vacuuming or pressing veneer?

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Forum topic by Zelbar posted 12-20-2010 05:59 PM 1419 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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74 posts in 3534 days

12-20-2010 05:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: veneering

I am going to be doing a lot of veneering on pieces about 18” x 12”.

I am torn if I should go with a vacuum bag system or build a press screw system
Any experience as to what is better?

If I go with the press screw system how many press screws will I need for a 18×12 area?


-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

7 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2844 days

#1 posted 12-20-2010 06:57 PM

Your question is which is better and upfront I cannot answer that.

I have a bag system which I have used extensively. I glue my instrument bodies together in it. The virtue of the bag system is 100% even pressure throughout—it is the atmosphere doing the pressing, not a platen that was adjusted to pressure by feel on a crank.

My system is from Mercury Vacuum Presses in Fort Bragg, CA.

My apologies for not answering your question as thoroughly as you are requesting.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3068 days

#2 posted 12-20-2010 07:07 PM

I’m no expert but my intuition is that a vacuum press is better. You cannot beat it for applying even pressure.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View mfike's profile


100 posts in 3659 days

#3 posted 12-20-2010 07:23 PM

Vacuum press. You can use it for a lot of other stuff in the future and it’s really easy to do. Go to “”

View Builder_Bob's profile


161 posts in 3053 days

#4 posted 12-20-2010 07:28 PM

I pressed veneers in my most recent projects, and had trouble with all of them. Check my latest project for a snapshot of veneer trouble. My Christmas present (to myself) is a vacuum bagging system which is still in the box.

I’m excited to use it, I’ll let you know how it works!

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 3075 days

#5 posted 12-20-2010 07:45 PM

I would think the vacuum press system would be better. Eventually I’d like to have one but I just did some veneer on some panels about that same size. I just stacked weight on them and they turned out fine. You can check out the Photo Album in my projects where I used some Curly Sapele Veneer. If I was doing something bigger though I would definitely try to get a vacuum press. Hope this helps.

-- Matt -

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3641 days

#6 posted 12-20-2010 10:41 PM

Vacuum systems are cool to own and you can do some interesting
things with them. Presses have their uses too, but for general flat
and curved work I would go with vacuum.

If you don’t want to invest the time and money in getting the
gear together, veneer can be applied with contact cement and it
works ok and grabs fast. Shops that do plastic laminate almost always
use contact cement. Contrary to rumor, good results can be had
when veneering with it.

Considering that you’re doing a bunch of relatively small panels,
going with any kind of press will be a slow process
because you’ll have to put on the glue and mess with the press,
wait for the glue to dry, then take the setup apart. A growling
air compressor running for hours and hours doing a bunch of
veneering would drive me nuts. I recommend getting a real
vacuum pump instead of a venturi pump for the noise reason.

You still need to veneer both sides of every panel if you want a
more consistent and stable panel.

View shipwright's profile


7979 posts in 2791 days

#7 posted 12-22-2010 08:42 AM

I do a lot of veneering. I use a vacuum system from site’s plans. It uses a venturi system and the compressor runs it’s standard one or two minute charge about once every two to four hours. That is mostly because I use my blow gun a fair bit and not because the vac system is starting it up. Unless you have a leak in your vac bag you don’t have to worry about compressor noise. Vacuum systems really are better than presses in so many ways that presses are almost obsolete. I would strongly suggest you check out the joethewoodworker site.

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

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