In the swap thread, I was asked about some of the processes I used. I'll cover the major steps here but I did not do a full tutorial photo session.
Top: Samauma veneer over a core of four layers of 1/8” bending plywood. Curve was created using a 12” radius form inside a vacuum pressing bag. The inside and outside faces of veneer were pressed onto the top using the form inside the vacuum bag. All veneer on the top is samauma, taken from a tree that grows in the Amazon rainforest.
Sides are built with veneer over ½” birch plywood for the four sides. Exterior veneer is commercial solid wood samauma (dark veneer) and commercial solid wood tiger maple (light veneer), placed in sunburst patterns. Interior is done with paper-backed, quarter-sawn maple veneer.
Handle and legs are made from Honduran mahogany colored with Transtint Brown Mahogany dye.
All surfaces received two coats of Target Finishes EM1000 sealer, sanding between coats. Three coats of EM6000 Clear Gloss were then applied, rubbing with 0000 steel wool between coats. A final topcoat of EM6000 Satin completed the process.
I used four layers of 1/8" bending plywood to make the top panel using a 12" radius form. The form is built from 3/4" MDF ribs with five layers of 1/8" bending plywood over them. The outer layer of the form is sealed with several coats of SealCoat, followed by several coats of NC lacquer to keep glue from sticking to it.
I used the form and vacuum press to press a layer of veneer on the inside face of the radius top first. Then, I edge-banded the ends, front and back with standard clamping. The final step was to apply a layer of veneer to the outside of the top and return it to the vacuum press to adhere it firmly.
I had drawn the box plan in SketchUp, so I used it to print a 1 to 1 scale of the segments of the sunburst pattern for the front/back and ends. The printed patterns were used as guides to cut 1/8" clear acrylic templates, which were subsequently used to align the grain and guide a razor knife to cut the veneers. Segments 1,2 and 3 of the templates also make segments 7, 6 and 5. After cutting the veneers, I used a straightedge to align the bottom edge of the first veneer, then matched each subsequent segment going around the radials. And, no, it is not as simple as it sounds! It seems that no matter how carefully you try to cut the veneers, there are ragged edges that have to be sanded to achieve a dead straight edge to match the next segment.
More in the next post.