Adhesive For Paper-Backed Veneer

What kind of glue will hold veneer down to an MDF roundover? April 10, 2005

I've been spending a lot of time searching for a product to use for applying a 10mil paper backed veneer to mdf enclosures. I haven't had any luck finding anything yet.

Obviously contact cement has issues. I tried the FSV glue, but it doesn't have the kind of tack that contact cement does. It's very labor intensive to get the flat surfaces down and requires clamping along the edges to hold. I can wrap a box with veneer using contact cement in about 45 minutes including time for the solvent to flash off. With the FSV I need to clamp for 30min to an hour on each side and spend a lot more time working the veneer down.

I need something that is quick to use like contact cement, but that dries rigid when cured. The 3M rep suggested their Fastbond 2000 which is a catalyzed water based contact adhesive. I was also suggested to try some of the TACC canister adhesives. Has anyone tried either of these?

Forum Responses
(Adhesives Forum)
From contributor F:
The only product mentioned in this post that will provide a rigid glue line is the FSV. The only glue that has immediate tack is contact cement. Refine the application to utilize the FSV or stay with the contact cement. I'm not sure that I picture the process and you know about ASSUME. The clamping of the FSV because of dry out around the edges can be overcome, usually by wetting the edge area last. The porous substrate does cause faster drying at the edge than that to the interior of the board.

How is the FSV being applied? I like a Binks 2000 W/68/69 NN set up. "Wrapping a box" leaves quite a bit to imagination. Is the FSV being applied to only the substrate? What is the climate where the work is being performed? What is the open time? Is the FSV tacky or still wet before assembly? How large is the area of application? Because a piece of veneer can be moved during assembly with FSV, unlike contact cement, location should be sure and fast. Have you considered a vac bag? Have you contacted the makers of FSV for assistance? They're great to work with.

From the original questioner:
Here is an example of what is done. The edges have a 1" roundover and veneer is wrapped around. It gets seamed on each side. The problem is not that I have to clamp because the FSV is too dry at the edges. The problem is that the FSV doesn't have enough tack to hold the veneer down. The veneer comes rolled up, and no matter how much you try to get it flat before using it, it still has some curl to it. The FSV just doesn't have enough tack to hold the veneer down to the MDF without coming up at the edges. The only way to get it to stay is to use a board and clamps all along the edges and let it dry for awhile.

I have considered the vacuum4 bag system, but from what I have been told that is even slower. I talked to a company about it and he suggested using the urea resin glue. It also requires a lot for jigs to support the overhang of the veneer that has to be trimmed. He said to apply the glue to the front and half of each side of the box. Then it would go in the bag for 3-5 hours to dry. With contact cement I can do an entire box in 3-5 hours. With the vacuum method I would have to spend 9-15 hours to do the front and half the sides, back and half the sides, and then the top and bottom as the third section. Plus making jigs to support the overhang and to support the driver cutouts for every different cabinet would be a lot of work.

There has to be something out there that can be applied that has a good initial tack to hold the veneer in place and then dries rigid.

From contributor F:
The 1" radius is indeed a problem and FSV doesn't have enough tack, fast enough usually. I would consider heat as in post form but I would also be slow to "pull the trigger" maybe so slow that it never happened.

Urea is a great glue for many applications but I don't think this is one. Urea, unless heated as in a hot press, is the slowest setting glue that I know of.

A vac bag will require some clean up and setup but is faster than your current process appears. FSV is typically set in about 4 minutes ready to remove from the vac bag or press. That said; the 1" radius may slow the "bag time" some and a wet climate may as well. Urea is an option for a vac bag and most of the vac systems vendors push the Urea but that doesn't change the fact that Urea is slow setting.

If the problem were mine I would absolutely try FSV in a vac bag and start with 20 minutes and work backwards to find the shortest time required for a complete bond. Florida or S.E. Texas may require a little more time than the climate I'm familiar with. I would also use a very short foam roller if the parts are small or spray the adhesive if the parts were large.