Heating a Vacuum Veneer Press

Ideas for heating a veneer press in order to accelerate adhesive set and cure times. May 27, 2014

Are any of you that are using a vacuum veneer press finding a way to heat the material to speed up the dry time for urea formaldahyde type glues? I know about using electric blankets but am looking for something that would apply a little more heat.

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor B:
I have found an electric blanket topped with a space blanket and one or two moving blankets can get the temp up plenty. The space blanket makes all the difference and the moving blankets just add insulation and hold everything down. Other than that a hot press would be the quickest (not cheapest) alternative. Or you could investigate heated aluminum platens but the cost starts to get high again. You can also pre-heat the press and cauls with the electric blanket for an hour or so before glue-up which helps a bit.

From contributor C:
We built a 5x8 fliptop frame press that was enclosed within an insulated box. The box sides and top were designed to give easy access to the press. I'm sure you can work out details that work for you. The box is then heated with a large electric space heater - approximately 4000 watts. This significantly reduced set times, but not to anywhere near a hot press.

From contributor R:
I've wondered about using the resistance grids that are used under ceramic tile in bathrooms. They would have to get over body temperature to feel warm to the touch. Maybe if you could find some scrap aluminum plate, this could work out.

From contributor L:
I have used a flip top vacuum press for years with good results. The adhesives are so well developed I havenít rushed to add a heated platen yet. I am going to add one though, and then a heated top cover. The heat source will be a heater rod. I think the final decision on a platen is a steel plate 1/8" to 1/4" which will hold the vacuum. Then an aluminum sub-platen sized so the flip top will cover it. This will have a drilled grid for vacuum distribution. The table is designed so the rods will fit right underneath the steel platen.

From contributor L:
An update - the press has worked out well. No fighting the big baggy. I do commercial work also. The laminate doors and drawer fronts look good in a reflective view. The architect rubs the doors and doesnít complain about the undulations. Also, I forgot there is a layer of aluminum screen between the steel platen and aluminum one.