Posts Tagged ‘ Ply ’

Tips for working with veneer

I thought I would list a few tips for working with veneer if anyone is having trouble with cutting/gluing veneer.  These are  a few things I have learnt while working with it all.

1) I Have never needed to use a veneer softener, The flat press will help flatten the veneer. I have read that if the veneer is curling a lot then it maybe helpful to use water or veneer softener.

2) DON’T try to cut the veneer in one go, take a lot of passes.

3) When cutting with the grain, be careful as the blade wants to follow the grain.

4) If you have a 2-ply lamination that your trying to cut. Cut so you are cutting against the grain, this will help stop the blade from sliding.

5) Always use a ruler and when possible clamp it down. This is so you get a very crisp cut.

6) Use a sharp blade, the newer the blade the easier it will be to cut. When the blade gets a little blunt you will need to take more passes to get a good cut.

7)  Take it slow. Measuring, cutting etc take it all slow. The quicker you go the more likely you are to tear the veneer.

8 ) When gluing don’t over apply. Apply a small amount of glue evenly to both pieces of veneer you wish to use.

9) Allow ample time for the glue to bond and cure



OK, so I have got the plys to get press completely flat. What I ended up doing was applying glue to both the Horizontal and vertical leaves of veneer. Then when I clamped the MDF together I put a long 90×35 flat on the top and bottom and clamped to that.  The glue was also applied thinly.

I put a few into the shell mould last night, but that wasn’t a success. The plys were boned nice and tight, but the seams were awful. That is something that I really need to work on.


So changing the temperature of the laminating environment didn’t have an impact on the laminating process. I found that there were still some pretty big ripples in the veneer.

I think it is most likely an issue of not enough clamping pressure/not even pressure


too much glue/not evenly applied. The lamination where I used less glue worked better, but there were spots that didn’t bond, which is a problem, but I will just have to make sure there is enough glue next time.

On a positive note the wax paper works great, if any glue seeps out the wax paper wont get stuck and tear, it comes off nicely.


So while I have been making my new mould (which should be finished tomorrow if I get a chance) I have also been playing around with laminating veneer. First of I tried to laminate the plys with a very thin layer of glue. I also clamped for 20 hours and used wax paper.

There was a bit of rippling, not sure if this is due to the temperature (cold) or not clamping, or not enough glue. But the wax paper is so much better than the butter paper, No tearing etc. (the first few pics are of the process)

This morning I have laminated up two more plys. I changed some things with it, I applied a little more glue. This is because when feeling the previous lamination it felt like parts had not bonded. Well I actually used the same amount of glue, but previously I used like a small paint roller to evenly apply the glue (which resulted in a lot of waste as the roller soaked up a lot of glue). I think I may have gone overboard. Also I am going to leave it inside for most of the time to see if temperature plays a part in the process as well. The last 3 pictures are of the glue on the veneer (Titebond III) and it all clamped up.

Ply Lay-up

This morning I shaved off some of the top ply to see how the lay up was. Some of the plys ripped as I was shaving it back. I took about 10 samples to make sure everything was working. There was only one place where the plys didn’t bond properly, that was an issue from lamination in the flat press not the mould.

This is good news as it means that the method I am currently using is working well.

The Big Reveal

Today I pulled the shell out of the mould. Everything went OK, could have been better and could have been a lot worse. So there was no gaps in-between any plys which is a good thing. There has been a few issues with the plys moving after the pressure has been applied, I think this is to do with the PVA glue. And the only other issue is the seams, I Need to get the each leaf of veneer measured exact; the seams looked perfect in the mould, but moved out about 2-3mm.

Some things that I have learnt from this shell:

  • PVA glue takes WAY too long to cure – 24hr isn’t enough. The time is too long, so I will switch back to Titebond III.
  • PVA glue is more prone to rippling – this could also be an issue with clamp time, not sure.
  • The shell will stick to the mould – this is pretty common sense, if the shell has glue being squeezed out at the sides, it is going to glue itself to the mould. I think this can be overcome by either coating the shell in a few coats of tung oil or similar (because that stops glue from sticking so well or using wax paper in between the shell and the veneer.
  • I need a new mould – This mould has broken, glue has become unstuck and I don’t think it’s strong enough.

Any suggestions? Feel free to contact me/leave a comment.

The Next Day

OK so all went pretty well, the shell was glued up, and from what I could see there wasn’t any places where the two plies didn’t glue and there were no gaps. If this next ply goes well, I am going to put one final ply in then it will be a “finished” shell. By that I mean that it will be the thickness that I set out to achieve, but I don’t think it will be able to be used as a drum shell yet.

On a note of the seams, when I put the laminated veneer into the mould it fits nicely, but looking at it today the seams appear to be huge gaps. I guess I will find out tomorrow.

I placed a piece of BendyPly into the mould before I inflated the gym ball this morning but I found it made it worse, not better so for now I will give that a miss. I think a lot of my problems are coming from my mould as well, so I’m thinking that in the next few weeks I will make a new one.

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