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Investing in a vacuum press

A vacuum press can help expand your business and shop capabilities. June 6, 2001

Question
It makes sense that contact cement is not a good alternative for applying a backed wood veneer to a wood substrate (hardwood plywood). It seems that the only alternative for large sheets (80" x 24") is to use glues that require a vacuum press, which, to do one kitchen, is mighty expensive. Any alternatives?

Forum Responses
I usually suggest to people that they try to find someone in their area who does glue-ups. While your cost per piece will be more, you won't need to invest in gluing equipment and your quality should go up. If there's no one in your area who does this kind of work, it might be a good opportunity to expand your business.

Jeff Pitcher, forum technical advisor



For a larger job like a kitchen, you may be able to justify the cost of a vacuum press setup. There are economy models available. You don't have to spend in the high hundreds or over a thousand dollars to get started. With good gluing techniques, you can turn out topnotch work with an economy press. Check your cutting list. If you're doing small parts, you can buy a smaller press. No need to buy a 4x8 foot vacuum bag to press 2x6 parts. Also, using a vacuum press doesn't necessarily dictate what glue you have to use. Because you have backed veneer, you would probably do fine with either a urea resin glue or PVA (white/yellow) glue. The veneer backing should reduce or eliminate bleed-through to the show surface of the veneer. Pressing times will be shorter with the PVA.
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