How to Veneer a Plywood Cylinder

Suggested methods for applying veneer to a cylinder. August 17, 2012

I'd like advice on how to veneer a plywood cylinder. The cylinder is 27" tall and 18" in diameter. The veneer is birds eye maple. Paper backed or not? Phenolic backed or not?

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor P:
Do you have a vacuum press/bag setup? If so, I'd recommend the video "Working in a Vacuum," available from Vacuum Pressing Systems. Well worth the $35. Explains how to do a cylinder and other shapes in step-by-step detail. As I recall, you do two passes in the bag.

Choice of raw or backed veneer is a personal one. If you don't do a lot of veneering, backed veneer is more forgiving in some ways.

If you don't have a vacuum bag, you could go the backed veneer and contact cement route, but getting the seam(s) right could be very tricky. Then there's the hot hide glue and veneer hammer method.

From contributor J:
I think I'd just use the peel and stick backed veneer. Unroll the veneer on a nice flat surface and peel back some of the paper. Tack the other end down so it stays flat. Now take your cylinder and position it carefully over the sticky veneer and press it down. Now start rolling it up smoothly across the veneer and peeling back the paper as you go. Use an assistant to help you.

Roll it all the way up past the joint and overlap an inch or so. Trim off the overhanging veneer flush on both ends of the cylinder. Now run a new razor blade knife along a straight edge at the middle of the overlap, cutting through both layers. Now peel off the little pieces and re-stick the ends to complete the joint.

Obviously you should practice this whole routine first before you peel back any paper and pre-cut the veneer so you're only working with what you need. Everything must be absolutely tack-cloth clean or you'll positively pick up a pebble someplace.

From contributor T:
I've laid paperbacked veneer on PVC piping using epoxy. I used shrink wrap to act as a clamp. Started at one end and wrapped up and down. As you apply more of the shrink wrap, it tends to tighten up and it acted as a great clamp - even pressure and zero bubbles. The cylinders looked and felt great once completed. Of course my columns were half to a third your size in diameter, so you may want to do a dry run to test.