Veneer--vacuum press or not? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 05-07-2013, 06:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I'm getting ready to veneer two subwoofer flat packs. My brother has a vacuum press. The box won't fit inside the bag so he recommends veneering each panel individually and then gluing it all up.

Has anyone used this method? Is it as good as gluing the box first and then veneering the box without the vacuum press?

Thanks
Dan

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post #2 of 22 Old 05-07-2013, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dftkell View Post

Hi,

I'm getting ready to veneer two subwoofer flat packs. My brother has a vacuum press. The box won't fit inside the bag so he recommends veneering each panel individually and then gluing it all up.

Has anyone used this method? Is it as good as gluing the box first and then veneering the box without the vacuum press?

Thanks
Dan

I would not apply the veneer before assembling the enclosure because of the glue and flush trimming aspects.
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post #3 of 22 Old 05-07-2013, 06:43 AM
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I believe that the flat packs mostly use butt joints and so you could vacuum veneer any panels that would not be overlapped by other panels. Given that the front panel has roundovers and can't be veneered, looking at the pictures on the DIS Sound group website the only panel that might work for work for is the back and that probably isn't worth the extra effort.

I use my vac bag for laminating and veneering curved panels as well as doing a large panels that will then be cut into smaller panels and use miter joints at the corners.

Good luck

Dennis
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post #4 of 22 Old 05-07-2013, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djarchow View Post

I believe that the flat packs mostly use butt joints and so you could vacuum veneer any panels that would not be overlapped by other panels. Given that the front panel has roundovers and can't be veneered, looking at the pictures on the DIS Sound group website the only panel that might work for work for is the back and that probably isn't worth the extra effort.

I use my vac bag for laminating and veneering curved panels as well as doing a large panels that will then be cut into smaller panels and use miter joints at the corners.

Good luck

Dennis
Thanks. My plan is to veneer with a walnut and paint the front panel with the roundover white. It would have a mid-century modern look.

My concern was the glue getting on the veneer. But I guess if I'm careful, I could avoid this.

Is it difficult to get the but joints to give the veneer on continuos flow?

Any online site you like for ordering walnut?

Thanks!
Dan

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post #5 of 22 Old 05-07-2013, 08:22 AM
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What kind of glue will you be using? I normally use Unibond (a urea formaldehyde glue) or the Betterbond veneer glue. Either one is easily scraped or sanded off the veneer. If you are using contact cement there isn't much point in using a vac bag anyway.

Unless you are using a two ply veneer or a really thick raw veneer, MDF butt joints usually telegraph through the veneer at some point regardless of how well you prepare the joint. Paper backed veneer is really thin and will telegraph any imperfections in the surface of the cabinet. I have had butt joints that I sanded until they felt almost glass smooth, but after a year or so you could see the joints through the veneer. Wood moves over time especially if you have large humidity swings.
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post #6 of 22 Old 05-07-2013, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dftkell View Post

Hi,

I'm getting ready to veneer two subwoofer flat packs. My brother has a vacuum press. The box won't fit inside the bag so he recommends veneering each panel individually and then gluing it all up.

Has anyone used this method? Is it as good as gluing the box first and then veneering the box without the vacuum press?

Thanks
Dan

How does your brother propose to handle the exposed butt edges?

I think vacuum bag veneering generally gives the best results, but I don't know how to make it work with a bunch of exposed butt edges.

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post #7 of 22 Old 05-08-2013, 04:39 AM
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I have some questions regarding veneer that I am hoping you can help answer for me.

1. Where do you guys get your veneer?
I went to Lowes yesterday and looked but all they had was some 1/4" pine and 1/4" birch.

2. Is the 1/4" stuff from Lowes any good, or do I need something thinner?

3. How do I cut and install the veneer in a way that the edge won't be noticable? I am assuming that
the edges need to be cut at a 45 degree angle?
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post #8 of 22 Old 05-08-2013, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

I have some questions regarding veneer that I am hoping you can help answer for me.

1. Where do you guys get your veneer?
I went to Lowes yesterday and looked but all they had was some 1/4" pine and 1/4" birch.

