Veneer Glues - Contact Cement?

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Forum topic by Ivan posted 06-07-2010 06:35 PM 10017 views 1 time favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ivan 's profile


185 posts in 2797 days

06-07-2010 06:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question veneering

I recently have been thinking of adding veneering to my work and was lucky enough to find a retired woodworker of 55+ years experience that has left over veneer for sale.

He mentioned that he simply uses Contact Cement & weights for his veneer work and not a Unibond 800 and Vacuum bag.

Has anyone had any experiance with Contact Cement as a veneer adhesive and what issues does this hold for finishing and longevity of the veneer? He did say that he has never had a piece come back or any veneer bubble up.



-- "Do it right the first time, you'll just kick yourself later..."

20 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2996 days

#1 posted 06-07-2010 06:44 PM

Here’s the place to check out for any veneering questions

-- Custom furniture

View rhett's profile


734 posts in 3087 days

#2 posted 06-07-2010 07:10 PM

Contact cement is for laminates and backed veneers. Raw veneer, that is just the thin sheets with no backing or cross plys are not well suited for contact cement. Especially open grained and burly veneer. There are better options.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1509 posts in 3544 days

#3 posted 06-07-2010 07:34 PM

I’ve tried contact cement, the veneer ripped itself apart, bubbled and peeled and was awful. The problem as I see it is that contact cement is flexible, and when this lets the veneer move with humidity changes bad things happen. So I won’t use contact cement again.

My best luck so far has been Titebond II spread on veneer and substrate, allowed to just barely dry (you have to watch it, although Titebond I supposedly has a working time of a few days), and then ironed together. Yes, the water in the glue caused the veneer to curl, and I did have a more open grain on the veneer for finishing, so it isn’t optimal, but it’s the best results I’ve had so far.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile


375 posts in 2349 days

#4 posted 06-07-2010 07:36 PM

I use contact cement for all my veneered box tops.
It works great! I find the best results come from waiting. In my experience the dryer the CC is the better and more instant the bond will be. This may take some patience depending on how quickly you like to work.
As for spreading I use a rolling pin and spread from the middle into each corner.

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View MedicKen's profile


1610 posts in 2881 days

#5 posted 06-07-2010 07:51 PM

I have not tried contact cement or will I ever. I get all of my supplies form It is the same site that A1Jim suggested. I have used their glue extensively and have not had an issue. Their glue can be found here

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Ivan 's profile


185 posts in 2797 days

#6 posted 06-07-2010 08:29 PM

I was told that the CC needs several days to a few weeks to cure fully before any finish is applied, otherwise the solvent in the finish can dissolve the CC.

I was leaning towards a Unibond 800 type of glue, but I didn’t want to dismiss 55+ years of experience.

I also found glue at

Thanks for the feedback!


-- "Do it right the first time, you'll just kick yourself later..."

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2550 days

#7 posted 06-08-2010 01:00 AM

Only use contact cement with paper backed veneer. But, even then, you really need to know what you’re doing if you want good results.

-- Gerry,

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 2470 days

#8 posted 06-09-2010 10:05 AM

It would depend on the thickness of your veneeer. It keeps getting thinner. With some really thin stuff, the chosen finish can soak through and loosen or completely dissolve the glue bond. On the other hand, most of what I have done was with contact cement, found it worked well with no problem. MY veneers were nearly all thicker than 1/32”; mostly 1/16” thick. Sawed them myself. Most pros and old-timers prefer hide glue, anjd it is now available in a bottle. This stuff doesn’t stink as bad as hot hidde, holds just as well, and it too is reversible by heat and/or water. The choice is yours; Old B rowne Glue, contact, or yellow pva.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 2541 days

#9 posted 06-09-2010 02:44 PM

I’d follow a1Jims idea and visit JoeWoodworkers site. If it has to do with veneer its on that site. I like his copper veneers, they look great when the project is completed. Adds a different feel to the final product.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View sandt38's profile


166 posts in 2327 days

#10 posted 06-11-2010 12:49 AM

I have used a ton of contact cement on veneer and never had any problems. You just have to spread it thin and well, on both surfaces, and let it dry, then stick them together. The thing with it is, it is completely unforgiving… I did a quick tutorial a long time ago on it:

-- Got Wood? --- Somewhere along the way the people in Washington forgot that they are there to represent the people, not to rule them.

View Ivan 's profile


185 posts in 2797 days

#11 posted 06-21-2010 04:51 PM

Thanks for the help, I’m debating veneer on my next piece, when I finish my ‘honey-do’ list.

-- "Do it right the first time, you'll just kick yourself later..."

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3156 days

#12 posted 06-22-2010 01:11 AM

The best glues to use on veneers are Epoxy and Urea Glues. There are some methods of using yellow glues. However, contact cement should be used for formica or other plastics and not veneers. It is not stable enough.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View TheWoodsman's profile


65 posts in 2316 days

#13 posted 06-22-2010 01:27 AM

My experience:
Use only waterbased contact adhesives under paper backed veneer. I use the 3M Fastbond clear applied with a foam roller or brush . . . but I’ve also had problems with this. What I really recommend is sticking with the wood-on-wood veneers and use water based. I’ve never had trouble going this route.
Solvent based or water based contact adhesive under phenolic backed veneer and laminates. I use Wilsonart red and clear and all of my solvent adhesive is sprayed.
Wood glues (rigid setting) are the way to go on real wood veneers

I’ve seen the grain open up (looks like checking) more than a year later on paper backed veneer that was applied with solvent based contact adhesive. IMO, while contact adhesives do gain strength over time, they are still flexible glue lines as compared with other wood glues. Any movement can cause problems once a rigid finish is applied over it.

-- I'm the Woodsman . . . the four-wheelin', tree-farmin', custom-furniture-makin' descendant of Olaf "The Woodcutter" Ingjaldsson.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3519 days

#14 posted 06-22-2010 01:48 AM

I am with The Woodsman on this one. And like John Ormsby I prefer to use urea resin.

I have seen a lot of commercial work that applied veneers with contact cement and within 5 years they look like crap because the veneer cracks all apart, bubbles, and the joints move.

I would never use contact cement personally based on what I have witnessed as a contractor.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View PastShelfLife's profile


6 posts in 2314 days

#15 posted 06-23-2010 09:47 PM

The main problem with contact cement (any type) is that it does not cure with a rigid glue line, but rather stays flexible. This causes the veneer to buckle, bubble and/or lift. This is the case especially when you are using raw veneer with no backing because this type of veneer is not as stable as backed veneer. The underlying problem here is wood movement, a wood veneer and/or substrate that is not stable should not be glued with contact cement. For example, the worst case would be using a highly figured raw veneer such as a burl or crotch over a solid wood substrate. In this case both the veneer and substrate are prone to excessive wood movement. As prior posters suggested, urea resin glues or other glues that dry rigid are your best choice for these situations, however it is extremely important that equal and even clamping pressure be applied when using these adhesives, therefore you must either use some type of veneer press (vacuum or mechanical) or many clamps and cauls when pressing.

The only advantage contact cement has when it comes to veneering is that you do not need to clamp it and it can be used successfully in some cases where excessive wood movement is not an issue. Example: gluing down a backed veneer over mdf. Because both a stable, the contact cement should work fine.

-- Sal Marino

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