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Non backed veneer application?

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  • Non backed veneer application?

    How do you typically apply non backed veneer? I have used the iron on method on backed veneer but think I remember that it can't be done this way with non backed venerr because the glue can soak through to the outside of the veneer?

  • #2
    The heat from the iron can dry the veneer out to the degree that it cracks. It can be done, but it's more risky. How likely it is also depends on the type of wood as well.

    You can use titebond glue and apply weight over a flat board on top of the veneer. I've done that and it works. I have bags of play sand in large trash bags that I put on the top board to even out the pressure.

    I've also experimented with a hybrid method of applying heatlock as usual, but join the veneer and cabinet while still tacky, then use low heat on the iron with some veneer tamer sprayed on the outer surface. The tamer keeps the veneer plyable. The low heat speeds up the cure of the glue without heating it to the point of cracking. 2 or 3 on the iron seems to be good on my iron. Warning: dyed, or man-made reconstituted veneers may loose a bit of their color on the cotton cloth from the combination of fresh tamer and heat.

    TomZ
    *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

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    • #3
      I've pressed it on with regular titebond. No issues. Some cuts of veneer work better than others for un-backed applications.

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      • #4
        I was thinking quilted maple or some other quilted veneer. I am sure it will probably not want to lay flat. Good tips!
        Tom, have you used reconstituted veneer? If so how does it compare in looks to real veneer? Also would it not be better to just lay the bag of sand on top without the flat board? It seems like it might work better. If you put a straight board on a not perfectly flat surface it wouldn't distribute weight evenly but a bag of sand would distribute weight evenly on a non flat surface.

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        • #5
          Many veneer shops will back the veneer for you. With unbacked veneer and no cauls or vacuum bag you run the risk of a wavy surface once glue hit is it. I've heard it's best to soften and dry before gluing. Seth and Roman would also be a good resource. I'm building a new vacuum bag next month if you wanted to bag something simple. A flat board works best if excess glue gets applied.
          John H

          Synergy Horn, SLS-85, BMR-3L, Mini-TL, BR-2, Titan OB, B452, Udique, Vultus, Latus1, Seriatim, Aperivox,Pencil Tower

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          • #6
            I have a vacuum bag setup but I almost exclusively use Heatlock iron-on glue at this point. Its advertised to creep less than plain PVA, and that's held true on my last few projects where I went away from the vacuum rig. I put the glue on the veneer and let it dry, then soak it with veneer softener (Super Soft 2 works great), and basically just use the iron to dry the veneer softener (with significant downward pressure, of course) off of the veneer as I iron it down. The evaporation helps to modulate the heat into the veneer, so it helps to reduce the risk of burning, and the steam seems to transmit the heat efficiently to re-activate the glue. Without the softener, its split city on the ends.

            I just glued up some very split happy quartered Wenge, and quartered Zebrawood, as well as waterfall bubinga (un-backed and not particularly flat) using this method and had no issues. On the seams, I intentionally iron a little bubble into it, and then just flatten the bubble on a subsequent pass - works well.

            If I get something truly unruly, I'd probably go back to the bag, but that's definitely a situational tool for me now. This is just so much faster for the same results

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            • #7
              Was thinking about this. Would it have that 3d affect that real wood gets? https://www.veneersupplies.com/produ...-195-x-98.html

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              • #8
                I've always used contact cement. It doesn't soak into veneer
                www.billfitzmaurice.com
                www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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                • #9
                  I use contact cement. I've had cracking on one project, but I think I didn't let the cement dry fully, so when I applied it and it dried, I had some cracking, but wasn't too bad. My other applications have been fairly easy and with no problems with contact cement.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by killa View Post
                    I was thinking quilted maple or some other quilted veneer. I am sure it will probably not want to lay flat. Good tips!
                    Tom, have you used reconstituted veneer? If so how does it compare in looks to real veneer? Also would it not be better to just lay the bag of sand on top without the flat board? It seems like it might work better. If you put a straight board on a not perfectly flat surface it wouldn't distribute weight evenly but a bag of sand would distribute weight evenly on a non flat surface.
                    Some quilted veneers can have 'less dense' areas where glue will want to bleed through easier than non-quilted. I had that happen a few times.

                    I have used reconstituted veneer multiple times. I've used Striped Ebony and Zebrawood veneers, both backed. They both resemble real veneers well, but the zebrawood has a pattern that you can notice if you look closely enough, and if the piece you're veneering is large enough. The Striped Ebony is just beautiful though, I really like it a lot.

                    Here's an example of it on last year's 'Summer Winds' project:
                    Edit: that's 'recon' zebrawood veneer on the speaker to the left with the black baffle.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	20180712_151640 (Medium).jpg Views:	1 Size:	142.4 KB ID:	1411409

                    ...and on a smaller set of 'Bantams':

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_1107 (Medium).JPG Views:	2 Size:	230.3 KB ID:	1411410

                    You can use thinner boards, like 1/4" MDF or 1/8" HDF on top of the veneer to 'even out' the pressure. Truthfully, if the cabinet has flat sides, the pressure should be equal. Also, the 3/4" thickness adds weight, so it's a plus. If you just put the sand bags on the veneer, you will have portions that don't adhere properly, the sand has decent weight per square inch, but it's easy to have a section that doesn't press down as hard, that's why the backing board is used. I've also used 1/4" thick flat cork sheets 1'x1' as a "pressure evener" system, but not sure if it does anything substantial. If you're concerned that your cabinet isn't 1000% flat, maybe the best compromise is a few sheets of 1/4" MDF... it will bend to slight 'non-flat' portions of a cabinet, but also even out the pressure.

                    I've seen that pre-dyed veneer before, I bet it looks 'shimmery' when a finish is applied.

                    I've used contact cement too, It seems to 'seep' into the veneer less than wood glue, but it's just too much of a mess for me to use, smelly, and I'm probably too clumsy, and I'd probably get it stuck where I didn't want it. I've used the water-based contact cement that Joe Woodworker sells... (Veneer supplies.com) and had no issues yet, but others have had problems with delamination on some projects if I recall. Regular old stinky contact cement probably works best on un-backed veneers if you can tolerate it. (I can't)

                    TomZ
                    *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

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                    • #11
                      Contact cement like Bill said. PVA (Titebond) glues work too but you need to roll or squeegee larger panels before weighting to make sure you don’t have any puddles or ridges. The trick with PVA is getting a uniform glue thickness. Too much is as bad as too little.

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                      • #12
                        In my younger days I worked for a large high end office furniture manufacturer (Helikon) they had a large hot press (two stacks of 4x12)
                        we sprayed what amounted to heat activated contact cement on the plywood and unbacked veneer Then sandwiched 1/8” aluminum plate between each layer worked awesome.
                        I’ve always wanted to replicate that in a smaller fashion with a old printing screw press but have never come across one.

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