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Veneering cylindrical pieces

Applying veneer to drums. (From WOODWEB's Veneer Forum) January 21, 2003

Question
I am a custom (musical) drum maker and am expanding my product lines beyond my normal lacquer and plastic laminate finishes to include veneered shells (birdseye maple, bubinga, etc.). I'd be interested to hear suggestions on adhesive and clamping methods that might be effective for this sort of application. I'd love to use a vacuum system, but at this point I can't justify the expense. I'll be applying the veneer to birch and maple plywood shells from 3/16" to 1/2".

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor A:
There is a way to do that with yellow glue and an ordinary clothing iron. The method is fully described in a Fine Woodworking Magazine article by Mario Rodriguez, I think. Of course, the traditional way with a veneering hammer and hot hide glue should be quite easy to do also. It would help if you could pre-bend the veneer roughly to the desired round shape prior to veneering.



From the original questioner:
I can go along with using yellow glue (though I am a bit concerned with bleed-through). I'd like to stay away from hide glue if possible, as some of the finishes I'd like to use are waterborne. My real concern, though, is clamping methods.


From contributor A:
The iron/yellow glue combination does not require any clamping as the glue sets almost instantly, but if you still want to clamp the job after ironing, you can go around the drum shell with stretched rubber bands (about 1 1/2" wide) cut from some big rubber tubing. Sizing (a mix of water and glue) the veneer faces before gluing will prevent bleed-through. Species such as bubinga, hard maple, etc. can be hand sanded without too much fear of going through as they are quite hard. Better use fine grit papers though.


From the original questioner:
Any thoughts on what ratio of glue/water I should use to mix the glue size? Also, how thick should I apply the sizing mix?


From contributor A:
For glue sizing I prefer ready to use hide glue (or fish glue) mixed with warm water .If you're going with yellow glue, I suggest one teaspoon of it in one ordinary drinking glass of warm water (same as for hide glue). For white glue, use 1 1/2 teaspoons. Mix well and apply immediately with a 2" soft brush on both sizes and let dry on stickers for about one hour, then sand lightly with fine sandpaper. Some species have a grain that is more open than others (mahoganies for example, or sometimes Zebrawood has very open pores). It would be wise then to do the process twice on these. Stir often while applying the mix. It is always advisable to have a sample of your work dedicated to testing. Use a small piece of the veneer and work it one step ahead so that you can be aware of any problem that might arise during the process.
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