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  • Veneering with wood glue.

    I normally use contact cement to glue on my veneers. The last set of speakers I made after about 2 weeks the veneer started to lift and crack. I brought them home and peeled off the veneer very easily. I have always used the same brand of veneer since I started building speakers and have never had a problem until this job. I am thinking it was a bad can of contact cement. The can was probably 6 months old when I used it. This got me thinking that I would like to try wood glue instead. I ordered a bottle of heat lock but it froze in transit and is no good. I have 4 projects that will need to be veneered in the next month so I can't wait for some warmer weather to get more heat lock. I thought I would just try a scrap piece with my wood glue I use at home(LePage Pro). I brushed the glue on to some mdf and a piece of unbacked raw maple and within a minute the veneer started to roll up. Within 5 minutes it was a tube. Is this normal with wood glue? I was going to get a bottle of Titebond but the HD here doesn't carry it and the other home center was closed after work. Does the Titebond do the same thing?
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  • #2
    And after 30 minutes it's almost flat again??? Then as I heated it up and attached it to the board it started to crack. Any ideas or suggestions welcome. I just thought it would also be nice to use the wood glue so I don't have to put up with the contact cement smell.
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    • #3
      When you applied the glue to the veneer, you added a substantial amount of moisture to that side of the veneer, which quickly started to expand while the flip side of the veneer was staying put (so it curls).

      After some time, the moisture started to evaporate and equalize (travelling deeper into the veneer), so it flattens.

      My advice for smaller projects would be to apply glue to the substrate only, and use clamping pressure until the glue dries. I've tried using PVA glue like Heatlock glue, it isn't a great solution.

      My poor-man's veneer press goes like this: Place glue on the substrate, position the veneer, then kraft paper over the veneer, then a piece of plywood or MDF over the kraft paper, and then I use all sorts of methods to place weight on top of the plywood to get my clamping pressure. Depending on the project,my clamping pressure may be clamps with cauls to jamming two-by-fours between the plywood and the joists over head, to a combination of any of these.

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      • #4
        This is why I use backed veneer...no issues with TB3 or contact cement.
        "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

        http://www.diy-ny.com/

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        • #5
          Iron on doesn't work well with unbacked veneer for the reasons you've discovered. I had the same thing happen to me the first time I tried veneering.
          -Kerry

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Navy Guy View Post
            Iron on doesn't work well with unbanked for the reasons you've discovered. I had the same thing happen to me the first time I tried veneering.
            So will I have the same problem if I use the Heat Lock glue with the raw veneer?
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Derekj View Post

              So will I have the same problem if I use the Heat Lock glue with the raw veneer?

              Maybe the traditional cold-press method will work better?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Derekj View Post

                So will I have the same problem if I use the Heat Lock glue with the raw veneer?
                Heat Lock is supposed to be for raw or backed veneer, however I've only used it with the backed.

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                • #9
                  Contrary to the results some contributors have had, heat-lock has worked very well for me. One way to counter the curl you experienced is to spritz the unglued side with water and then immediately flip the veneer and apply glue. Once the glue is tacky you can iron it onto the substrate. Another approach is to apply painters tape to the unglued side/edges before applying the glue.This won't entirely eliminate cracking, but will substantially reduce it. A third and perhaps best method is to use veneer softener before applying the veneer. The veneer becomes very limp and amendable to what you are trying to accomplish.

                  Heat-lock has it's uses for larger surfaces cold press it the better method. For what it's worth, I normally only use raw veneers. I've never had a problem with heat-lock when applied to raw veneers. YMMV, but what you are trying to do can be accomplished by a number of methods. Experimentation is the key to developing and identifying the best method for your project.
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                  • #10
                    I usually use blue painters tape to fasten the veneer to the work table and then roll away with the glue roller. It will want to curl as others have said, 'tis normal.
                    Joe Woodworker's site mentions being able to use heat-lock with raw veneer, but it depends on the type of veneer as to how well it will work. Sometimes it works fine, other times it will crack up more than a kid watching a funny cartoon. I've had it crack once on me with non-backed veneer.

                    Here's what I've done in the past. Do a cold press for 30-40 minutes or so. Use a thin sheet of MDF, good quality plywood, etc. to even out the pressure on the panel you are veneering. glue it up and let it sit for a good half hour or so. I often use sand bags that I've re-bagged into larger super-thick trash bags.

                    Then, you can come back with the iron on a slightly lower setting that you normally would use on the heatlock. My iron I think goes from 1 to 8, I use 6-7 for heatlock... you could use 3-4 for this procedure or whatever corresponds to your iron. Doing this heat step will make sure any lighter areas are pressed down firm with the pressure of the iron, and the heat will add another measure of getting it to stick.

                    I've done this once or twice and it seemed to work well. Without the high temperature of the normal heatlock procedure the unbacked veneer will have less of a reason to crack because the glue will have equalized/dried a bit..... and waiting until it's fairly well adhered to the substrate means that the veneer will have less of an opportunity to crack because most of the moisture again, has been absorbed/distributed.

                    Of course, that's with heatlock, I've never used wood glue to glue veneer that I remember. It would probably work similarly, though.

                    TomZ
                    Zarbo Audio Projects Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEZ...aFQSTl6NdOwgxQ * 320-641 Amp Review Youtube: https://youtu.be/ugjfcI5p6m0 *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

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                    • #11
                      I've spent the last 10 years or so studying veneering. I had all the same issues you did. It wasn't until I switched to a vacuum bagging system that things got a lot better. I never apply glue to the veneer. Only the substrate.

                      If you don't have (or want to spend) the resources on a vacuum bagging system, in my opinion, your best bet is to stay with backed veneer. It's much more stable than unbacked.

                      Any standard PVA will work just fine. Heat lock is not any better than titebond II, in my opinion. My first choice without a bag is to use a caul system. (Or a series of very well place weights). Getting even with distribution can be really difficult though.

                      The second option is to glue to both substrate and veneer with a roller, let it dry, and use an iron to make the bond. Truthfully, I hate this option. You can burn the veneer, and too much heat for wood is never a good thing.

                      Whatever you do, stay away from contact cement. That's for plastic laminates and countertops, not wood.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by s7horton
                        Whatever you do, stay away from contact cement. That's for plastic laminates and countertops, not wood.
                        Why would you say that? I have a pair of cabs here that were veneered 10 years ago with backed Oak veneer and contact cement, and there hasn't been any issues.
                        "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

                        http://www.diy-ny.com/

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                        • #13


                          Whatever you do, stay away from contact cement. That's for plastic laminates and countertops, not wood.[/QUOTE]

                          ​Not everyone would agree with this. One book I read about veneering suggested contact cement (specifically Barge's, used in leather goods making, shoes) in many situations. They reported that a number of furniture manufacturers were using it. In my own experience the pieces I've done with Barge's have been perfect for decades. On the other hand, Titebond I will never use again. It seems vulnerable to all of the criticisms of contact cement for veneer that the gurus object to. It also gummed up all of my router bits, even the bearings on the bits! Of course it came off, but it interfered with the cuts.

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                          • #14
                            That should have been Titan, not Titebond.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by skatz View Post
                              That should have been Titan, not Titebond.

                              Strongly agree! Several embarassing veneer failures with Titan "BetterBond" water based glue.
                              Never again.

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