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Just took the plunge with a vacuum press, any advice?

Discussion in 'Veneering' started by cabomhn, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. cabomhn

    cabomhn Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Well I decided to get one after a lot of thinking. I made enough money this summer to make a little investment in my future woodworking goals. I bought an excel 1 continuous vacuum pump system which includes a filter and pressure gauge and the necessary tubing/ lock on attachment for the vacuum bag. I also bought the see through mesh to place between the wood piece and the vinyl vacuum bag in order to allow for even pressure and prevent any bubbles from forming.

    I got some necessary components to make the vinyl vacuum bag including the glue and the vinyl pieces as well as the valve stem to connect to the pump. If I read everything correctly this is the main components that I need in order to get a good setup going! I plan on being able to do a lot of the work in my apartment this fall and being able to get things set up as I progress instead of always going to the woodshop (they won't let you set up a vacuum press there). I was just wondering if anybody with some experience veneering with a vacuum press has any recommendations or maybe some tips with things that have gone wrong for you? This is pretty new to me and I'm going into this hoping that I'll learn as I progress but would live to hear a little from people who have done projects with these in the past!
     
  2. ButchC

    ButchC Active Member Full Member

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    Keep a vinyl repair kit handy-you'll find out you need it in the worst way at the wrong time.

    Get a long open-time cold press veneer glue that will give you some extra time to work your pieces prior to putting in the bag.

    Have fun and do some experimenting.
     
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  3. cabomhn

    cabomhn Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    Any suggestions for good glues at all? I've used a tightbond cold press glue before but I would imagine there are some better brands out there for that kind of work. Thanks for the advice on the repair kit I'll definitely keep that in mind
     
  4. barry richardson

    barry richardson Moderator Staff Member Global Moderator Full Member

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    I've used the rig we have at work quite a bit. Urea formaldhyde AKA plastic resin glue is pretty much the industry standard for veneering, unless you want to go old school and use hot hide glue. This is the most common and readily available that I know of, they carry it at TruValue Hardware around here.

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    There are other version such as unibond 800 but they only come in large comercial sizes I think. Check out JoeWoodworker.com if you havent already. A wealth of veneering info there. From what I have heard, you are better off to bite the bullet and go with a pre made polyurethane bag than gluing up a vinyl one, less grief in the end. That's what we use at work. Used many times over about 6 years and never a problem. Otherwise, veneering with a bag is pretty easy and foolproof.
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2014
  5. cabomhn

    cabomhn Member Full Member Thread Starter

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    I actually have a half gallon of unibond 800 that I've been keeping so I might be using that this fall but thank you for the info! JoeWoodworker's site was the first one that came up and I spent a good amount of time reading through his articles and learned a lot. I decided to go with making my own vinyl bag for now just due to the cost of the poly bag. I can make my own for $40 that is bigger than than the $120+ poly bags so I'll take this as a learning experiment.

    Oh A question I did have, how to you keep your pieces of veneer from sliding around as your bag apples pressure? I know that is the biggest common problem I have on any glue up so I figured that has to be some sort of method to prevent that from happening.
     
  6. barry richardson

    barry richardson Moderator Staff Member Global Moderator Full Member

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    Wrap masking tape on the edges tp keep it from sliding. David Marks on his show Woodworks did a couple of segments where he did vacuum veneering that I found instructional, they might be out there on Youtube somewhere....
     
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  7. derwood144

    derwood144 Member Full Member

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    To extend the life of the bag, I always tape cardboard around the edges of a project, too. Also, avoid any voids if you're doing anything with a hollow. I had mine implode on me recently while repairing a bed footboard. When you open the bag, let the air back in slowly. Not doing that can create an explosion of air inside that will scare the Bejesus out of you and can't be too good for the seams!
     
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  8. BArnold

    BArnold Full Member

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    I prefer plastic resin glue for most vacuum bagging work, whether it's bentwood lamination or solid wood veneer. For paper backed veneer, I use Titebond II in most cases.

    My first vacuum bag, believe it or not, was a shower curtain from Walmart. I was being frugal (cheap) and needed something in a hurry for a bentwood lamination. After that, I got some medium vinyl material from a fabric store that worked fine for several years. I replaced that with some heavy vinyl from Joe Woodworker a couple of years ago.
     
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