Slicing Veneer

Advice on patterns, tools and techniques for cutting triangle-shaped veneer pieces for a "sunburst" table top. October 30, 2005

I am building a Demilume table and would like to do a 1/2 sunburst veneer for the top. I bought some really nice olive ash burl, consecutively sliced, but I am not sure how I am supposed to cut the pie shapes. It would seem that I would just stack them all up with the grain aligned and I could cut the shapes anywhere. Is there a trick to this?

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor J:
You can use a lexan template.

From the original questioner:
That is an excellent idea. I suppose I can trim to the template with an exacto knife in several passes and hope the burl does not break.

From contributor F:
Careful about stacking veneer when cutting with a knife or even a razor blade. Because of the double angle of the knife blade, you will get a much tighter fit by cutting from the back of the veneer.

There is a new product on the market that was introduced at the show in Atlanta that could be of interest. Sunburst and Spider web veneer laid up on a 2 ply paper back. Pre sanded 2, 3 and 4' circles. Whittelsey in Miami can tell you more.

From contributor D:
Try wetting or even dampening the edges to be cut with the exacto. This technique helps ensure a cleaner slice and works great for me.

From the original questioner:
I used contributor J's idea of a lexan template, contributor F's idea of one at a time and contributor D's idea of wetting the veneer. Worked great - thanks, guys. This is what this forum is all about to me.

From contributor D:
Another great idea that works is to use a circular razor to cut the damp veneer. It resembles a pizza cutter and can be found in most fabric/sewing shops. This, along with a straight edge, on dampened veneer, works flawlessly.