Using hide glue on elm burl veneer

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Forum topic by Viktor posted 09-04-2009 01:48 AM 2150 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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464 posts in 3419 days

09-04-2009 01:48 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question veneering elm burl finishing modern

Does anyone have experience using hide glue and veneering hammer with burl veneer?

1. With regular veneer the hammer is moved along the grain. Burl does not have any particular grain direction and is relatively fragile. I am afraid it will break or stretch, which will show up later as it dries and cracks.
2. I want to glue it on a rather thin substrate: 6 mm plywood to make sliding doors for a bookcase. Do I need backing on the other side of the plywood? In other words does burl behave like straight grain veneer after drying: pulls and cups the substrate.
3. Does hide glue interfere with polyurethane finish? What finish would you recommend in this situation?

Thank you.

3 replies so far

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4401 days

#1 posted 09-04-2009 02:18 AM

I’ve not done any hide glue veneering. I’ve always used regular veneer glue.
Dennis Zongker does some great veneering. He posted a blog in the last few days about using Hide Glue.

Post the question to him.

His blog

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

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1285 posts in 3737 days

#2 posted 09-04-2009 04:33 AM

You should be fine with hide glue. It is best to test a sample before doing the main glue-up. You MUST put a piece of veneer on the other side in order to balance out the piece. It will warp and twist if you do not do this. It is a good idea to use a vacuum press for veneering. It evenly distributes the pressure.
I have used Unibond 800 for many types of burls, including carpathian elm, with no problems. Resin glues are very stable. Very thin veneer tends to be more finicky to work with. Burls also have inclusions which can have glue bleed through. Be careful on the amount applied.
As Karson said, Dennis Zonker would be a great contact for more info.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3274 days

#3 posted 09-04-2009 03:32 PM

I always hammer in all directions – not just with the grain. Brush a nice amount on both sides so the hammer is lubricated and slides easily. No problems with burls as long as there aren’t any pieces sticking up. Hide glue grabs almost immediately and it’s a lot easier to work with than it sounds.

I don’t know for sure if it’s necessary on all substrates but I always put a backing veneer on – plywood,mdf, etc. it all gets a backer. If you count the plys in plywood, it’s always an odd number. Putting veneer on will make it even so the backer brings it back to odd (it’s odd because you have a center piece and then plys are added to each side symmetrically) As an experiment I glued walnut burl to one side of 1/4” plywood and it curved like the rocker on a rocking chair. It was getting glued into a rail and stile system so it really didn’t matter as the dados kept it straight but now I always use a backing veneer. (I got 10 lbs of red oak for 10 bucks on Ebay so I have enough red oak backer to last me, my 5 year old son and any grandkids that might come along)

Hide glue is transparent to stain and I don’t see why it would have a problem with poly. It works with varnish, shellac, etc.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

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