Now that the veneer is flattened and the box is prepped we can start applying veneer to the humidor. To do this I will use my vacuum press. A brief note about my vacuum press. I use a Project V2 auto-cycling veneer press from veneersupplies.com which uses a compressor and venturi to create suction. Not only is this kit a really cost effective vacuum press solution at under 200 but it works amazingly well. Link to the kit here.
Next I cut my newly flattened piece of veneer to size. I forgot to take pictures of this but i’ll try and describe the process as completely as I can. Basically I put the veneer down on a sheet of MDF and then place another strip of MDF on top of the veneer to use as a cutting guide. Then you just cut the veneer with a sharp utility knife. I like to use the IRWIN blades they seem to cut really well. It is important not to try and cut all the way through the veneer in one pass but rather to use several light passes.
With any glue-up its a good idea to get everything ready before you start and walk through the steps before you get started.
Some things I like to make sure are ready are
1. Have the vacuum bad out and ready with the closing seal ready to go
2. Have the compressor pumped up ready to go
3. Have the vacuum press plugged in and ready to be switched on
4. Have glue and rollers ready to go
Sorry if this organization is scatterbrained I should probably explain platens before I continue
Platens are flat surfaces that will essentially be pushed up against the veneer when suction is introduced into the bag. It is important that the platens have air channels cut into them so that the extra air can efficiently leave the vacuum bag. If there aren’t air channels cut the valve will basically just seal up against the other side of bag and the rest of the air in the bag won’t be evacuated.
An example platen
I also like to put packing tape on the other side of the platen with the non-sticky side out so that if any extra glue squeezes through the veneer it won’t stick to the platen.
back to the walkthrough
At this point I need to apply glue to the surface that I’m going to be veneering. The glue I like to use is Better Bond which can be picked up at veneersupplies.com. I have also tried the tightbond veneer glue which works well but the Betterbond has a faster curing time and longer shelf life, also it comes in three colors so excess glue isn’t as noticeable.
Next using a small roller I spread the glue around evenly. It is really important that every square inch of this surface be covered in glue, especially the edges. You can also spread the glue with a plastic spreader. A tip I’ve learned is to use a small foam roller a day or so before you plan on doing your veneer and get some glue on it, this seals in the roller and prevents it from soaking up glue when you use it.
Glued surface, this is about how much glue I like to use, if you get too much it will soak through the veneer and too little won’t fully glue down the veneer. This process definitely takes some practice
then place the top platen in place and put the assembly into the vacuum bag
Next attach the hose and flip on the vacuum press.
Next let the piece press for 45mins-2 hours and then take out of the bag and trim up the veneer
Please check out part 4 here