At a simple level, veneering is the process of applying thin layers of decorative wood over less expensive structural materials. There are many ways to do this, but some of the most refined techniques were developed centuries ago by 17th and 18th century furniture makers who perfected the technique we now call “hammer veneering.” As we learn here, a few modern-day artisans still prefer this time-honored technique to create the highest quality work. One of those practitioners is San Diego-based furniture conservator Patrick Edwards, an accomplished furniture maker, woodworking historian, and hand-tool expert.

In this video, without the benefit of powered vacuum presses or perfectly flat plywood substrates, Patrick reveals an entire hammer veneering process. You’ll learn step-by-step how to “tooth” or make perfectly flat the substrate wood, how to glue down simple veneers using a veneer hammer & animal protein glues, how to create an exquisitely tight veneered joint, how to insert decorative inlays, and how best to prepare the project for final finishing. Patrick has made a career out of preserving the extraordinary skills of the old masters and in so doing he’s become a modern master himself. Patrick is a fantastic teacher and woodworking scholar and I’m confident you’ll enjoy this very special WoodTreks video adventure. (13 Minute Woodworking Video)

Patrick Edwards is President of Antique Refinishers, Inc. which offers restoration, conservation and reproduction of pre-industrial American and European furniture for dealers, private collectors, and institutions. Mr. Edward also owns and instructs at the American School of French Marquetry, Inc. Both business are based on San Diego, California.

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For centuries, decorative string and banded inlays have been highly valued embellishments that were applied to the finest furniture. Among the many techniques and styles of inlay, string inlay is perhaps the most common and useful method. Even today, some designers and craftspeople use simple string inlays to define, highlight, or bring focus to elements of an object — be it furniture or other decorative art.

In this comprehensive video tutorial Jeff Williams, inlay specialist for the Irion Company, demonstrates his period correct method of cutting the recessed groove, making traditional holly string, and applying this string into your workpiece. Mr. Williams is a master artisan and as an Irion Company employee, Jeff has crafted some of the finest antique reproductions of Federal Style furniture being built today. In filming Jeff, I had the opportunity to meet him and get to know him. His modest, easy-going nature makes him the perfect guide as he patiently shows us the ropes. Making and applying string inlay never seemed so accessible. You can do this too. — Keith (9 Minute Woodworking Video)

The Irion Company specializes in the restoration, conservation, and hand-made reproduction of American antique furniture from the 18th and 19th century. Jeff Williams specializes in period correct Federal style furniture with an emphasis on veneering, inlaying, and marquetry.

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