I am doing a project that involves attaching a curly maple veneer sheet I
bought at Rockler to a 1/2" thick piece of baltic birch plywood. This is my
first time doing a veneering project. I taped a David Marks program on
veneering on the DIY channel and watched it 5 or 6 times to get the
technique down. I used a plastic resin glue and let it dry for 24 hours (my
basement is kind of coolr right now). I used cauls the same size as the
board to be veneered on the top and bottom and I clamped the heck out of it.
When I removed the clamps it looks like the glue was forced through some of
the pores of the curly maple. I'm guessing I used too much glue. David
Marks used what he called a glue squeegee to spread the glue evenly. I
bought a soft rubber brayer used for scrapbooking at a hobby store for my
glue squeegee. I noticed that the rubber roller didn't really roll when I
was spreading the glue around. I think the glue might have been too sticky.
I am going to need to do this over. Did use too much glue? How can I get a
thinner layer? Did I clamp it too much? If I didn't use too much glue or
clamp too much, what else might I have done wrong?
Im no seasoned veneer expert, but I have had great success using Joe
(the) Woodworkers Better Bond cold press glue on porous veneers
(madrone burl and figured walnut). According to Joe, cold press glue
is thicker and sets faster reducing the chance of bleed through. I
have not done a controlled test to determine if its the Better Bond
brand, cold press glue in general, vacuum pressing or just beginners
luck that given me the success, but I have not had any bleed through
If you decide to try some cold press glue there is a short video on
this page showing the proper amount to use.
BTW Im not affiliated with Joe the Woodworker in any way; just a
Let us know how your successive attempt goes.
I've never had any luck with rollers and veneer, always better with a
narrow squeegee (I use a traditional brass-faced veneer hammer and hot
hide glue). Veneer is stiff relative to paper or card, you need your
force over a small area (narrower than a roller contact patch) if it's
going to press viscous glue out of the way.
I've never really understood David Marks' fascination with plastic resin
glues. They're good in some situations where you need a really long open
time when doing a complicated glue-up. But what a mess to deal with.
I second what Brian said above - use a cold press veneer glue. And
specifically use a glue shade that's appropriate for the veneer you're
pressing. Light for maples, dark for walnut's, etc. I've also had really
good luck with Joe Woodworker's Better Bond glues (have a couple gallons in
the shop in various shades). He also sells excellent veneers.
But even that might be overkill. At Marc Adams' school, when doing veneering
work, often times he'll just use a standard white woodworkers glue (applied
to the substrate only). Application is just squirt it on the substrate, then
spread it using a notched scaper (similar to a notched trowel used for
laying down mortar or glues for tiles) to cover the substrate. The notches
(1/8" or so) leave a good, even depth of glue across the surface which
quickly relevels itself. That's the ONLY way I ever spread glues on a panel
He lets it set for a few minutes to "activate" the glue and allow it air
exposure to begin curing. Then apply the veneer and quickly in to the press.
That's sufficient for the majority of home type veneer projects. The glue
sets quickly with little bleed through. I've used Titebond for things before
with good results.
You also might be surprised that your glue bleed through might not really
affect your veneering too much. Sand your panel out (I use 120 to 220
grits). Then test with some finish over the top. As long as it's not
excessive, bleed through is often not visible on a finished panel - however
with plastic resin, who knows.
My 2 cents.
Gary in KC
Thanks Gary. I called Rockler and they suggested cold press glue as well.
I'll have to say I did put a little water on the curley maple to see what it
would look like with an oil finish and it wasn't too bad.
I am making 3 stacking tables so I will try some cold press glue on the next
two and compare the results. If the cold press veneers are better, I have
enough veneer left to redo the first piece that had the bleed through. I did
try scraping and that plasic resin glue has tremendous hardness. No effect
with the scraper. I don't own a vacuum press so I used cauls on the top and
bottom of the piece that was the same size as the table top I am making (13"
x 14" roughly). Is there any reason why that won't work as well as a vacuum
press for this small size? I don't yet know how much veneering I will be
doing so I am reluctant to invest in a vacuum press.
On Thu, 13 Nov 2008 16:11:53 GMT, Dick Snyder wrote:
I used plastic resin glue with quilted maple veneer, and had the same
bleed-through. It happens where the grain of the veneer is perpendicular
to the surface of the veneer. I scraped and sanded the surface and
applied my finish (polyurethane). Can't tell that the glue was there.
Fully cured plastic resin glue is very hard. It did take a little muscle
to scrape off the bleed-through. And it beat up my card scraper a
I've only used a vacuum press. I doubt there would be much difference
with respect to bleed-through if the pressure applied is similar.
I built my press. Purchased the pump, MAC valve and a few other parts
from Joe Woodworker, other plumbing parts at the Borg. For one project,
where I needed a long, skinny bag, I bought sheet material for the bag
from Joe Woodworker and glued it up with vinyl cement. Well worth the
small expense (around $300 total, IIRC).
