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  HOME TECHNIQUES VENEERS Wood Veneers: Which Glue

Small Lots of Veneer for Sale
-lots of unbacked wood veneer
packages, priced to clear

Wood Veneer Packages

Wood Veneers: Which Glue To Use?

There are many adhesives on the market. Which one you chose for gluing down wood veneers is dependant upon your equipment, experience and skill. For the purpose of our small crafters, we'll only discuss three types, the traditional "hide" glue, the off the shelf Contact Cement and standard PVA water based carpenter's glue.

Hide Glue:
This is the traditional glue that has been used by wood veneer craftmen for generations. It is typically bought in pellets or flakes, relatively cheap and has an indefinite shelf life in its dry form. It is water soluble, thus easy to clean up, and has a long working time. If fact hide glue can be reheated to allow movement or disassembling of your project (a feature often used in the repair of violins).

Its main disadvantage, is the messy process of mixing it with water to the right consistency and heating it to use. It is not great as a table top adhesive, since a hot dinner pot or excessive moisture, would disengage the veneer. Many craftsman, do not like to use it because of its dark colour that can show through lighter coloured veneers. Lastly, if the glue mixture is made with excessive water, it can cause the veneer to expand on initial layup and then shrink on drying.

Bottom line is that craftsman typically use hide glue for historically correct restoration projects, when they need a long open time, or when it may be important to take the project apart at a latter date....... otherwise they will use newer glues...

Contact Adhesives:
are an easy and fast way to glue down veneer, but the results can be somewhat inconsistent. Success depends on a rubber glue line which is very stretchable and allows movement. It can not be used successful in any situation where multiple pieces of veneer are joined together for a fancy inlay table... the pieces tend to shift,..... but can be great on one piece glue ups. Remember that once the veneer has been put in place, you can no longer alter its position...so aim accurately the first time... its a one shot deal.....

It is important to consider compatibility of the contact glues with the finish. Some finishing materials can chemically break down the rubber bond of contact adhesives. Lacquer finishes, for instance, can actually melt the rubber glue line. Do a test run before you start.

The advantage of contact cement, is that it does not require clamping of any sort. This is particularly important if you are trying to apply a veneer to an oddly shaped, small piece and require instantaneous bonding. Since contact cement is resistant to heat it is also a good choice for 1 piece lamination onto a table top.

For multi piece marquetry, or fancy seaming of wood veneers, PVA glues are a better choice.

Carpenter's Glue-PVA: (polyvinyl acetate)
This is an easily available glue, for general purpose woodworking. It is waterbase, and sold in various brand names, dry times and qualities. Once it is dry it does not shift and unlike a contact cement, is easy to spread in uniform layers. It is readily available and has a long shelf life, although I have seen it mold if stored in an excessively hot environment.

In our production shop we always use a high strength, high viscosity (thicker) PVA glue, for wood lamination. ..... but in wood veneering this is not necessary. Most cheaper glues are thinner (ie more likely diluted), but this is an advantage in this case, because it allows a thinner, more even/uniform layer to be applied to the substrate.

You don't need high strength when all you're trying to do is stick down a 1/32" veneer to a piece of MDF...... just use your standard woodworkers glue and I'm sure you'll be happy with the results.

PVA glues do require a clamping method to hold the wood and/or veneer in place while drying, often this can include some sort of press arrangement, or vacuum bag.

 


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theWoodbox.com Jan 2007