A veneer job was at risk after our blogger asked for “no figure.” He later exchanged it for the right veneer, avoiding disaster. Now readers tell how he should have ordered it.

What you wanted was “plain sliced” veneer, not “plane sliced” as your article said. The technical jargon for indicating grain pattern gets pretty involved. Also look into how to describe the “crown” or “cathedral” appearance of your plain sliced veneer if it’s important to the project. Welcome to Planet Veneer! John Costin, Maine

Thank your better judgment you rejected the raw goods, then personally went to the supplier(s) to find what you needed! Even with the proper jargon it’s hard to get what you want in standard grade plywood. You’re kinda at the mercy of what is packaged in the unit(s) available, and hoping you have an understanding warehouse manager who will let you hand select what you need. It’s a little bit like art, you know what you like when you see it, but it’s hard to explain... that’s what we love about wood — it’s emotive! Ed Strahota, Chicago

We sell ApplePly and want to make clear it can be ordered with any species, cut and grade of veneer desired. Let your supplier know “exactly” what you want in advance, and he will get it for you. Woodworkers should be aware that most domestic producers of hardwood plywood make everything “to order.” While it may be convenient to pick up whatever is in stock, it often results in getting the lowest cost version of a panel which equates to lower grades of face and back veneers. As you discovered, lower grades, particularly in maple can contain lots of figure that are desirable for some applications. We want to keep you as an ApplePly customer, so the next time you need some material give me a call. We’ll make sure you don’t have another costly Doozy! Bill Powell, Eugene, OR

DIGITAL WOOD CATALOGS
Wood components from catalogs now appear in digital design applications (Jan. 2012 CWB). But the detail poses risks, says a reader.

The photos that lead the article show a rendered kitchen, featuring Matthew Burak legs on a freestanding work table, next to the actual constructed pieces. They also illustrate a big challenge with designing by CAD: a customer sold by the deep turnings and beautiful, flowing articulation of the rendered presentation could be very disappointed when the contractor delivers the flatter, thicker ones in the actual kitchen.

CAD renderings look so real that they get past a customer’s credulity. They can even lead experienced designers to overlook problems of proportion and function. It’s so easy to say, “Yeah, these are the legs, the part numbers match,” that we can gloss over obvious differences like these.

It takes a lot of practice and discipline, especially for those of us raised on pencil drawings followed by hand work, to actually live in our CAD plans, to the point where we really mean for them to be what is represented. Jim Lewis, Springwood Studios

TABLE SAW LAW
Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara, CA) proposes requiring table saw safety brakes.

This would not be an issue if all woodworkers used the safety devices like splitters and guards already on all saws. I have heard of very few accidents on saws where safety devices were used. Joe, Vista, CA

Dear tool manufacturers, please build up your inventory. There is going to be a stampede on “real” saws until 2015. Charles Korian, Altadena, CA

If we do make it mandatory, we should also do so for jointers and shapers, which take a lot of fingers. Let’s make sure any user knows how to use the equipment. A constant healthy respect has saved my fingers for more than 30 years. My next purchase will be a SawStop, for my wife’s peace of mind. Martin

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