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Handheld veneer stitcher5/13
Can anyone tell me about a kipper handheld veneer stitcher? Are they much better and faster than taping by hand. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these units? We are working mostly with aw wood veneer. Thanks for any input.
I have a hand-held veneer stitcher from Vacuum Pressing Systems. Not sure of the manufacturer, but I think they all are similar.I got it for a specific job involving a house full of veneered cabinets. It is much more productive than hand taping, and no doubt slower than a stationary stitcher. It works well with flat veneers. The joint is not quite as strong as a taped joint, so not as successful on buckled material and requires a little more careful handling of stitched leaves.
Stitching is a bit problematic in that the thread thickness makes an impression in the veneer.I have buried the sttiches in the glueline on door backs to avoid the labor of removing them after pressing, but am not totally comfortable with doing that on faces for fear of telegraphing. After removing the stitches on faces, I have steamed up the impressions to reduce the required depth of sanding.
The best jointing system for veneer leaves is probably a glue splicer, although I never have used one and they may not be as simple to operate as I would like to think. They give you a glued joint and get rid of the labor of removing tape or stitching and the risk of residue ghosting around the joint .
I also have a hand held zig-zag stitcher. I think it is a Kupfer - German at any rate. It is a good machine and well worth the cost, even if you use it for just a job or two. It takes a bit of technique, but is not difficult. The way the wheels work, they pull the seam together and hold it while it lays thread. Much faster than any taping anyone can do. Durable enough to allow the stitched sheets to be handled a bit without coming apart. We break it out when we have more than 200 s/f to do.
I have worked with Kuper hand-held stitchers for years (I'm thinking 25+) and although each has it's own "personality", they are by far the best, most efficient way to "patch" and hand end-tape veneer faces. You do have to understand the equipment's capabilities and limitations, and some can be "fickle" about how you care for them, but I would never be without one.
Brand new they might seem a little costly, but they will pay for themselves twice over in the first year. With some luck, you may be able to find a few nice used ones out there.
One thing I will add, make sure you practice good preventive maintenance if you purchase one, they tend to be more of a hassle than they're are worth if you don't take care of them.
I wholeheartedly agree with you, Rich. Keeping it clean and keeping enough oil solution (not too much, not too little) in the sponge are the key elements to smooth operation.
Realistically, I would guess that I spend 2-4 minutes per hour (mostly 30 seconds at a time) in cleaning and maintaining the machine. But it way more than doubles my capacity to do it by hand with tape.
The handheld zigzag splicer (stitcher) is usually the next step in veneer splicing. It eliminates the step of removing the tape as the thread is buried in the glue line of the panel. In order to do this the veneer has to 1/50" or thicker. This allows enough veneer to hide the thread after sanding. We recommend for veneer thinner than1 /50" you put the thread out so that you can sand it off and not have to worry about "telegraphing" of the zigzag pattern.
It is a hand tool so it takes some practice but is definitely a time saver.
Where can you purchase these in South Africa?
I have a Kuper hand-held stitcher and possibly have not done the required maintenance. Cd someone tell me what I should do ? I used it today and it's not functioining at all well - the zig zags are huge (thereby defeating the object) and I have to lean fairly heavily on the wheel to make sure the thread sticks. Cd someone advise what I need to do ?