Published on 8. April 2013 by Johannes Huefken

I had planned a lot of time and needed a lot of nerves.


Today it is supposed to be about the preparation of the veneer work. Before we get into the subject, I would like to make a small correction to my last blog post. To plane crosswise or diagonally to the fiber is not called "dwarfs". Thank you, Reinhard!

Few harpsichords are veneered or have a wood-visible surface. Most of the historical instruments are painted. Some are richly decorated with gilded elements. Others have a simple version. But because the outer shape took me a lot of time and patience on the one hand and on the other hand brought me a lot of recognition and questions, I would like to go into the veneer work. Today, the first task will be the preparation of the veneer work:

  1. Fundamentales
  2. The veneer selection
  3. The Tools  


1. Fundamentales

With the wide range of beautiful simple and extravagant veneers, it was difficult for me to make the choice or not to distribute the range of my veneer supplier on the harpsichord. Basically, I wanted three types of veneer to dominate the picture. The small quantities of veneer required require a flexible supplier. Once Mr. Beck (supplier) said: "Yes, I know, you need homeopathic quantities again".


2. the veneer selection

Finally, the following three veneers were chosen:  

Els-berry in comparison with mahogany in the background

Els-berry forms the frame

Maple (top left) 2 types of bird maple

For the cassettes (fillings) bird's-eye maple and maple

Walnut, birch burl, mahogany and ebony were used for the decorations.

ebony wood
Walnut with small adhesions

Here I will not introduce you to the tools that exist, but only those that I have used myself.

For example, I have never used the classic veneer saw. It is too slow, too complex and destroys the chopping board. Has anyone else had experience? I am willing to learn and open to suggestions.


1. measuring tools:

Measuring Equipment

2. Knife

Carvers and Roller Knives  

Carvers and Roller Knives
Veneer tape dispenser

3. Veneer tape dispenser

A dispenser is useful for large areas. By the way, you can build it yourself, the roller is wrapped in cotton and hangs in a water bowl. The paper adhesive tape is moistened as it is pulled over the roller. Veneer adhesive tape is soluble in water as with stamps. This is particularly important for removal after pressing. The adhesive is non-toxic. Nevertheless, one should worry about the calorie content of the adhesive for large areas without adhesive tape dispensers! 

Cutting board and ruler

4. Cutting board and ruler  

The cutting board should be made of solid wood. Panel products such as blockboard or plywood are surface sanded in the industry with roll sanding machines. Even the smallest remnants of abrasive grit blunt the valuable rolling knife blade considerably. An alternative to the board is the cutting mat.



5. paper lever scissors:

It is ideal for smaller formats, cutting to length and mitre cuts.

6. circular veneer saw

The organ building school has a veneer circular saw. This enables particularly large formats to be cut efficiently. Such a machine requires a lot of space and money. This acquisition is therefore only justified if capacity is used accordingly.

In the next blog I will show alternative possibilities to the veneer circular saw. Personally, I like veneer work. Nevertheless, I have to admit to myself that I did not observe some rules during processing. You can learn from my mistakes in the next blog.


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