Cleaning off patterned work

Complicated assemblies of different kinds of veneer or veneers with wild fluctuations in grain should be left for as long as possible under pressure. Even when released they should be kept between weighted boards whenever they are not being worked on, for it will take some time for veneers and panel to adjust themselves to the varying stresses, particularly with synthetic resin glues which delay but do not finally inhibit the absorption or evaporation of moisture in accordance with the prevailing atmospheric conditions. Thick saw-cut veneers can be levelled off with a finely adjusted smoothing-plane, and the Norris plane is admirable for this, but thin knife-cut veneers will have to be treated very much more gently with sharp scraper and abrasive paper. Resin glue assemblies are more laborious to clean off. for any glue that has penetrated to the surface will be glass hard, but they can be repeatedly swabbed with water which will not only lift the glued cover paper but will ease considerably the scraping of very hard woods if done while the surface is still wet. Tests should be made, however, for the colours of some veneers leach out and may discolour paler inlays. Even the final sanding may present difficulties, and in the finishing of the Bombay rosewood petals in the bird's-eye maple pilaster illustrated in 299 no water could be used, and it was found necessary to seal the maple with several coats of thin white polish (french polish) before the panel could be sanded, to keep both colour and dust from the very dark rosewood from spreading into the pale ivory-coloured maple grain. Water also must be used very sparingly on hide glue

299 Inlaying rosewood motif in veneered pilaster

assemblies; while raised or fluffy grain will have to be sealed or 'flashed' with dilute white polish, usually known as a 'wash coat', to raise and set the fibres in an upright position so that they are stiff enough to be cut off by the abrasive paper. Where the grain directions conflict, as between the individual pieces of veneer, the final sanding with 180 or 240 grit abrasive paper will have to be done with a circular movement, and an orbital pad sander is recommended for this.

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