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!

My First Venture Into Hammer Veneering
By Tom Iovino of Tom's

Hammer veneering is actually not all that tough. This was my first time trying it, and I was pretty impressed with the results. In fact, for an initial investment in a veneer hammer and some hide glue, I feel I am well on your way to making some pretty sweet veneer layups!

Here's what I needed to start - A veneer hammer, hide glue and a way to mix it up, some veneer, substrate (which can be MDF, particle board, plywood or the like) and veneer softener.

Hammer Veneering

I picked up my veneer and some Super Soft 2 veneer softener from Veneer Supplies. The veneer is some flat sapele pomelle… some cool stuff. Since the veneer is already flat, it's easy to just spray on the Super Soft, let the surface dry and stack the sheets overnight between some brown building paper under a piece of Corian as a platen.

Meanwhile, I whipped up a batch of hide glue, letting the granules soak in water overnight and later heating them in a hot pot to 145 degrees F.

When I was ready to start the process, I brushed off the piece of 1/4" plywood to get any dust off of it, and slathered a liberal amount of hide glue on the piece, making sure I got a nice, even coverage on the substrate’s surface. You shouldn't have to race from here, but hide glue's legendary quick setting time means now is not the time to make a sandwich, call your bookie or 'answer the call of nature.'

IUsing a Veneer Hammer retrieved the sheet of veneer and simply laid it down on top of the glued surface. I tried to keep it roughly centered, but I knew I could still shift it around. Now comes the fun part - I took the hammer and used the broad 'blade' end like a squeegee pressing the veneer down to the surface. Don't beat on the piece with the 'hammer' - that's not what it's used for!

Sure, there were gushes of glue coming from under the veneer. Seemed normal. I got some glue on the surface of the veneer. Not only did it seem normal, but the glue helped the hammer's blade glide over the surface. The piece did slide initially. Again, it seemed totally normal. After a while, I could start to feel the veneer grabbing the substrate.

I kept working from the middle to the outside. Remember, I was pushing air bubbles and extra glue out from under the veneer so the bond would become even stronger.

Veneer Tips
Push gently when going across the grain of the veneer. The piece may split of you push too aggressively. I saved the final firm pushes for along the grain.

Veneered PanelWhen I finished, I had a gloppy mess and a veneer that had a few 'bubbles' under the surface. Seemed normal to me. What I did was get a wet cloth and started mopping up the mess, rinsing frequently. Then, I started wiping off the veneer surface, getting the majority of the glue off. Sure, it looked like I was making a mess, but that wiping will help make finishing easier and it made the veneer just a little more supple so it wouldn't split the drying process.

After I cleaned up, I repeated the process and veneered the other side (the piece is going to be a lid and a bottom for a box I'm making - I wanted both sides covered).

After the last clean up, I wrapped the piece in more brown building paper and put it under the platen until it dried.

In the morning, I had a perfectly veneered piece of plywood, ready to be gently sanded, cut to size and put into the project.

Did I make mistakes? Heck yeah. I still have a lot to learn. For a first attempt, it was faster than I expected and the results were pretty cool.

- Tom Iovino
Yes, Joe is a practicing Catholic
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