2. Is the 1/4" stuff from Lowes any good, or do I need something thinner?

3. How do I cut and install the veneer in a way that the edge won't be noticable? I am assuming that
the edges need to be cut at a 45 degree angle?

I think you followed the link I mentioned in my build if um not wrong......wink.gif

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post #9 of 22 Old 05-08-2013, 06:54 AM
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That isn't the kind of veneer people are referring to here. Veneer is very thin, usually less than 3/32". Usually Home Depot/Lowes etc carry some veneer though it is expensive and in relatively small sheets (usually rolled up). I usually buy my veneer from Tapeease.com. Joewoodworker is another source for veneer and veneering supplies. Two ply or NBL veneer is a bit more forgiving at hiding butt joints than paper backed.

With paper backed or two ply veneer like on the sites I mentioned you don't have to worry about mitered edges. You just trim the veneer with a flush trim router bit, sand smooth and apply the next side of the cabinet.
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post #10 of 22 Old 05-08-2013, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djarchow View Post

That isn't the kind of veneer people are referring to here. Veneer is very thin, usually less than 3/32". Usually Home Depot/Lowes etc carry some veneer though it is expensive and in relatively small sheets (usually rolled up). I usually buy my veneer from Tapeease.com. Joewoodworker is another source for veneer and veneering supplies. Two ply or NBL veneer is a bit more forgiving at hiding butt joints than paper backed.

With paper backed or two ply veneer like on the sites I mentioned you don't have to worry about mitered edges. You just trim the veneer with a flush trim router bit, sand smooth and apply the next side of the cabinet.


With regards to the veneer that you are referring to, either 2 ply, or NBL, (not sure what NBL is?), is this type of veneer sort of like formica or similar stuff that was previdously common on kitchen counter tops? I would really like to veneer my two sealed Dayton UM15 subs, but I want the end result to look like real wood, actually I would prefer it to look like cabinet grade wood such as Birch. I am planning on staining it a deep, dark brown, or perhaps ebony.
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post #11 of 22 Old 05-08-2013, 08:19 AM
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Veneering before Assembly is a bad idea in general.

You can create a one time use vaccum bag from visclean.
You can pre veneer, assemble the box(s) route a rabbit in every corner (reinforce the corner's from the back) insert a hardwood piece the same species as the veneer in the rabbit. then round over the corners or leave them square.
You can also use a phenolic backed veneer to jump the butt joints, it will not telegraph the butt joint through. Then use a paper backed veneer on the other faces. Do the paper last and it will cover the phenolic showing on the edge.

My signature shows speakers I built using phenolic to cover the butt joints. You can use yellow glue on paper backed veneer. Contact cement can be used but I would avoid it.

My company currently runs 4 vacuum bags off of two pumps every day so I know a bit about this.

Good luck and go slow.

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post #12 of 22 Old 05-08-2013, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

With regards to the veneer that you are referring to, either 2 ply, or NBL, (not sure what NBL is?), is this type of veneer sort of like formica or similar stuff that was previdously common on kitchen counter tops? I would really like to veneer my two sealed Dayton UM15 subs, but I want the end result to look like real wood, actually I would prefer it to look like cabinet grade wood such as Birch. I am planning on staining it a deep, dark brown, or perhaps ebony.

NBL is a type of two ply wood veneer with a flexible wood back layer which shows no black line (NBL) between the layers like some two ply products do. Two ply is a similar product but generally doesn't have as much flexibility. Here is a sub build I did a couple years ago using two ply ribbon stripe mahogany veneer from Tapeease.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1187720/yet-another-dual-opposed-av15-build
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post #13 of 22 Old 05-08-2013, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t6902wf View Post

Veneering before Assembly is a bad idea in general.
p
You can create a one time use vaccum bag from visclean.
You can pre veneer, assemble the box(s) route a rabbit in every corner (reinforce the corner's from the back) insert a hardwood piece the same species as the veneer in the rabbit. then round over the corners or leave them square.
You can also use a phenolic backed veneer to jump the butt joints, it will not telegraph the butt joint through. Then use a paper backed veneer on the other faces. Do the paper last and it will cover the phenolic showing on the edge.

My signature shows speakers I built using phenolic to cover the butt joints. You can use yellow glue on paper backed veneer. Contact cement can be used but I would avoid it.

