with a table saw, either.
We use a pressure beam on our slider saw to straight-line the veneer. We sandwich the veneer between 1/4" MDF. We have tried running the carriage backwards, climb-cutting on difficult veneer, but have not had much success. We have, however, had success when we determine the optimum grain direction of the veneer to the rotation of the blade. We have also run masking tape on the edges of the veneer. It took a lot of time and a lot of tape but it worked great. It is hard to justify a beam saw unless you do a lot of veneer work and have a lot of floor space.
You would be surprised what you can do with a beam saw. It doesn't just cut veneer!
I always sandwich between MDF and hit it with the belt sander. You can get 2 pieces to match perfectly with this technique and it goes fairly quickly.
With shorter lengths of veneer I have had excellent results sandwiching the veneers between two layers of MDF and sanding edges smooth and square on an edge belt sander. Don't use the oscillating feature if the machine has one, though. And it is critical that the platen is square to the work surface. This method works especially well with burls and otherwise difficult to work veneers.