Attaching veneer to MDF door

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Forum topic by drummersteve posted 11-10-2020 06:53 PM 345 views 1 time favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 180 days

11-10-2020 06:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: veneer mdf glue door

Hi all,

First post here, and a very specific question. I am building a door for my recording studio, and without going in to too much detail, I need to attach a veneer to the back of the existing door. Photos attached…

As you will see, the door consists of two door slabs attached to each other, one slightly smaller than the other (larger slab underneath is solid seike, smaller slab on top is MDF). The smaller MDF door already has a veneer attached.

What I want to do is attach a new 3mm veneer on top of this (photo attached), so that I can stain and varnish it to match the bigger door slab underneath (solid seike, regional to Ecuador where I live: The new veneer is also seike.

My plan was to attach with a combination of glue (actually was going to use SikaBond Universal), along with nails. In terms of finish, I don’t mind the nails showing, I just don’t want it to fall off! Few questions come to mind…

1) can I apply the bonding agent/veneer directly on top of the current veneer? Or would I need to strip the current veneer off..(?!)

2) What is the best kind of bonding agent to use? I mentioned SikaBond Universal above, but it might not be the best. I know specific veneer glues exist, but given that this isn’t a paper thin veneer, perhaps the SikaBond would be OK?

Note that the new veneer is not the typical paper-thin veneer, such as is currently on the MDF door. It’s a 3mm seike veneer.

Thank you!!

3 replies so far

View Robert's profile


4552 posts in 2557 days

#1 posted 11-11-2020 02:45 PM

My first comment would be generally speaking it is not a good idea to glue a solid wood panel to a sheet good like MDF or plywood. The reason being, the solid wood needs to be able to move with weather changes. The MDF will prevent that causing the panel to warp. There are “tricks of the trade” to do it, but its too complicated to get into and requires some machinery.

That said, if the door is inside a climate controlled building, and all the wood has been acclimated you will probably get away with it.

My second comment is on gluing the veneer. Very large sheets like this are difficult. But regardless, you want to use the right kind of glue, and the one you’re indicating is not one of them. There are specific glues for veneering.

Obviously the method of choice would be a vacuum press, but I would offer a couple ways to do it:

1. If you have any experience with laminate, you can treat the thick veneer panel the same way and use contact cement.

2. The hot iron method. This is involves coating the MDF and the veneer with wood glue, allowing it to dry, and then using an iron, heating the glue will cause it to bind. I’ve used this method and it works quite well. I recommend trying it on some scrap wood first.

I hope this helps you.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Aj2's profile


3826 posts in 2875 days

#2 posted 11-11-2020 02:52 PM

The whole project sounds experimental to me. I wonder is veneering one side will wrap the door. I just don’t know
Good Luck it’s a very interesting project

-- Aj

View Peteybadboy's profile (online now)


3353 posts in 3026 days

#3 posted 11-11-2020 06:25 PM

I think Robert is on the right track. Google veneer glue (contact cement) big box stores will have it. get some 1/4” dowels and put between the two surfaces that have the contact cement on them pull the dowels out one by one from the center. (dowels so you can sick the veneer where you want and not where you don’t want), buy a “J” roller so you can press the two sides together.

Are you Steve Luongo? If so I met you at TFCC years ago. Saw Rat Race Choir on Long Island late 70s. Its a long shot.

I also think you will be fine in a a/c room. As far as wood movement.

Good luck!

-- Petey

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