Knock Down Bottle Jack Veneer Press

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Project by Woodbridge posted 01-27-2015 11:53 PM 3792 views 24 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I want to incorporate marquetry into more of my projects and also start working with veneers. The few times I have done veneer work I have used contact cement primarily because I did not have an easy way of gluing up the veneer panels to the substrate.

I’m not ready to commit to buying (or building) a vacuum press system. Plus I don’t have room to store any more equipment in my shop. (I’ve already encroached into the basement hallway).

So I decided to build a veneer press. I liked the design of Mathew Nedeljko's veneer press because of it’s overall simplicity and the fact that it can be easily taken apart and stored flat. Thanks Mathew.

I built the frame out of oak and ash boards I had in my shed (laminated together to make up a roughly 2.5×2.5 cross section. The top beam is three inches thick.

Like Mathew’s the base is a torsion box made from plywood and a 1” thick particle board melamine that has been in my garage for about 6 years. I don’t do much case work so I decided to use this as an opportunity the [practice hand cutting dovetails.

I also added holes along the side to facilitate clamps if I ever need to put more pressure on the edges of a veneer panel.

The frame dimensions (19” x 21”) was chosen so that, when broken down it fits into the cabinet where it is stored when not in use.

The bottle jack was purchase d for less than $10.00 from Princess Auto the Canadian equivalent to Harbour Freight.

I used it today and it worked great.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

12 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


7096 posts in 2222 days

#1 posted 01-28-2015 12:26 AM

Nice little press Peter. It will serve you well.
Now some good granulated Milligan and Higgins 192gm hide glue, a pot, and you’ll be all set to go. :-)
Personally, I prefer multiple screws but I know Mat’s works well for him and you can’t argue with the price.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View DocSavage45's profile


7658 posts in 2267 days

#2 posted 01-28-2015 01:03 AM


I like the ingenuity in this shop tool. So when do you plan an add on shop? LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2091 days

#3 posted 01-28-2015 03:40 AM

Very basic press but pretty fancy joinery .
Should be quite sufficient but a few cauls on the top plate may help to spread the pressure .


-- Kiefer

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

394 posts in 1759 days

#4 posted 01-28-2015 04:05 AM

Nice tool Peter. Simple and basic and gets the job done. Looks like some heavy duty joinery you’ve got going on. I’m wanting to set up a vacuum press myself but in the meantime I’m using “heat lock”. Apply to both surfaces, let it dry, then iron it on. Ordered it from “”Works great. Especially on curved surfaces

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2758 days

#5 posted 01-28-2015 10:39 AM

Looks great Peter. My own press is also based on Mathews design, but I really like the holes you have added to accommodate clamps. That is an excellent feature and I now plan to add that to my own press. By the way, The ease of dismantling this press design has been a real space saver in my small shop. So thumbs up to both Mathew and yourself for this fine ideas!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1842 days

#6 posted 01-28-2015 01:06 PM

Thanks everyone. Per Klaus’ comments I added the holes along the side to accommodate clamps for those situations where I need to add cauls to increase clamping pressure along the edges of a glue-up.
Paul – I’ve often thought about using hide glue and will have to check it out. Jim – I also will check out heat lock. I’m not familiar with that at all.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Bill's profile


404 posts in 1573 days

#7 posted 01-28-2015 02:54 PM

I have been looking for a way to make a press and I think this will fit the bill nicely. thanks for posting!

-- Putting the "mental" in experimental since 1973

View RogerBean's profile


1598 posts in 2378 days

#8 posted 01-28-2015 04:54 PM

Lots of ways to get veneer to stick, and this one seems good enough.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Diggerjacks's profile


2090 posts in 2563 days

#9 posted 01-28-2015 06:15 PM

Hello Woodbridge

Very nice press

Simple and effective

Thanks for the link for original idea

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View ned4693's profile


5 posts in 644 days

#10 posted 01-28-2015 07:12 PM

I like the press, been thinking about making one. Thanks for the idea and the link.

View Andre's profile


993 posts in 1230 days

#11 posted 01-28-2015 07:33 PM

Good idea, up here in Alberta that would be a Redneck press! LOL!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2312 days

#12 posted 01-29-2015 11:45 AM

Nice press, but instead of holes for clamps, why not just make a sub base a bit smaller than the base? Just make it so the base overhangs enough to allow clamping anywhere you want.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

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