Contact Cement And 20 Mil Veneer


From original questioner:

I'm currently building a modern sapeli cabinet with slab style mdf doors. These will be quartered sapeli. I ordered some FlexVen 20mil Paperbacked from Wisewood Veneer. I had hoped to get a vacum press for this job, but may not be able to. I've had good luck in the past with the solvent based contact cement and the bubble free veneer from Oakwood. Any comments on going this way would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

From contributor Ka

Hi Chad,

Oakwood's bubble free veneer is a 20 mil paper backed veneer. You should not have a problem using solvent based contact cement with our 20 mil veneer as long as you are meticulous about your application process. The link to our contact cement application instructions is below. But if you have a vacuum bag then that would be a preferred method of applying your veneer.

From contributor Da

chad - Keep in mind I am highly opinionated on the subject of contact cement and veneer.

Contact is not a long term glue. It is made for countertops and they are designed to last 5 years. Almost no real professional would ever consider using contact cement for anything but a throw away project or plastic laminate tops. There simply are so many other glues that out perform and are easier to work with and far better adhesives than contact.

It is also my jaded belief that the good veneer people know better than to recommend contact, and the less knowledgeable will recommend contact, as if another sale is going to help their bottom line. Encouraging beginners to use contact opens the product line to the countertop and plastic laminate people, and eases their entry into buying and using the veneer products.

Wood is a precious resource that should not be wasted in any form. You only have so much time on this planet. Spend it wisely making beautiful things the best way you can, not the cheapest or fastest.

From contributor Ri

Plus one for what David said. Wish you would have asked here first. I'm not a fan of paper backed either. Two ply if you have to, but not paper. Do some searching for ideas to make your own vacuum bag. You can get a little venturi unit at Harbor Freight used for auto ac work for under $20. Buy some vinyl sheeting at the big box store, and the right kind of glue or sealer for the vinyl. I think you can get a quick bag system going for less than $100. It won't be fast, and you will need an air compressor, but it will be small money for a one time shot.

From contributor ch

Thanks a bunch for the info guys. I will be planning to get a vacum press going. Seems like the only logical choice. Being a solid wood guy for years and just getting my feet wet with the nice veneer species, it's a whole other world. Should be cool. Thanks again.

From contributor Da

I clamped veneers for a few years before getting a bag and pump. Once I made the leap, the quality of my work increased as did options for fabricating. The press is used often now, even for non- veneer type things.

It will make you a better woodworker. And the cabinet you make will be better for it.

From contributor La

Contact and veneer should never meet! That includes paper backed. I tried several methods before settling on a vacuum press. Best thing I ever did. We've used them for curved panels, back to back glue ups of panels, Hard glue laminating, Veneering of fancy faces (took some learning!)

Started with 4x8 vinyl bag now mostly use a 5x10 frame table. The urethane bags are much more durable. For one offs you can just buy 6 mil plastic sheet and clamp sticks around it to seal. Use some sort of grid or perforated plastic mesh sold for the purpose of distributing the vacuum. A plastic tube from the pump to the bag can be secured to the bag with a block of wood drilled to the diameter of the tube and then split in half and clamped over the plastic and tube. I've never used the venturi system. Bought a 3/4 hp vacuum pump long ago. Works fine as long as you can control the leaks. Watch those sharp corners.

Since our router runs all day we now have tapped into it's vacuum system and usually use that. You ought to see how fast a 40hp pump pulls a bag down!

From contributor sp

Are you guys referring to Dap contact cement? Don't use it for a worthwhile project, really? Shocked, Shocked.
I've never heard of this before, seriously.