Can any of you suggest some sources for "exotic"  veneers?  I am considering using it on solid bodies to enhance the look.

Many thanks!

Tags: veneers

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Chris, I am sure you will get a few responses here, but I'll start by saying that veneers and solidbody instruments do not get along well. You may as well cut up a favourite poster and glue it on an instrument ( which Fender was actually doing a few years ago  with their 'photofinish' tops.)  The tops  of electrics need some depth to get the finishes looking right. I think minimum depth is 3/8 ths of an inch, but someone else should speak to this. It's a good question though! 

Kerry is on the right track for tonal qualities - one quarter of an inch (1/4) to three eighths of an inch seems to provide some tonal authority from the top 'cap'  and this is generally what you find.  There are other issues such as glue type and overall finish but you have to start with the basic requirements.  I've enclosed a shot of a 1/4" maple cap veneered with a particularly tasty full width quilted birdseye veneer I had doing nothing and its obviously hard to pick as a veneer when presented this way with a faux scraped binding look.

But, unless you are a skilled veneer worker and have appropriate presses, glue systems, finishing tools and such it is process which may look good for a while but ultimately fail over time.  I don't center join for this reason - it is a weak point in any veneer application especially for an electric which may be exposed to environments that your coffee table or credenza would not experience.  

Anyway if you wish to get exotic veneers I suggest you have a look at which appears to have a lot of stuff and very good hands on articles etc - I buy some of my vacuum stuff from them and they are good and reliable. 

Another option is to have  cut 1/8" laminates and use them as they do not suffer the same difficulties that veneer does and steam/heat bends and vacuum bag glues around strat type arm reliefs without too much fuss.  Hope this helps a bit , Rusty.


Thanks.... yes, I agree, THIN 'veneer' is not what I really was looking for... the 1/4" kind is far more suitable to what I had in mind.  And, I do have all the 'tools' for it too.


A good place to start :

I've had good experiences with Joe.

He is full of information and a nice guy.


Phil is Joe's other address.........funny how the good guys always come to the surface - v.reassuring. If you have a look on the site there is a lot of veneered guitar examples in the customers imagery area - some very nice stuff there mostly done with vac bags by the look.

And, so we don't get confused here - "Veneer" in cabinetmaking and woodworking convention is generally taken to be sliced or sawn wood less than 1/8th of an inch thick.    1/4 inch thick wood is just 1/4" wood - not that it matters much and is probably a bit fussy, but it helps everyone get on the same wavelength/page quickly.  Regards, Rusty. 

Thank you for all the inputs!   Who then is a good source of the 1/4"   exotic woods?? Or even the thicker wood for solid bodies??   MANY thanks!!!

Hi Chris, 1/4 inch top plates are called "drop tops"  and are available from most large luthier supply houses (luthiers Mercantile International) - look under "mostly wood" - "solid body wood" and toggle through to drop-tops.  Alternatively, got to , electric guitar woods,  and they have the same sort of stuff.  All major guitar supply houses have similar stuff if they do electrics - stick to the big guys when you start as the backyarders and raw-sawers on Ebay can be a bit light and variable when it comes to quality and stability/drying.  Thicker tops can be had from the usual suspects named, and other houses like Allied Lutherie also have good stock of fancy maple stock.   But once you start looking it's all over the place.

I suggest forum members may want to pitch in with their favorite and reliable top plate suppliers as a lot of smaller regional shops and operations also supply excellent quality at better than reasonable proces.  Rusty.

Hey Chris. I've got some really cool exotic veneers that I'm starting to use for just this purpose, Indian and Brazilian Rosewood as well as some I have yet to identify. Most are .023 thick but I've got some that's 1/8th inch as well. Attached are some pics of some of mine in process. This is the 1/8th inch stuff. I used West Systems epoxy to laminate to a Mahogany core. Might sell some if anyones interested.


WOW.........MANY thanks!  Who is the supplier???

West makes great epoxy too !

I am the supplier. If you look back at my old posts I purchased two pallets of veneer a couple of years ago. The post was started on 10-8-09.


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