By Seth Janofsky w i
Sawn veneers have some distinct advantages over today's sliced veneers; they're thicker, so handling and working with them is essentially the same as with solid wood. Plus you can achieve a perfect match in color and texture between your veneer and edgings because both elements can be made from the same board.
To make your own veneer, all you need is a finely adjusted band-saw, a sharp blade and a resaw fence. (For more on resawing and selecting a blade, see AW #38.) My resaw fence, a simple right-angled affair built from plywood and screwed together (see photo, above), is as high as the board I'm resawing is wide.
I aim for a finish that's no thicker than 3/32 in. Any thicker, and your veneer is likely to split or crack once it's glued to the substrate, or even distort the panel. I set the fence to the exact thickness I want. If I suspect the wood will be especially difficult to saw, I make a slightly heavier cut. Be sure to make a triangle on the end of the board so you can reassemble the veneer later. As I'm sawing I concentrate on keeping pressure on the board just in front of the blade so the board bears fully against the fence. If the board is difficult to hold against the fence, either from bowing or from ridges or bumps from previous cuts, I'll flatten the face of the board on the jointer between cuts. However, keep jointing to a minimum to avoid mismatching the grain on subsequent sheets of veneer.
After resawing, stack the veneers in the order they came off the saw. Store them either stacked tightly together on a flat surface, with the top and bottom surfaces covered, or stickered on a flat surface with weights placed on top directly over the stickers. In general, I try to let the stack sit overnight to allow enough time for the wood to stabilize.
To joint the veneers for edge-to-edge gluing, I use a simple shooting board made from shop scrap. (See photo below.) I joint each pair with one piece face up and the other face down, so that any errors in squareness will be self-compensating once the veneers are laid side by side.
Once the veneers are jointed, glue them together, one pair at a time. A simple system using folding wedges (see the article on Wedges, page 64), works well. Light pressure is all it takes. (See photo, right.) If the panel bows upward, place some waxed paper and a weight (a metal jointer plane is ideal) on the glue seam.
When all the glued seams have dried, scrape both sides of the sheets. I usually clamp one end down to the bench or butt an end up against a bench stop; then I scrape any high spots on the glue line with a cabinet scraper and remove any glue spots or ridges elsewhere. Concentrate on getting the surface flat and even, not smooth. In fact, a slightly rough surface will improve adhesion to the core.
Gluing sawn veneer to a substrate is in most respects similar to working with commercial veneers. (See main article.) However, be sure to take the thickness of the veneer into account so your finished panel comes out at the desired size.
Sawing it thin. A handsaw with a sharp blade and a tall fence are all you need to make your own veneer.
Wedging it together. Tapping pairs of wedges together creates enough pressure to glue veneers edge-to-edge.
Shootin' straight. Janofsky straightens and squares the edges of his veneer with a homemade plane and a simple shooting board.
SETH JANOFSKY is a photographer andfurniture maker in northern California; he studied at the College of the Redwoods.
A We 11-Crafted Way to Attract Mallards or Dispel Quackery by Stephen Blenk
Hot so long ago, if you weren't a duck hunter yourself, you knew someone who was. Today things have changed, and shooting ducks has for the most part given way to protecting them. But there is an enjoyable side to this venerable field sport that both hunters and non-hunters alike can share: calling ducks. With a lathe and a little imagination, you can crcatc a beautiful model of the call grandpa used. (In specialty catalogs, premium-quality duck calls can cost $75 or more.) And with practice, you'll be able to fool the birds and gain a rare view of waterfowl in their natural environment.
The duck call might well be considered a wind instrument. (I can sec musicians around the world gathering into a lynch mob!) The call consists of two hollow turnings that fit together around a reed and sounding block. When air passes over the reed in the correct manner, the resulting vibrations can imitate various sounds in duck vocabulary. Oncc you make your call, you'll discover that there's a good deal of humor in learning different duck calls. (See sidebar, page 75.)
None of the individual turnings for the duck call arc particularly difficult, and the process of fitting and "tuning" a call is a trial-and-error affair. My research on early calls has yielded one truth: No two call-makers did it exactly the same way. So don't take my word as law on any of the dimensions for the call shown here. Don't be afraid to experiment.
To make the call shown here, I used rosewood for the call body and tapered the tube. Any clear, dense hardwood will work well for these parts. The sounding block and wedge are aromatic eastern cedar. The cedar stands up well to the moist conditions that prevail inside a well-used call; it also keeps the call smelling nice!
The body of the call is a hollow tube. I usually turn this part to a maximum diameter of 1 in. and to a length of around 4 in. The shape can vary from a fairly even diameter like the one shown here to a gently tapered form with the mouthpiece at the narrower end. Regardless of shape, the call body needs some detailing to make it look attractive and handle well. (See photo, above.) This detailing usually includes a groove for a lanyard. (See drawing, page 74.)
I start with a blank that's square in section and about 5 in. long. Turn the blank down to round between centers, or rip it octagonal on the tablesaw. Then mount it in a lathe chuck of some sort, such as a Nova chuck. Square the tail-stock end with a parting tool or skew.
Next, bore out the center of the blank with a ^S-in. bit mounted in a chuck in your tailstock. Bore slightly deeper than the finished length of the call body. Caution: Avoid overheating the bit and the workpiccc when drilling out the call body! I use a twist bit and keep speed down to 400 rpm. I've found that I can bore straighter and with less heat if I grind the combined angle of the bit back from 120° to about 100°.
Part off the call body to its finished length; then turn a piece of stock to a taper that will fit the bore. Mount the call body between ccntcrs, using the tapered piece and a live center with a tapered point in the tailstock (sec top photo, page 74). Re-true the turning and square both shoulders. Then turn the outside dimensions to crcatc the shape and detailing you want. As a final shaping step, I like to flare the opening of the mouthpiccc end just slightly.
Now you can sand and finish the call body. I recommend a good gunstock finish like Birchwood Casey "Tru-Oil," available from the Dixie Gun Works, Inc. (800-238-6785). This is a polymerizing oil finish that offers good protection from the elements. I find that it
Fowl play. The duck call was once known only among hunters. Today; the love and lure of this traditional turning project has a far broader appeal.
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