JoeWoodworker Veneer
The Official Website of this Non-Professional Woodworker ™

Part 1

Veneering Basics
14 Good Reasons
Vacuum Press Uses
Vacuum Press Options
Questions & Answers
Part 2
DIY Vacuum Press Plans

Vacuum Press Chart
Project: EVS™
Project: EVS-2™
Project: V4™
Project: CRS™
Excel 1™
Excel 3™
Excel 5™
Part 3
Vacuum Bagging

Vacuum Bag Basics
Polyurethane vs. Vinyl
DIY Vacuum Bags
Connect the Bag
Bag Closures
Bag Platens
Breather Mesh 
DIY Frame Press
Part 4
Veneering Information

About Veneer
Veneering Glossary
Veneering Myths
Balancing a Panel
Veneer Glues
Veneering Tips
Substrate Materials
Flattening Veneers
A Sharp Veneer Saw
Jointing Veneers
Taping Veneers
Dealing with Defects
Curing Glued Panels
Veneering w/o Vacuum
Hammer Veneering
Iron-On Veneering
Veneer Storage
Amazing Bookmatches
Edgebanding Guide
Paper-Backed Veneer

Part 5
Miscellaneous Info

Vacuum Press FAQ
Veneering FAQ 
Veneer Glue FAQ
Vacuum Forming
Vacuum Clamping Pedal
Vacuum Clamping Jigs
Vacuum Clamp Matrix
DIY Vacuum Manifold
Vacuum Press Gallery 1
Vacuum Press Gallery 2


Vacuum Veneering - Tips, Tricks, and More!

What Makes Better Bond™ X-Press Veneer Glue Better

I consider myself very fortunate to have my opinion counted when it came to the creation of the Better Bond line of adhesives. I've worked exhaustively to make these glues the most user-friendly, reliable, and affordable adhesives available. After months of re-formulating and tweaking these adhesives, I believe you will find the Better Bond adhesives the absolute best.

Testing an adhesive and displaying its numerical results does not really give you a sense of what it's like to work with a glue that has been perfected. You really need a side by side comparison of the working characteristics. That's why I sent our cold press adhesives (now known as X-Press veneer glue) to some of the most demanding cabinet and furniture shops in the country. These kind folks returned a vast array of comments. Some as simple as "it needs to dry faster". Others comments were a bit more complicated. One cabinet shop owners put the adhesive through a battery of man-made 'real life' tests and submitted a full report showing that a durable veneer panel could be pressed, dried, sanded and finished in less than 2 hours.

We call it X-Press ("express") because it cures very fast. The curing speed is what most users will appreciate, but others have commented on its exceptional forgiveness in application. Instead of requiring a special glue applicator or a measuring device, this adhesive spreads perfectly with a simple glue roller. X-Press veneer adhesive is the critical part of creating a panel that is stable, durable and easy to trim.

Extensive testing and valuable user feedback allowed us to fine tune the volume of an advanced synthetic fibrous-resin additive that we blend into every batch. This component of X-Press glue minimizes bleed-through issues and acts as a gap-filler for voids in burl veneers. I believe we got it perfect! Don't be fooled by other adhesives that claim a ridiculously high level of solid content. More is not always better. Want to understand why solid content tells you nothing about bond strength and how it is often over-estimated for marketing purposes? Read on.

Below are the technical details of the Better Bond X-Press veneer adhesive versus its nearest competitor. Armed with just the data below, I think you'll find that X-Press veneer glue does indeed offer a better bond. But you need to try it out to really see how it can make a veneer project so much easier.

  BB X-Press "Other Bond" Comments
Shelf Life 12 Months 6 Months Better Bond X-Press veneer glue is an exceptional value even for occasional veneer users.
Viscosity 13,500 cps (thicker) 4,500 cps (thinner) Thinner glues have a tendency to bleed through into the face of the veneer which effectively ruins the project.
Solid Content
(adhesive solids)
52% 42%

True solid content refers to the amount of glue resin in the mixture. Fillers can be added which increase thickness but can reduce bond strength. See the commentary at the bottom of this page for more information.

required for set
9 lbs psi or
1,300 lbs per square foot
100-250 psi or 14,400-36,000 lbs per square foot X-Press is designed for vacuum press veneering. Other glues require 10 to 20 times more pressure than a vacuum press can produce.
Set Time 45-60 minutes 2 to 3 hours The X-Press set time is very quick.
Open Time 10-12 minutes 15 minutes X-Press has a slightly shorter open time due to its higher solid content. The open time can be greatly increased by lowering the shop temperature and "sizing" the substrate with a 50/50 coat of veneer glue and water.
Spread Rate 7 mils 7 mils This is the equivalent of 40 lbs per 1000 square feet of substrate material.
Chalk Temp 45°F 50° A negligible difference that doesn't affect the working properties in any significant way.
Dried Color Light, medium brown & extra dark brown Medium brown only X-Press vener glue is available in three tones. The medium is the ideal general purpose color. The other colors will come in handy if your project requires a glue line that matches your veneer.
Freeze/Thaw Stability Short term: Stable According to their website,

The adhesive polymers in Better Bond X-Press veneer glue will remain stable if the adhesive is frozen. However, the glue may require a some remixing or stirring. Freezing will not extend the life of the adhesive.

Veneer Glue Solid Content
There is a lot of poor information going around the internet regarding the solid content found in any veneer glue. The most important criteria when judging a veneer is bonding performance.
The addition of the filler material can increase solid content but more solids do not necessarily make a better glue. Additionally, it is important to understand that a calculation of solid content can be derived from several factors. The key question is how much solid content comes from glue polymers and how much comes from a free form filler used only to make an adhesive thicker.

High-solids adhesives don't always perform well in terms of bond strength. There is a performance window when it comes to solids content. The ideal solid content is one that minimizes overpenetration and maximizes bond strength. The viscousity of the Better Bond cold press glue allows it to properly penetrate the wood cells without the risk of bleed through.

The term "wetting" is often used to describe the ability of the adhesive to penetrate the porous surface of the veneer and the substrate. This is what gives the glue its bite. It is what makes an adhesive strong and durable.

Imagine a plate of pancakes. If you pour on a thick, goopy syrup then you have none of the flavor inside. It would sit on top and you might just it peel off. On the other hand, if you poured water on the pancakes, it would absorb too much and there would be nothing on the surface. So in the case of a project substrate, this is where a bond would be made with a wood veneer. Finding the ideal solid content was not difficult but it did require extensive testing. I have done the work and what I found is that the Better Bond X-Press veneer glue has the ideal solid content for all veneer species.

There are some veneer glues out there which claim a solid content of 70% or more. That is way too much for veneering with a vacuum press. I would also suggest looking at the MSDS sheet for the glue. One supplier of glue is claiming 70% solid content, yet the MSDS sheet for the very same glue says 51%.

Filler material can be beneficial if bleed through is an issue but there is a fine line between a glue that doesn't bleed through (yet has no adhesion) and a glue that bleeds-through and has excellent bond strength. The Better Bond cold press glue fits right in the middle. When used properly it has excellent adhesion and no bleed-through.

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