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  • Paper Back Veneer on a Curve

    I am going to attempt to veneer two small bookshelf speakers. It will be a paper backed veneer and I will be using contact cement. I have been watching videos and I am a little concerned about applying enough force to the veneer to remove any bubbles and make a good solid contact. I do not have a vacuum bag. Any suggestions when applying veneer to a curve?

  • #2
    Speedball hard rubber roller. Easily searched.

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    • #3
      I think the type of contact cement makes a big difference. The solvent based works much better in my opinion than the water based. However, do it outdoors because of the fumes and smell.
      I have done curves before and didn't have much trouble. Start in the middle and work out to the ends of the curve, using spacers to prevent contact until you are ready for it. Pencils or dowel rods work well. Paper backed veneer is stiff, so won't wrinkle up on you.
      I used Barge's contact cement on mine, and its been there without problems for 25 years or so, so I don't think its going anywhere. People will warn you about it not being a solid glue, but I haven't seen problems with it. I have had delamination with the water based contact cements like Titan after a few seasons.
      Good luck.

      Steve

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      • #4
        I use wellwood gel contact cement that can be purchased at the the blue box store. Applied correctly and it will become permanent.
        "A dirty shop is an unsafe shop, if you injure yourself in a clean shop you are just stupid" - Coach Kupchinsky

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        • #5
          Thanks everyone for the comments. One video I watched expressly said not to use the hard roller because you would not be able to apply enough pressure with it when smoothing out the veneer. He was using a "gel" contact cement that he claimed was easier to manage and din't have lumps. I am going to start with a scrap piece first, but if I can avoid any errors, I would like to! This is mean to be my final build.

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          • #6
            I think what's called a "J" roller would work well. They come about 3" wide and are very strong, you could apply tremendous pressure on the surface with it. I got mine from Veneersupplies.com if I recall.

            Yup, this is the one:
            https://www.veneersupplies.com/produ...Laminates.html

            It would be a great idea to do a mock glue-up session so you can be sure you won't accidentally touch the veneer to the enclosure and to be sure you can apply proper pressure without the cabinet moving too much. I use small dowels, like 1/4" or 3/8" or so to separate the two.
            Once it touches, as you know, it's too late to adjust! I've used the Titan DX contact cement on one project with an inside curve and it's still there so far. I really like the iron-on method though, so when it's possible, that's what I do.

            Let us know how it comes out! Best of luck.

            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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            • #7
              Have you seen Lou C's (RIP) contact cement veneering tutorial? It's one of my favorites along with Tom Zarbo's curved cabinet Heatlock Youtube video. I personally prefer Heatlock since it's possible to recover from a mistake. And I always make mistakes!

              https://www.rob-elder.com/LouC/speak...erTutorial.pdf
              "Everything is nothing without a high sound quality." (Sure Electronics)

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              • #8
                Thanks for the link to LouC's tutorial, I enjoyed that and had not seen it. I'll have to look for TomZ's also.

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                • #9
                  Most places that sell Formica have J-rollers for installation. I bought mine at Menards. I use it all the time with veneer.
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                  • #10
                    Applying to a curved surface is no more difficult than to a flat surface. The key to no bubbles is to bend the veneer, gradually laying it in place while rolling. Some like to use a release paper between the veneer and the substrate, gradually pulling the release paper out as the veneer is rolled, but I find bending the veneer easier. The dowel technique is essentially the same as bending. I find it useful with surfaces that are too big for bending to be manageable.
                    www.billfitzmaurice.com
                    www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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                    • #11
                      What I have read about veneering says that it should be applied with a veneer scraper. The thing looks like a putty knife but with a plastic blade. It puts a lot of pressure into a small area, much more than the rollers can apply. the blade does not damage the veneer.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks everyone for the suggestions and the tutorials. For the round speaker cutouts I was planning on using a shallow flush trim router bit. Anyone with experience with these? Should I try cutting out most of the circle before applying the veneer?

                        https://woodshopbits.com/collections...im-router-bits
                        Woodshopbit stocks flush trim router bits, flush trim bits, trim router bits, and other trimming type bits. Shop securely with Google Checkout!

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                        • #13
                          I use those bits. There's no need to cut anything before applying the veneer. You only need to drill a hole to insert the bit through after the veneer is in place.
                          www.billfitzmaurice.com
                          www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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                          • #14
                            I've used Sauers PSA veneer for the last 3-4 speaker pairs I've built and applied it with a veneer scraper. Quite a few years before I used PSA veneer for the first time, Rockler's house-brand of veneer, and applied it with a J-roller. The scraper does a better job IMO.
                            Paul

                            Originally posted by skatz View Post
                            What I have read about veneering says that it should be applied with a veneer scraper. The thing looks like a putty knife but with a plastic blade. It puts a lot of pressure into a small area, much more than the rollers can apply. the blade does not damage the veneer.

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                            • #15
                              I have used the scraper as well... more pounds per square inch for sure. Just be careful near the edges.
                              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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