My company currently runs 4 vacuum bags off of two pumps every day so I know a bit about this.

Good luck and go slow.

I have some very nice birds eye maple veneer that is not paper backed. Would I then want to apply a layer of phenolic and then the veneer on top? Do you have a link to a recommended product. Trying to avoid the telegraphing butt joints. Sorry for the thread jack...
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post #14 of 22 Old 05-08-2013, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keager View Post

I have some very nice birds eye maple veneer that is not paper backed. Would I then want to apply a layer of phenolic and then the veneer on top? Do you have a link to a recommended product. Trying to avoid the telegraphing butt joints. Sorry for the thread jack...

Hey keager, I've read about either using 45 degree joints or using the trench method to prevent telegraphing joints. Since I did'nt construct my enclosure with 45's, I may try trenching. Looks pretty solid to me...

Trenching MDF seams: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?215464-MDF-Seam-Test-Box-with-Trenches

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post #15 of 22 Old 05-08-2013, 06:19 PM
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I agree. the trenching looks promising. Wished I would have done that on my last build
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post #16 of 22 Old 05-21-2013, 01:44 PM
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Bumping this for more discussion. Looking to experiment with veneering on an entertainment center build coming up in the next month or so.

How many are using the hot iron method to apply in addition to contact cement and smoothing block?

Any tips on how to properly align the grain between panels?
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post #17 of 22 Old 05-21-2013, 04:36 PM
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I tried the hot iron thing once or twice and never got it to work very well. There were spots where I couldn't get the two surfaces to bond no matter how much heat and pressure I applied. I'm not sure what I did wrong.

When you think about it, vacuum veneering is just a method of applying pressure to the veneered surface until the glue dries. A vacuum bag does that extremely well, but there are other methods that can work well. Each panel of a well-built speaker box should be quite rigid. If you have two such boxes -- a pair of speakers -- you can clamp them against one another and veneer one face of each box at a time. Because the boxes are rigid, clamping the boxes at the corners should apply good pressure over the surface of the mating panels. Use a glue like Unibond that has a fairly long open time. Let the glue dry, remove the clamps, trim the veneer flush, rotate the boxes and veneer the next two faces. Not very fast, and not very high tech, but it works OK. It does, however, require that the mating sides each be flat. If you have sanded the boxes and rolled over the edges, you won't get good results from this method of veneering.

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post #18 of 22 Old 05-21-2013, 07:22 PM
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Bmp for Gorilla as I am getting more and more interested in veneering some new projects that I am working on.
What is the Trench for that was mentioned earlier? What purpose does it serve?
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post #19 of 22 Old 05-21-2013, 08:11 PM
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I've used contact cement with good results. The water based stuff. Which a lot of people haven't had good results. My only gripe is the fear. Ill always wonder how good of a bond there is. I just walked in from the shop applying some raw veneer with it on a very small speaker. We'll see how that goes.

I've also done cold press with clamps and cauls. Works really well, but its very frustrating and a lot of work. The advantage is once its dry and there's no bubbles, you know it's staying there for a hundred years. But I've screwed up quite a few pieces of veneer like this. And I've also had some pieces bleed glue and the finish never works right where ever there's some dried glue. And make sure you have a ton of good clamps. Snap your caul into place with some quick clamps, and then load up the caul with lots of pressure using pipe clamps.
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post #20 of 22 Old 05-22-2013, 04:44 AM
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Thanks for the input tux, much appreciated.

For any other veneer newbs out there, I've been reading a lot of the articles on this site:

http://www.joewoodworker.com/
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post #21 of 22 Old 05-22-2013, 06:57 AM
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You can also get a free dvd on vacuum veneering from these guys Quality VAKuum Products.
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post #22 of 22 Old 05-22-2013, 09:07 AM
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Thanks for the link Gorilla! I will definitely have to devote some serious time to that website!

I am just curious, when it comes to the veneer that comes in a roll , can you not just use a single piece of that across the front and on each side? I would imagine that you could bend the veneer
into place then glue it down and do the back of the speaker last. That would eliminate any unwanted exposed corners on the front and sides, and the only places that you could see that the veneer is
more than one piece would be from the back.
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