Questions about uncommon veneer/moulding use

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Forum topic by Ben posted 01-26-2021 12:14 PM 231 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 35 days

01-26-2021 12:14 PM

Hi guys, first post here but I’ve read through plenty of threads and finally have a question I need to ask myself.

I’m building a storage bench soon and I’ve run into a bit of a problem solving opportunity.

My plan for the front side was to veneer/attach 1” wide strips of varying thicknesses to create a sort of textured appearance. I’ve attached photos of the 1:10 model I made for the client as well as a little example piece of the texture.

I’m not sure the best way to go about achieving this. Since they will all have different heights, I would need to clamp them all with an individual caul if I used regular PVA glue. Since it’s going to be about 80” long, that could get very time consuming. I’ve made a test piece with hide glue using a sort of rubbed joint technique, but was having problems with the edges curling and it made me worry about longevity. Another thought was to use dabs of CA glue with PVA glue everywhere else so that I could press it down and let the CA glue hold it until the regular glue cured. I really want to avoid nailing any of them even though that seems like an obvious solution.

I’m also a bit concerned about wood movement. My thought is that since all the strips are not actually glued together as a panel and each one is quarter sawn and not very wide, that any seasonal movement will be absorbed by tiny gaps between the strips and nothing should crack. Since I haven’t seen this done before I’m not really sure. I know veneer should usually be no thicker than 3/32” but would that apply to a situation like this? I’d like to go up to maybe 3/16” for the thickest of the strips of people think that’s possible.

Any advice or experience doing something like this?

4 replies so far

View Robert's profile


4447 posts in 2490 days

#1 posted 01-26-2021 02:12 PM

However you do it, you should tape several together into wider strips rather than apply individually.

Obviously, a vacuum press would be ideal. But it could be clamped in sections, too, using a plywood backer and cauls.

Check out the pva glue/hot iron technique. That would probably be my choice.

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

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4687 posts in 2232 days

#2 posted 01-26-2021 03:44 PM

For strips that vary in height, you need some type of compliant surface to use as a caul. I have done that with only minor variations in height (+/- 0.080 or so) using a vacuum bag and a section of 1/2” rubber floor mat (Tractor Supply stall mat, basically recycled shredded tires). Worked perfectly.

Your big problem I see is getting the strips into place quickly before the glue starts its job (or things start to curl up).
You could do it in stages, or maybe cut the compliant mat into smaller sections so you have something to lay on top of one section and hold it down while moving on.

View 4wood's profile (online now)


88 posts in 963 days

#3 posted 01-26-2021 04:06 PM

Here are some of my thoughts. Do not use a water base adhesive if you are apply the strips directly to the plywood.

Use a urethane wood flooring adhesive that will allow for expansion. Bostik Best is my choice and it is available at Lowes in the caulking type tube for about $6. This adhesive is very strong and will allow for expansion. The problems with it is the long set up time before you can remove your clamping devise, maybe three hours or more. Whatever adhesive you use you may have a bleed through problem between the joints. Bostik’s is a white color when it dries. Spread the adhesive with a very small notched spreader similar to this one available at West Marine for around $2. One idea that I have for applying pressure is to first cover the area with the very thin painters plastic, then place a cloth sand bag of some type on top. The sand will probably conform to the irregular thickness of your wood. Once you have the sand bag pressed into place you can add more weight to the top if it is necessary. Make sure your plywood is held flat when you apply the strips, maybe using clamps or screws.

Another thought is to make a tambour and then apply it to the plywood. Attached are two videos that may give you some ideas. In both videos they used yellow glue to adhere the strips to the cloth backing. One person used a cloth painters drop cloth for the cloth backing. They both used an iron on the back side of the cloth to dry the glue quickly, which may eliminate your problem of the ends curling. Keeping them all flat on the back side will be the problem. One idea that I have would be to use some type of putty tape to keep them all the same height.

View Ben 's profile


2 posts in 35 days

#4 posted 01-27-2021 12:38 AM

Thanks everyone for all of the ideas, it helps a lot to read so many different takes on the same problem. I’ll have plenty of things to test over the next couple days.

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