Applying Veneer?

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    Hi all

    My previous attempt at applying veneer ended in ruins. The entire process as I did it just didn’t seem right.

    Therefore, I wanted to ask those of you who are adept at the topic of veneering for a few pointers.

    Most specifically, what would be the best sort of glue to use? I’m looking for something easy to put on without a lot of mess. I bought raw veneer without realising how much easier the iron on stuff would be. Not going to be doing that again.


    Alan Drugan

    Hi Raze,
    What is it you are trying to veneer? Are you veneering a flat or a curved surface? How thick a venner are you using? I ask as each of the answers will be a factor in what method you eventually use.
    Also what is the background (ie the substrate) you are veneering onto? For myself for the majority of the veneering I do I use natural glues (Hide, Rabbit & Fish) This is due to the fact that using a clothes iron it is very easy to “reactivate” the glue to allow you to readjust or repair later on. Due to the heat softening the glue and making it tacky again.

    If you are using modern bought 0.6mm veneers then the substrate becomes very imnportant. the best results I find are if the venner is applied to a mdf substrate, especially if the piece is to sit in a modern centrally heated house. 3mm mdf give (for me) the smoothest and stablest surface for the veneer and negates a mlot of the problems related to wood movement. Remember that any imperfections will telegraph right through the veneer, even on occasions marks from the cheaper veneer tapes.

    You say “I bought raw veneer without realising how much easier the iron on stuff would be. Not going to be doing that again.” Don’t give up, It is just a lack of knowledge that makes it hard. Have a read of books like – Woodworker’s Guide to Veneering and Inlay – by johnathan benson or look at google books and get a read of some of the old veeneering books.

    Remember veneering is not that difficult but the most important lesson to learn is that preperation is everything. Make sure the surface is right do you have the right tools a decent Toothing plane and a good iron make all the difference. If y0u don’t have a toothin plane a bit of wood with a hacksaw blade dragged accross both axis of the surface will be enough to make sure the veneer keys properly. have a good wiegthy veneering hammer and plan properly so that every thing is in place before starting and know the order you plan to do things. hth

    Droogs - The Tinkerer's Apprentice

    David Perrott

    I am going to try my hand at veneering too. I have a cedar chest to repair that is missing some veneer. I would prefer to use hide glue but I have to do the slightly curved base. I’m thinking more of a contact cement since it is slightly curved. I looked at the book Veneering simplified by Hobbs, Harry J and found it helpful. I’m sure it will have some trials and tribulations.


    I managed it decently actually a few days ago. It was 0.6mm Sapele veneer onto 6mm thick plywood I was using for the back of a cabinet. I used regular white PVA glue.

    The cabinet is approximately 3 feet wide so I had to edge joint the veneer. After a quick Google this was fairly simple.

    I used a paint roller to put the glue on as it gave a much more even spread, it was surprising how much of the bottle I had to use probably because the roller itself was soaking it all up.

    After I put the veneer on I covered it with baking paper and then with another sheet of plywood. ON top I put lots of weight for a while.

    Of course, this method didn’t come out perfect. There are ripples in the surface strangely which correspond to the stripes in the Sapele. Of course this also makes it near impossible to tell unless you run your hand over it which is good. I also had to go over some of the edges with more glue as it didnt stick down properly. Getting an even weight across a surface that large is much harder than it seems.

    Overall though it went reasonably well I think.


    I also use PVA but diluted 10% with water, this makes spreading it much easier with the roller. I realise you’ve already done the job now but just in case you do some more!

    As for weight I normally clamp the piece being veneered between two melamine faced boards with some waxed paper over the veneer with some slightly curved cauls running across the top board and this gives good even pressure across the whole veneered surface. A veneer press would be better of course but I just can’t justify the expense!

    I use burrs quite a bit and the surface is always uneven, a good sanding will flatten it out and you have to watch you don’t go through-I have more than once.

    I am a complete amateur at this but with patience you can get good results with a limited kit. I’ve attached a picture of what was my third veneered box so if anyone is thinking of trying just do it I say!

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by cragglerock.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by cragglerock.
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