Softening/flattening burl veneers

Other Versions
Step-by-step instructions. July 22, 2003

I am interested in the exact methods used when softening/flattening burl veneers. I am making furniture with book matched and quarter matched panels from myrtle burl.

Forum Responses
From contributor J:
Here you go…

GF-20 - Veneer softener: A solution to treat crotch or burl veneers and other difficult veneer with similar characteristics. The GF-20 temporarily plasticizes the cells of the veneer, making them more flexible and pliable.

Recommended procedure: Mix the GF-20 with water to a maximum of 1:1 dilution. Adjust concentration dependent on the characteristics of the veneer.

Apply the solution by dipping, spraying or brushing. Make sure you obtain 100% coverage.

Allow the veneer to stand until the surface appears dry, about 30 minutes. After they appear dry, separate the leaves with kraft paper, and change the paper after about two hours. Sandwich them again with kraft paper and press between 3/4 in ply or MDF with weight on top and allow them to dry overnight.

If possible, apply heat to the veneers for better plasticizing. This can be done by either placing the veneer in a hot press, one or two leaves high for about 30 to 45 seconds or place it between heated boards.

For smaller jobs cover the veneer with kraft paper and apply an iron at medium / high heat. The softening effect will work with or without heat.

Note: The plasticizing effect only lasts 12 to 24 hours, so it is not possible to prepare raw material several days in advance.

This is a combustible liquid. Keep away from fire, flame and all sources of ignition. Provide adequate ventilation at all times to prevent buildup of vapors. Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool dry place.

Thanks. I have done some tests with a recipe off this forum and the only problem I had was with paper sticking to the veneer. What could I have done to prevent this?

From contributor J:
I have seen many, many recipes for homemade flattening agents. The product we (Veneer Systems) offer is a commercial product developed specifically for veneering.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

From contributor Z:
I use a flattening solution similar to the one mentioned. Coat both sides of the veneer with it, and when ready, press the veneer between two sheets of coated butcher paper and the cauls. Keep the paper smooth. Any wrinkle in the paper will be transfered to the veneer.