LumberJocks

Adventures in Vacuum Veneering #3: Adding a Frame Press

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by SPalm posted 12-27-2009 03:02 PM 10988 reads 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Pimpin’ the Pump Part 3 of Adventures in Vacuum Veneering series Part 4: First Lessons Learned »

I have been using a shower curtain liner for my vacuum bag. It is folded over and clamped with wood strips and spring clamps. This was really hard to get to work effectively as there were a lot of moving parts. I want to make a proper bag someday, but for now I really wanted to build a frame press. The concept is to make a frame with vinyl stretched across it and weather stripping foam on the bottom. Then I only need to set the veneer glue-up on a melamine assembly table and place this frame on top of it. When I apply vacuum, it will pull the frame tight against the table and pull the vinyl tight against the glue-up. It makes working by myself a lot easier and allows me to place the work a bit more precisely.

So I built a 2’ by 4’ frame out of some white oak from the scrap bin. This was the first time that I used pocket screws. It was fast, but really hard to get the two pieces to lay flat. Not sure I really like them. I am sure that I need to practice more. Maybe clamping better would help? I wish they had an indexing spline or something like a miniature biscuit. Anyway I recovered by sending the assembled frame through the thickness sander one corner at a time. It worked like a champ. I am impressed at the strength of the joint.

This picture shows the frame after I sealed it with shellac to make it more air tight. It is sitting on wax paper.

This picture shows the frame after adding the gasket to the top, stretching vinyl across it, and then screwing down (spalted) oak to hold the vinyl. And yes, it is still shower curtain liner. 8 mil. The screwed cauls allow it to be replaced.

I then flipped the frame over and added two strips of the gasket stripping to the bottom. This is pretty special gasket tape foam designed for this type of application. It is super dense and meant to be compressed.

And I added a new improved quick release connector through the vinyl in the corner. It has grooves in the bottom to allow the vacuum to spread around. The nature of the frame improves the way the vacuum can disperse as there is always a small triangle all the way around the frame where the vinyl cannot pull all the way down.

The test drives did not go without some problems. Mainly the frame did not always completely seal against the melamine when the vacuum was first applied. If I added some spring clamps to the two long sides, I was able to complete the vacuum. I could then remove the clamps and maintain good pressure. So maybe I will try to come up with some easy and light duty clamps. Maybe just weight might even do it.

The 8 mil shower curtain has been holding up quite well. Lots of test drives. I obtained some better breather mesh that lies between the glue-up and the vinyl. It does make things remarkably easier as compared to using flat wooden cauls. The plastic mesh also smoothes the edges and corners from poking through the vinyl.

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon



5 comments so far

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

680 posts in 1879 days


#1 posted 12-27-2009 03:27 PM

Wow, do you ever work fast. I’ll be lucky to have my frame press done in a year from now. Nice work. You might want to consider switching to polyurethane at some point for more durability. My 30 mil vinyl has some small pinholes from corners poking through after about 8 years of use. But if you do get any holes, duct tape is a quick patch that seals remarkably well.

Since I’ll be building a dedicated table for mine, I planned on using some threaded inserts and studded knobs to hold it in place until the vacuum pulls it down, to help with the initial pull. Mine will be about 3×7, so it’ll probably be a bit trickier to get started.

Anyway, again, nice job.

-- Gerry, http://g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

View Karson's profile

Karson

34915 posts in 3148 days


#2 posted 12-27-2009 05:16 PM

Steve: A fast worker, Great looking frame. Nice job on the build. You’ve given me some ideas for my frame.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View cabinetmaster's profile

cabinetmaster

10874 posts in 2306 days


#3 posted 12-27-2009 05:24 PM

I have got to favorite this blog. Thanks for the great blog. Really got me going now.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2396 days


#4 posted 12-27-2009 06:46 PM

very cool adventure. even though you end up running into some minor issues, it looks pretty spot on. thanks for posting this Steve. It’ll come into use in the future (hopefully).

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View degoose's profile

degoose

7051 posts in 2102 days


#5 posted 12-27-2009 10:18 PM

I know I mentioned the Roarrockit kit before… but as to sealing the bag they have available rolls of sealant tape… reuseable…works a treat … this might be of help I hope…
Larry

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase