you are using a straight-grained wood, it's a good idea to "dry
iron" the veneer before applying the adhesive. Set the iron to the medium-high setting and gently move the iron around the veneer until it is warm. This will pre-shrink
the veneer to minimize any splitting.
Lock can be applied with a paint brush, foam roller, or glue
roller. Two coats of adhesive may need to be applied to the substrate
if you use a paint brush or foam roller. However, a glue roller
has the tendency to apply the adhesive a bit thicker (approx. 9/1000")
and, therefore, is the ideal choice. Unlike contact cement, Heat
Lock disperses no volatile organic compounds (VOC's) so it
can be applied indoors.
not thin Heat Lock. It's formulated for optimum flow directly
from the bottle.
with the substrate by applying a zigzag pattern of adhesive to the
surface. Use the roller to spread it out evenly. Be sure to cover
the entire surface. The key is to apply a uniform coat. If the veneer
adhesive drips over the edges, it can be cleaned up (while wet)
with a damp rag.
apply the adhesive to the veneer in the same manner as the substrate.
The best method is to cut the veneer slightly oversized and tape
the edges down to a scrap board. This will prevent the glue from
getting on the veneer face during application. If the adhesive does
get on the face of the veneer, a clean finish will be difficult.
surface of the substrate and veneer should appear evenly covered
after drying. A second coat of adhesive is frequently necessary.
The uncured adhesive will clean up with warm water. Rinse off the
roller or brush immediately after use. The adhesive begins drying
quickly so do this now while the veneer and substrate are setting
An Ounce Of Prevention
A spritz of veneer softener on the surface will give the veneer some flexibility if it's very wavy, buckled, or high in moisture content. Some species such as maple, bubinga, and hickory have a tendency to split when excessive heat is applied. Veneer softener will greatly minimize this issue.
Wait for the glue to dry before proceeding with the clothes iron. It typically takes 20 to 30 minutes for the glue to fully dry. Once the glue has dried, do not delay the iron-on process. After 6 hours, the adhesive becomes increasingly difficult to reactivate.
Turn the clothes iron on and set it to medium/high with a small
amount of steam. On some irons, this will be the "cotton" setting which is approximately 193°F. Allow a minute or two for the iron to heat up.
Now is a good time to use scissors or a razor knife to trim off
the edges where the veneer was taped over. This will prevent you
from accidentally using the dry veneer surface on the substrate.
an old cotton or flannel shirt over the veneer face and begin ironing
from the center and work toward the edges. Apply even downward pressure
giving the full veneer area ample time to heat up, reactivate, and
bond. Be sure to keep the iron moving at all times.
an additional 1 to 3 hours for full bond strength.
After the veneer has cooled off, check the surface for any areas
that feel uneven. You can re-heat any areas that did not properly
bond. These are areas where the glue was not fully heated.
check the edges of the veneer for loosening. Moderate upward pressure
with your fingernail should not lift the edges. If it does, re-heat
the veneer and check it again.
you're still unsure of the final bond, spritz
the surface of the veneer with water. Allow the water to sit for 3 to 4 minutes. This will cause the
veneer to swell and any poorly bonded will bubble-up. Just re-heat
those areas and you're done!
forget to turn off the clothes iron when you are finished!
The Veneered Panel
Lightly sand the veneer being careful to avoid sanding through the
veneer itself. It can be tricky so do this by hand. It's best to
let the adhesive fully harden before staining/finishing the veneered
surface. Since Heat Lock cures hard, practically any stain or finish can be applied.
For tricky veneers that have a tendency to split under the heat of the iron, you want to try this alternative method.
- Apply the softener to the veneer and iron it to dry it. Let's call this "pre-softening".
- Apply the Heat Lock to the veneer and substrate and let it set up. Don't wait too long after it is dry to continue.
- Use the iron, with slightly less heat than previously used, to adhere the veneer to the substrate.
- When you are done, spritz the veneer face very lightly with softener. Let it sit with the softener on it until it dries on its own (no ironing).
Bookmatching or any other veneer seaming technique can be very difficult with Heat Lock due to veneer shrinkage from the heat of the iron. However, there is a "work-around" for the problem.
To solve the shrinking problem, you can place a straight piece of clothes hanger wire about 2" away from the seam. Then iron down the seam. Next, pull the clothes hanger wire out and iron down the bubble that it left behind. This will force the seam tight. This technique requires a bit of practice but it does work well.
Still have questions?
The Heat Lock FAQ is available by clicking here.