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Advice on using pre finished laminate Walnut veneer on radius edge subwoofer

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  • Advice on using pre finished laminate Walnut veneer on radius edge subwoofer

    Hi all,

    I'm hoping for some advice on my 18" Ultimax builds, my enclosures have a 75mm (2.95") radius corners made by stacking CNC cut corners.

    I have a few areas of concern:

    1. In Australia I'm only able to find Walnut veneer 1mm which have phenolic laminate backing sheet - I'd like to bend this against the grain so it's a single continuous piece, but worried it could splinter over time.

    2. I can't buy any form of pre made heat lock adhesive and would need to use PVA and iron on. I'm concerned that the PVA might not be strong enough to hold it tight.

    3. Because of the design and having a twin layer baffle I can't veneer the enclousure and then fit the baffle. So there is no way of clamping the veneer. Would a few straps be enough.

    4. Would it be worth pre-wrapping the veneer before gluing. Heat it up and strap it gently and tighten over time before glueing?

    5. I had planned on veneering then using a trim router to level the outer baffle so it could be painted and then fit flush against the veneer. Any recommnedations on an alternative approach?

    6. Due to the corners all being cut edges, should I seal this with PVA first?

    Any advice would be most appreciated and thanks in advance.


  • #2
    Hmmm.. I’ve never used phenolic backed veneer - just paper backed and raw veneer - but I believe it is very similar to working with laminates such as Formic and Wilsonart (not sure if those brand are familiar to you in ‘straya). Having worked with those laminates, a 75mm radius would be pretty tight to wrap without cracking the phenolic backing.

    However, you can always try a few different things with some scrap to try and achieve your desired result. You can try applying heat to the bend line to make it more pliable, or sand down the phenolic a little bit on the portion that will be radiused. Both of those options come with some difficulty as you would have to apply the heat to the wood veneer side and could potential discolor, burn, or dry the wood too much which would promote cracking. Most veneers are applied with contact adhesive, which deteriorates with too much heat.

    Sanding the phenolic layer might make it even easier to crack as you are trying to wrap that large edge.

    But now I’m curious and might need to get my hands on some phenolic backed veneer to play with..


    • #3
      Consider using vinyl wrap. specifically 3M Di-Noc. This is a shot of the interior of my car. Everything that looks like wood is Gloss Bubinga Di-Noc. It's available in literally hundreds of wood types both gloss and satin.
      Click image for larger version

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      • #4
        I'll PM you. As a fellow Aussie - if your close to where I am I might be able to help you.

        We don't have a lot of veneer choices here but I have used these guys before:

        I've also purchased veneer from here as well. Good service and surprisingly quick shipping - but with the exchange rate and cost of shipping this option ends up being ridiculously expensive! BUT a lot of exotic choices we just don't seem to have locally.

        You'll have an easier time bending the veneer around that radius 'with' the grain rather than against it, but it is possible. If you obtain the standard 0.6mm veneer without the backing I would then suggest the use of some veneer softener ( It will easily conform to that radius with some softener.


        • #5

          Click image for larger version

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          • #6
            Thanks for the replies everyone.

            I've got a few larger samples coming from Briggs Veneer, they have a raw veneer which I didn't realise. This may work better. They were worried about it being curved so much against the grain. So perhaps I'll have to have it with the grain, not the end of the world.

            I've also requested a few samples from 3M. My Q-Acoustic speakers are vinyl, I'd be pursaded if I can achieve the same finish with the 3M product. I'm guessing the surface has to be absolutly perfect for it.


            • #7
              You can spray the raw veneer with veneer softener. I would not use the iron on method on pre finished veneer, you will most likely soften the finish with heat, possibly damaging it.


              • #8
                Good point about the heat damage, I checked Navlam's documentation and their product can be hot pressed but only up to 70c I'm not sure this would be hot enough to re-activate the PVA. Have sent them an email to check.

                Now waiting for a few samples to see what works best.


                • #9
                  I like your corners. I copied a Theil design and made an enclosure using cherry veneer but I used solid cherry for the radiused Click image for larger version

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