Month: March 2015

veneers 3

building on my success with the sticky-backed veneers i couldn’t resist experimenting with beautifully figured burr veneers.

i wasn’t sure whether the complex grain would fight with the drawings but i was really happy with my interim results. the burr patterns remind me of rising smoke, which relates to the drawing process – i judge the degree of burn for each point by the smoke rather than looking directly at the wood surface. it also fits my overall theme well – bringing to mind innumerable cigarettes smoked and extinguished.

the process of working with the burr wood itself however is extremely tricky. as can be seen in the product photo they arrive in a naturally crinkly and highly delicate state – a result of the differing directions of grain in each piece causing uneven shrinkage, cracking etc.

i went through a simple wetting/ironing/pressing process, which seemed very effective at flattening the pieces. however, as soon as the heat of the sun touches the wood it begins to pull away from the drawing board, returning to its convoluted state.

i also had serious issues trying to attach the burr veneers to the aluminium composite mounts. my first try was with the *free* glue supplied. if i’d been gluing to a wood substrate i imagine it may have been more successful but on the aluminium the water content of the glue made the veneer wrinkle irretrievably. i had better success with spray-mount in terms of reducing wrinkling but didn’t achieve the seamless bond of the psa.

my next plan of attack is to flatten the veneers as above – each brown paper parcel contains one damped and ironed-dry leaf. who knew my enormous stash of art books would come in quite so handy 😀 i’ll change the papers a couple more times to ensure any remaining moisture is removed. then i plan to back at least one sample with a double sided adhesive sheet, in the hope that it will a) stabilise the veneer during the drawing process and b) give me the super-tight bond to the mounts that i’m after.


veneers 2


solar drawing | cardiff | 2015
solar drawing | cardiff | 2015

very happy with the butler finish composite, much more reflective than the standard metallic finish. each mounted with the wood grain sitting against the brushed grain of the metal.

next step is experimenting with waxing the veneers prior to exposure – to do it after would tend to gather in hollows and spoil the aluminium finish.


testing the drawing machine with psa-backed wood veneers.

the process takes at least 4x as long as on paper to burn through the full thickness of the veneer. 2 rotations took 3 hours, allowing for the odd cloudy moment and regularly moving the machine to chase the sunlight falling through the window.

marked out with london landmark skyline tape, which endearingly features the eiffel tower 😀