Pictures on my website at http://www.artg.tv/fireplace-mantel-pix.html
I put a sheet of fiberglass window screen on top of the veneer before
it goes in the press. The squeeze through ends up as little dots
instead of smearing out. So it a lot easier to use a scraper to pop
Of course you may be putting too much glue on. You should have a thin
"wet" looking layer. But not enough to be runny. I spread the glue
with a 6" plastic putty knife that I modified with notches. I use a
triangular file and made notches about 1/8 in deep , about 1/2 inch
One thing I like about the unibond 800 is that since it is not water
based, the veneer doesn't start to curl when you apply glue.
this forum has a lot of veneering expertise:
Your pressing technique is important, but whether it's clamps and cauls or a
vacuum press isn't really that significant. It's more important that you
have good even pressure. That's why vacuum presses are so good - not because
they give great pressure (they don't). They give good EVEN pressure across a
surface. That's almost always sufficient if you use good glue up techniques
and have a good veneer and substrate. Plus they're really easy to work with.
Once you've used a vacuum bag system, you won't go back. I bought a pump and
built my own bags (go to joe woodworker for all the info on that) and with a
little practice, I never have any glue up failures any longer.
Your problem with getting off the plastic resin glue is why I avoid the
stuff like the plague - it's a mess to clean up afterwards. About the only
time I've used plastic resins is for bent laminations where you're trying to
curve multiple pieces of wood in a glue up and you need to eliminate creep
and spring back of the wood. A plastic resin will stay in the shape of the
form it cured in pretty well. But it's hell on metal objects (scrapers and
blades) when you try and clean up excess and cut what you've glued.
Gary in KC
On Fri, 14 Nov 2008 07:35:39 -0600, "Gary A in KC"
...re. plastic resin glue: a few weeks ago a buddy and I were
priviledged to do a day at Sam Maloof's house/shop/grounds and along
with countless info-nuggets, we were showed the construction process
of one of his pieces. The "rocker" part of the chair is a bent
laminate and made in the manner that is common to such things...when
asked what glue was used the answer was "yellow glue, we don't use
anything else." Well that came as a small shock to a lot of us, and
I'm thinking I, for one, will now be using yellow glue for my bent
Maloof usually doesn't do anything that requires exact shaping. The curves
on his rocker can spring back just a little without any noticeable effect in
what he's doing (that's how I've done rockers as well). I think he once said
he overdoes the curve in his clamping form to account for it a little.
Plus, I don't think the normal rules of woodworking physics apply to Sam
Maloof. If you got to see him use his bandsaw, you understand why. The guy
does just amazing work and has always been one of my biggest inspirations in
this hobby. His sense of design and his woodworking skill has always
I envy you getting a chance to see his shop and grounds - How'd you manage
Gary in KC
On Mon, 17 Nov 2008 08:35:35 -0600, "Gary A in KC"
...a friend with "contacts" would be the means, I just went along for
the ride, Gary. And, yes, his bandsaw technique is...uh...organic?!
LOL, I'm afraid I'm kinda the same way with tools and will inevitably
find the use the item wasn't designed for...I don't own a bandsaw and
have been making do without for quite awhile now, but you can bet I
want one now! AFA bent-lam, I did a 6 foot tall 13 lamination piece
(a big ol' "S" with a Wyland dolphin riding some wood waves on
top...it's a lamp, but the form I used to press it is the story...I
used two sheets of MDF glued and screwed together, cut the "S" pattern
with a jigsaw, put some rail-guides on either side...heh, it was a
beast, but it worked!) 15 years ago and it's still hangin' in
there...yes, there was some spring-back and I used plastic resin glue.
Anyhow, Maloof is the real topic...it *was* an amazing experience. He
is a true patron of the arts, even has a gallery built on the grounds
for showings, and he does a lot of work with up-and-coming artists in
I heard those tours are hard to get into, but you never know, and
there were a few cancellations the day we attended...
i tried their cold press glue, and it bled through on some pretty
thick maple veneer (Rockler, in fact). I was able to sand most of it
out, but I haven't finished it yet. To tell the truth, I only veneer
small pieces, and I've been using contact cement without any problems.
I've heard that on bigger pieces, wood movement can be a problem with
contact cement, but it shouldn't be an issue on plywood.
P.S. Why use Baltic Birch if your'e going to veneer it? There must be
some cheaper stuff to use.
I use baltic birch a lot when the veneer panels I'm using are going to be
attached in some way to other parts of the piece I'm building (e.g. with
biscuits to solid wood or when I need to anchor something with screws to the
panel). MDF is probably the best for veneering, but only if you don't need
the fastening/gluing properties of a better substrate.
I use baltic birch because it's very stable, has little to no voids in it,
and has good gluing and screw holding abilities. Most recent project I'm
doing, I needed to edge biscuit a veneered panel to solid wood and needed
to be able to screw drawer slides to the inside of the panel. All of that
works better with a plywood substrate.
Gary in KC
Thanks to the group for all of your help. On Saturday I bought some Titebond
Cold Press for Veneer glue at Rocklers. I did my second veener job today. It
came out great. No bleed through. What did I learn from this? I think I
probably had the plastic resin glue on too thick and I probably applied too
much clamping pressure. A vacuum press applies 1500 pounds per square foot
or just over 10 pounds per square inch. I probably overdid my clamps. I
think I will stay with the Cold Press glue based on other replies I received
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