looking for a veneer for plywood transom

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by JLIMA, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. JLIMA
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: New Bedford Ma.

    JLIMA crazed throttleman

    I'm entertaining the idea of possibly bright finishing the transom of my current build (15' gaff sloop). The problem i'm facing is the transom as is will not bright finish well being plywood. So the question I have is would it be possible to get a veneer like the ones used on furniture making and epoxy it over the current plywood stain and seal with epoxy, or do I have to find a marine veneer. Is this a practical idea? I had originally planned on just painting it over like the rest of the hull, so I made no considerations for a bright finish anywhere...:confused:
     
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    Attempting to find a veneer (of the right wood) thick enough for a transom night be difficult as most common veneers would be thinner than is desirable.
    You can have any wood resawn on a large bandsaw to (finish at) 1/8", for example, and then drum-sanded to thickness. going thinner is not a good idea. not only do you want to have something to sand later, the pieces will fair better if they are thick enough to maintain consistent curvature when glued/clamped.
    There is probably a custom woodworking shop in your area who can mill what you need.
    You can purchase mahogany of various species (African, Honduras, etc.) or Spanish cedar, lauan, and so forth, all of which will be appropriate for a transom, at the Boulter company just NW of Boston near rte 128.
     
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    [​IMG]
    This is an 1/8" thick mahogany veneer (about 6" wide planks) on a 17' day sailor I built a couple of summers ago.

    The transom is curved and you'll want at least 1/8" thick veneers, without a backing. These were epoxied in place. There are several suppliers around the country, I like "Certainly Wood" out of NY (certainlywood.com), because they were easy to deal with and had good pricing.
     
  4. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    My own 15 ft gaff sloop will get this transom overlay one of these days. I will go the resaw route only because I can choose my own grain patterns that way. Then again, it could be that buying ready-made 1/8" veneer is cheaper due to less wastage.
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The veneers I buy are trimmed, but still show some "live" edges. Unless you transom is dead flat, you'll need to edge match anyway. I used a quarter sawn Honduras mahogany for that transom. I ordered about 30 sq. ft. of it (had other uses too) for less the $4 per sq. ft. I could have had a 1/10" African mahogany for less but I didn't like the pattern they had in stock at the time (also quarter sawn).
     
  6. JLIMA
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: New Bedford Ma.

    JLIMA crazed throttleman

    Now PARs transom there can make me dream.......I checked out the certainly wood site the oak burl looks like it would make a sexy transom, might just order myself some. However it raises a question in my mind as to how exactly are the edges faired in to the rest of the hull? Seeing as I've never done a veneer before, I'm not sure, and would hate to have a beautiful transom ruined from pi$$ poor edge work on my behalf.
     
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  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Personally, I wouldn't use a burl type of grain pattern, but it is pretty on a table top. If you look closely at the image above, the planking appears to "capture" the veneers. In reality the edges are also veneer, placed to simulate 1/2" planking and to create a natural seam to "contain" the veneers.

    On a real planked boat, the planks would overlap the transom edge as shown, though this boat is a taped seam build and the actual planking is 1/4" Okoume plywood, which isn't very attractive on it's end grain, plus the scale of the boat required a 1/2" plank look. So, I cut some veneer to 1/2" and glued them along the perimeter of the hull. I faired the outboard edge of these strips into the hull shell. Then the veneer for the transom was fitted, just like veneer inlay work. They butted right up against the perimeter strips, showing a normal, fine line seam. Then the hull was painted, which include the perimeter strips, which made them look like 1/2" planking was now overlapping the transom. Of course the veneers were then varnished. The result from astern looks like 4 horizontal planks make up the transom.
     
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