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veneer question

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  • veneer question

    Hello ! I'm planning on building a tower speaker and decided to try my hands at veneering for the finishing of the cabinets. I bought a roll of birch and practiced tonight on a small piece of mdf crap.

    While it does look good, I was having problem with the veneer splitting using wood glue and a hot iron. When letting the glue dry on the veneer, the wood curls up pretty badly, even when taping it to a board and when I gently pressed down on the curly veneer with the iron, the wood splitted at then end. Any idea on how I could solve this next time ?

    My iron was at maximum heat and I did one side of the board with a paper bag between the iron and the veneer but it still cracked and the other side I did without any paper bag. I then tried with a lower heat setting and used some steam to help flattening the veneer but it still cracked.

    Would it be a good idea to just use glue of the mdf and leave the veneer alone ? Or maybe gluing the veneer and then spraying water of the other side so that both sides get wet and achieve equilibrium ?

  • #2
    you can see the cracks here on the pic.


    • #3
      Give this a shot:


      • #4
        Was the veneer paper backed? Paper backed resists splitting better. Also, the heat does not need to be that high. Go about 70% of what your iron can do and use a cotton cloth in between the iron and veneer. I use heatlock and have never really had a problem, it's made to use the iron on method. Also, I don't wait until 100% dry, my glue is usually just slightly tacky in some areas then I apply and heat.
        Hope this helps,
        *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
        *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

        *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF


        • #5
          yes this was raw veneer and it's what I'm gonna use for my project.


          • #6
            If you are using unbacked veneer, avoid the iron-on method. There are older, more traditional methods for attaching veneer that work much better with unbacked veneer. Some searches will show these.
            Bill Schneider


            • #7
              Raw unbacked veneer is trickier to use than backed. You can buy veneer softeners that may help prevent what you describe, just google them. Most of the veneer supply places will have it.


              • #8
                I disagree w/ the others, you can iron it on, you just need the correct adhesive.

                Here is a post where I discussed the method:


                It is pretty awesome.


                • #9
                  Good find Phil. It appears to get around the moisture issues in ordinary wood glue.

                  I hadn't heard of this method before, but it sounds worth trying.
                  Bill Schneider


                  • #10
                    I have always used contact cement gel and had very good luck with it. No heat or mess just roll it on and let it flash. For smaller projects I have used spray contact cement with great success. I can't stand to iron shirts let alone wood.
                    "A dirty shop is an unsafe shop, if you injure yourself in a clean shop you are just stupid" - Coach Kupchinsky

                    The Madeleine
                    The Roxster
                    Swopes 5.0
                    Acoustic Panels
                    Living Room Make Over


                    • #11
                      I've used the LePage green can (eco-friendly) contact cement from Home Depot and it worked quite well on unbacked oak and maple so far.


                      • #12
                        I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert, but my last two speaker (veneered) projects turned out great!

                        This is what I did:
                        1. Roughly cut veneer to shape with scissors/knife. For crosscuts, I taped both sides of the cut area with poster tape to avoid cracking.
                        2. Roll Titebond 3 onto MDF. I used foam brush or metal screw rod (1/4")
                        3. Place veneer onto glue. Rub.
                        4. Use stretched out poster tape to clamp the veneers in tension. I'll usually wrap the whole surface to avoid'll look like spyderman hit the surface with too much tape.
                        (optional) Use hot iron with cloth over it to set the veneer.