Prefinishing Veneer: How Do You Keep it Flat?

Advice on securing veneer to a flat surface temporarily in order to keep it stable while a finish cures. January 25, 2013

I'm curious how you are pre-finishing 10 mil paperback veneers - specifically, keeping them from curling up. I use solvent finishes primarily and mostly do refinishing and (getting into) refacing.

Also, there are quite a few comments on this forum about contact cement not being a very good method to apply veneers to panels. What other options are there when the cabinet is in place (in the home)? I've heard about Fastcap - anyone using their 2 sided tape to do this?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
We finished the sheets by thumbtacking along the ends. We used a veneer with a PSA backing to replace edgebanding in the field.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. What do you mean by thumbtacking? Pin nailer? I've heard about PSA backed veneers but nobody here supplies them. Fleece back and paperback only.

From contributor M:
I've been doing refacing for years with contact cement on 10 mil veneer. Good luck trying to use some other glue without major inconveniences. Spray your contact cement onto the back of the veneer only and, while it has dried but is still tacky, roll it down on a sheet of 1/8" MDF or Masonite (whatever's cheapest). Now you have a nice stiff panel to do your finish on and then to cut on a saw to your desired sizes. When you get to the job, apply contact cement to the cabinet areas you have cut the panel pieces and strips to fit. Then pull the veneer off the 1/8" backer material and put it on the cabinet areas you have prepared. The backer keeps the original contact cement from getting too dry to stick at the end of the process.

From the original questioner:
Thanks! I read about using a backer board just today, but was a tad skeptical that the veneer would simply peel off after finishing. Good to know it actually works! I will definitely give that a try and see how it works for me.

When you apply your contact on site - do you spray it on the panels or do you apply it with a brush or roller? Seems like an awful lot of masking/protection would be required to spray contact on site? That's why I was asking about the Fastcap - just seems so much easier to use something like that but don't have any idea how it would hold up over time.

From contributor D:
No, just with thumb tacks. It seems like we ordered our PSA veneers from our edgebanding supplier. We used Edgemate banding, and our local rep ordered these from the factory in PA.

From contributor M:
I apply contact cement to the cabinets to be refaced at the job site using a brush. You could maybe spray it on using an aerosol can, but it seems like a big hassle that way. The contact cement you spray on the back of your veneer in the shop to hold it down on the backer board doesn't have to be the same stuff you put on the cabinet surfaces. It still works. I use methylene chloride based in the shop and old school DAP solvent based on the job.