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Hey guys so this might be a stupid question but I am just a beginner, but can I cut wood veneer on a band saw.

I glued 5 sheets of wood veneer together to make it thicker and stronger, but it alternates in wood grain direction and in veneer type. I used paperback veneer and 2 ply veneer together. I used a vacuum compressor to keep them flat while they dried. Now I need to cut them into smaller pieces, I'm fairly sure it would be fine to use a band saw, right?

Also I've made 3 large pieces of veneers but one of them came out a bit warped for some reason, is there a way to flatten it even after it's been glued up and thick?

  • I have never used vacuum for compressing the veneer. How did you hold it flat during the glue setup period? – Ashlar Mar 13 '16 at 0:26
  • How thick is the plywood? – Ashlar Mar 13 '16 at 0:27
  • I placed them in between 1/4 inch plywoods, worked amazing, until that one warped for some reason and both pieces were in the same bag at the same time so I'm not sure how one of them warped – Melissa K Mar 13 '16 at 1:38
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    I'm surprised that 1/4 plywood was enough to keep things flat. As for why one warped, could it be that the glue had not fully dried inside one when you removed it from the form? – Ashlar Mar 13 '16 at 3:08
  • I regularly cut 1/8" plywood on my bandsaw - no special problem because it's thin causes no special problems. Depending on how small the final pieces are, a small bit of warp might very well be unnoticed and very acceptable. – Ast Pace Mar 13 '16 at 4:09
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A band saw is fine. I would recommend that you avoid low tooth counts such as 3 tpi (teeth per inch) and opt for a smaller/denser tooth blade. Don't get to aggressive, instead feed it through slowly to get a cleaner cut line.

In gluing up veneer always keep things symmetrical front to back (including thicknesses of the layers), alternating directions and always provide an odd count of layers (the paper layer does not count).

Unfortunately if you have laminated the layers and the result is warped, I believe the warp will be permanent. How much you can correct the warp will depend on how much it is deformed and how thick it is. You may be able to flatten it a bit if you glue it down to a frame that provides a flat surface.

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I'm fairly sure it would be fine to use a band saw, right?

Yes it's fine to use a bandsaw for cutting your homemade plywood, just as with commercial plywood.

There are a few things you can do to help get the cleanest cuts, regardless of the type of blade fitted. The first is perhaps obvious and that's to have the good face of your material facing upwards during the cut. As bandsaws cut with the blade moving downwards you get the most splintering (also called breakout or chipout) at the bottom.

If you would ideally like both faces of the material have the cleanest cuts possible, if the required cut allows it orient the bottom ply so the grain is in line with the axis of the blade. This will mean the blade is ripping and not cross-cutting that piece of veneer, giving much less splintering.

A zero-clearance insert can also greatly help in giving a cleaner cut.

Another tip you might like to try is taping along the cut lines. Apply painter's tape or masking tape along the line of the cut and burnish down well. Then you saw through the tape and the plywood.

All of the above tips can be used in concert if you want to take a belt-and-braces approach, which may be particularly useful if you have a low-TPI belt fitted to your bandsaw.

  • To get a clean cut on the bottom, a sacrificial piece of cheap, commercial plywood can be attached to the bottom of the desired piece. You can hold it together with short screws outside the keep area or use masking tape to hold the layers together. – FreeMan Mar 17 '16 at 14:05

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