Q: I veneered the curved pieces of my serpentine sideboard with hide glue. Can I use a waterbased dye on it? I’ve heard that it can make the veneer bubble up. Steve Lanier, Durham, NC A: With a thin veneer, there is a slight risk that a water- or alcohol-based dye could penetrate through and weaken the hide glue. With bent veneer, which has builtin tension, this could cause bubbling or delamination. On a flat veneer, any dye would be OK because the veneer just lies there. For curved work, I’d recommend an oilbased dye like those made by W.D. Lockwood. You could use other types of dyes on a curved surface that’s veneered with a less water-sensitive glue like Unibond 800 or Titebond III. I prefer the latter because it’s formaldehyde-free. Curves add tension. Some dyes can weaken hide glue, causing problems on the sweeping veneered curves of a serpentine sideboard.
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