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Veneering and Inlays

This section handles all type of Veneering and Inlays(Hand and Press).
With separate references to;

Repair of Boullework
Handveneering Repair of Handlaid Veneers
Inlays Repair of Inlays
Repair of Intarsia
Repair of Marquetry
Repair of Parquetry
Pietre Dure
Repair of Pietre Dure
Repair of Pressed Veneers

The veneering of furniture is done to beautify its appearance.
Sometimes the veneer is of a type, such as Crotch(Flame) or Burl, which, although very beautiful to look at, if made into solid timber would not remain straight or even of the same dimensions, veneering a straight grained timber with such a veneer gives one the best of both worlds.
Or a really expensive veneer is laid on top of a plain cheaper timber.
Sometimes the construction of the panel, door or tabletop, is such that when in full view, cross member really give it an unappealing look, veneering therefore enhances the overall look.

Some times the designer wants the veneer to be laid down in a specific pattern, if this is a repeat pattern over a whole panel or the central filling of a panel then it is called PARQUETRY.

If the veneer is laid down with picture type design, sometimes just a single flower inlaid with differing types of wood or the same wood with the grain in differing directions, sometimes a whole picture, then it is called MARQUETRY.
Shown here is a dutch marquetry cabinet top.

If the wood or veneer is inlaid with strips which may have a pattern in them then it is called INLAY. or Banding
Here are shown some patterned strips or marquetry fillets for inlay.
They are produce in 1 meter (3'4" lengths).

Inlay, Parquetry and Marquetry are not restricted to wood they may incorporate such materials as Metals ( Brass, Pewter, Copper), Horns (Horn or Turtle Shell in differing colors ) Stone (Gems, Marble, Quartz) or any other material.

Marquetry done mainly in Turtle Shell and Metal is generally referred to as BOULLE or Boulle work after Charles Andre Boulle (1642-1732) who developed this "tarsia a incastro" to unprecedented heights.

Marquetry or Parquetry done in Stone is called PIETRE DURE or PIETRA DURA.
This is a section of a tabletop done by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence(1633-1649)for Ferdinando II de Medici. It was designed by Jacopo Ligozzi and Bernandino Poccetti.
Materials used are; Agates, Jaspers, Lapis Lazuli and Chalcedonies on a background of Flanders Marble.



It can be done either by hand ( Hand Veneering ) with warm animal glues, made from bones, fish, meat or hides (rabbit skin glue is generally considerate the best).
Or in a Press ( Press Veneering ) with either warm or cold glue.
The Press can be either Platten ( for flat work ) Caul ( for Shaped or Molded work ) or Vacuum ( for Any Shape work ).

Hand Veneering

Good quality Veneer maybe had at Rocklers

Handveneering or the laying of veneer by hand is normally done with warm animal glue.
To this purpose the animal,- or hide-glue is warmed up to 75° Celsius or 165° Fahrenheit but the temperature should not rise above this as else the protein chains start to breakdown and a distinct loss of "tackiness" is noted especially when the glue is reheated.
The warming of the glue is done either in a Bain Marie type warming pan or gluepot this restricts the temperature to 100° Celsius or 212° Fahrenheit, as when water gets warmer than this, the energy is used to convert water into steam.
In a waterless gluepot as opposed to a normal gluepot no water is used and they are set so, that the temperature doesn't exceed 75° Celsius or 165° Fahrenheit, this allows the glue to retain a much greater "tackiness" especially, if the glue is warmed up more than once.
The warm glue is applied with a brush to the timber, if the timber is very porous or the veneer is not flat, than it is best to apply a layer of glue, which is very much thinned down, a day before. This penetrates the timber and seals it, so that the next application of glue doesn't sink into the timber thus improving the "tackiness".
The fresher the veneer is the easier it is to glue.
In an old veneer the fibers seem to "set" and the cellulose, which keeps the fibers in place, is less readily softened thus making it harder for the fibers to shift along one another and allowing the veneer to lay easily flat upon the timber.
If a veneer is not flat than this can be achieved by wetting the leaves with water, and pressing them overnight between two flat panels, add a little Oxalic Acid to this water, for light veneers or those containing iron, to prevent rust stains (blue-black spots ) from appearing.
Rust spots already in the veneer or wood may often beremoved by washing or wiping with water in which some oxalic acid is dissolved.
Make sure to treat the whole surface as "edging" may appear where you stopped.
WARNING: Wear a appropriate facemask when sanding.
The first leave is now moistened and laid flat on top of the glue and partially warmed with an electric Iron, set on woollen, the warm glue remelts from this and the glue penetrates the wood and veneer, with a Veneering Hammer , this is a bronze hammer with a very wide pein, the excess glue is squeezed out from between the veneer and the wood. The airpressure helps the veneer to stick to the wood, but should be kept moist as drying of the surface makes the top shrink and thus causes the veneer to curl up.
Now the process may be repeated with the area next to it, until the whole leaf lays nice and flat.
If the surface needs more than one leaf then the first one is to be glued slightly over the joint line and the second one is glued with the veneer protruding the same amount over the joint line (place where you want the join of the leaves to be ), on top of the first one.
Then they are the both cut at the same time, after which the joint is rewarmed and the excess veneer may be removed allowing one to lay the veneer flat again.

Buy your veneer from Veneers

Repairing Handlaid Veneer

To be continued........

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Press veneering

veneering in a press is completely different from veneering by hand.
Because less water is used and (if cold glue is used) the process irreversible the veneer is first roughly cut to size and any patterns are cut to size and fitted together before pressing.

Platten Press Veneering

Caul Press Veneering

Vacuum Press Veneering

Repairing Pressed Veneer


Repairing Inlays


Repairing Intarsia


Repairing Parquetry


a sample of modern Marquetry
Mara Faria


Repairing Marquetry


Repairing Boulle Work

Pietre Dure

Repairing Pietre Dure