Home Made Vacuum Press

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Project by Wingstress posted 03-31-2011 05:28 AM 8115 views 39 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this vacuum press from the plans and kits provided by Joe Woodworker at I had owned a hand pump vacuum bag, but I could never tell if it kept its suction after I left the shop, so I wanted something with a cycling feature that turned on and off when any air leaked. At the start of this project I knew absolutely nothing about vacuum presses and how they worked. has all the information you need, in fact it can be a little intimidating – talk about information overload. I purchased the VSE kit and at the time really didn’t understand what I was building, but the directions on the web were very informative with excellent interactive pictures. Also, I must have emailed Joe 5 or 6 times with questions and he always responded quickly and informatively.

About the vacuum – I saved a lot a money by using a rebuilt pump (also sold by Joe). The tanks are PVC spay painted blue and all the pluming came in the kit. The frame is just scrap plywood painted gray. The design of the frame was copied directly off the website which has a ton of pictures of people’s designs. The only thing original thing I added were the two drawers under the frame for the 10 foot hose and some veneering tools and tape. If I hadn’t painted it, it could have easily been built in a weekend.

Overall I’m very pleased with its performance. It could suck a watermelon through a straw and hold it there. The last picture is it in use. I’m gluing up 7 plies of rock maple for a longboard. The jack screw in the middle is to add some camber form tip to tail. Its being pressed onto a foam mold that is curved from side to side.

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

19 comments so far

View dakremer's profile


2742 posts in 3292 days

#1 posted 03-31-2011 05:31 AM

who ya gonna call???? GHOSTBUSTERS!!

(very very cool! – I wish i had any idea how to build something like that)

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3922 days

#2 posted 03-31-2011 06:06 AM

It’s a beauty! It looks store bought for sure.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3777 days

#3 posted 03-31-2011 06:24 AM

lLooks good Tom I built one from Joe the woodworker a couple years ago, yours looks better than mine nice work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View shipwright's profile


8166 posts in 2998 days

#4 posted 03-31-2011 06:31 AM

Drop in here: and join the club.

Yours is one of the prettiest. Nice work!

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3198 days

#5 posted 03-31-2011 07:18 AM

Looks great. I have thought about making one someday for some composite stuff (Maybe some vacuum infusion) but have been side tracked by other projects.

Is the kit a starter kit or did it really have everything that you needed to get it put together?

How much does it cycle when you have it pulling?

Do you feel like the reservoirs are big enough?

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View whit's profile


246 posts in 4177 days

#6 posted 03-31-2011 07:39 AM

Wingstress – nice job. I really like the idea of the drawers on the chassis to hold the smaller parts. Catching a slipping air hose is one thing. Going after a veneer knife is something else, again.

I’m working on one using the compressor and the venturi components. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do. But . . . that’s another project overcome by events. Maybe one day I’ll finish it!!

dakremer – Wingstress is right. Check out the Joe Woodworker site. He has a wealth of information and parts available. If you can’t find the answer on his site, e-mail him. Chances are, he’ll get back with you.


-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3270 days

#7 posted 03-31-2011 09:57 AM

That looks a neat set up Tom I have a real good industrial vacuum pump that I use but it’s loose & there are no vacuum reservoirs or vacuum switches for cycling (I just use my bike….ha.ha.) seriously I have to get around to building a dedicated unit like this, Pauls (shipwrights) work has really inspired me to get serious about veneering, I just seem to have so many other things to do I must be getting old. Anyway nice jobas with all of your projects

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View tyka's profile


142 posts in 2893 days

#8 posted 03-31-2011 02:49 PM

It’s amazing the tools that are being built by LJ’s. This one is definetaly tops! You did an remarkable job. Thanks for the info and the Joe Worker link. This one is on my favorites list and future projects list. Tks for sharing.

-- Paul, Plantagenet, Ontario

View shopmania's profile


701 posts in 3382 days

#9 posted 03-31-2011 03:35 PM

Impressive looking project! Great job!

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21729 posts in 3306 days

#10 posted 03-31-2011 05:19 PM

Nice job on that pump and press!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Mark Emerson's profile

Mark Emerson

45 posts in 2863 days

#11 posted 03-31-2011 10:41 PM

WOW ! That is impressive :)

-- Mark, Pueblo, CO. >>> A few pieces of wood and an Idea is all it takes to get me in trouble :)

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3088 days

#12 posted 03-31-2011 10:55 PM

Nice job, Tom. I too have had excellent service from Joe. He seems quite ready to lend a hand, whether you buy from him or not. Truly he has the LJ spirit!

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

View dustyal's profile


1299 posts in 3675 days

#13 posted 04-01-2011 02:10 AM

I just placed my first veneer order… and I received it on the second day. Great service from
Now, I need to try a little veneer work… like a box lid. The veneer I received was very nice stuff. Duh, I’m not up to vacuum pressing at this point.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View kiefer's profile


5622 posts in 2867 days

#14 posted 04-01-2011 02:56 AM

i know nothing about this stuff and admit it
but looks to me like a great job
nicely build and looks great !


-- Kiefer

View Karson's profile


35148 posts in 4601 days

#15 posted 04-01-2011 03:49 AM

I built one also. I got my pump on ebay. I had to drive about 20 miles and pick it up so I had no shipping.

I’ve got a brand-new 220Volt vacuum pump that could probably pull an army tank inside out. It was a surplus pump for a printing press and it was never put in service. They changed their printing press.

I used parts from Joe also. A great buy.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

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