Dress Up Your Drawer Fronts
Add veneer and cock beading to make your furniture pop
Synopsis: Burl veneer and cock beading work together as beautiful and functional details on period furniture. Steve Latta used these classic design elements in his Federal table. Veneering the drawer with beautiful burl gives the table a visual focus; the cock beading provides a frame for the burl while adding a subtle, eye-catching three-dimensional look. Here, he shows how to add them both.
Photo: Ben Blackmar
Burl veneer and cock beading go hand in hand, working together as beautiful and functional details. They are classic design elements that were used a lot in early America, and I used both in the Federal table project on pp. 60-67. Veneering the drawer with beautiful burl gives the table a visual focus; the cock beading provides a frame for the burl while adding a subtle, eye-catching three-dimensional look.
In addition to looking great, cock beading helps protect the veneer by forming a raised lip around the edges, and it cleverly conceals the gap around the drawer. The cock bead also comes in handy when the drawer doesn’t quite sit flush, or the sides don’t line up perfectly with the opening.
Hammer veneering: low-tech but effective
Traditionally, veneer was applied using the ancient but effective technique of hammer veneering. laying down veneer with hot hide glue and a veneer hammer is not complicated, and doesn’t require a big investment in tools—you only need hide glue, a brush, and a glue pot to heat the glue in (I get mine from oldemill.com). You can get a veneer hammer at most woodworking suppliers.
Mix the glue granules with an equal volume of room-temperature water and let it soak for 45 minutes, then plug in the pot to heat it up to 140°F. Hide glue sets when it cools, so you can…