Mahogany crotch, macassar ebony, madrone burl, fiddleback English sycamore. These are but a few of the hundreds of fine veneers being specified for the very finest residential and corporate interiors today. From color consistency and sequence matching to dimensional stability and wide species selection, the use of veneer offers woodworkers a unique design freedom not available with solid wood. Although veneer has adorned much of the finest furniture found in museums around the world, veneer fell out of favor with the introduction of mass produced inexpensive furniture. Veneer became associated with cheap low quality construction. One dictionary defined veneer as a "deceptive or superficial outward show" and veneering as a method "to conceal with an attractive but superficial appearance" and "to gloss over."
Today the use of veneer is once again taking its rightful place as the premium choice for fine furniture and high end custom interiors across the country. Woodworkers are expected to be well-versed in the use of veneer. Many shops are finding that veneering capacity is a must, giving them the competitive edge which in the future may be the difference between success or failure.
The principles of vacuum technology are simple. Atmospheric pressure is very heavy; we have over a ton per square foot pressing upon us at sea level. Luckily, we have an equal amount of internal pressure to keep us from being crushed. When the air molecules are removed from a container - even in small amounts - atmospheric pressure immediately becomes evident.
When air is removed from a closed vacuum bag containing a veneering project, two things happen. First, as the vacuum is created, atmospheric pressure bears down on the work inside the bag with perfect uniformity and enormous pressure. Second, as air is drawn out of the cells in the surface structure of the wood, glue is sucked into these cells. The results are dependable and consistent.
Vacuum Pressing Systems offers two types of laminating systems. The "Bag" system which completely envelops the work, and the "Frame" system with a hinged lid that drops down over the panel being pressed.
Once you have used the VacuPress you will agree that there never really was a practical way to veneer curved shapes. Gone are the frustrating hours of trying to perfectly mate male and female forms, and striving to wrap shaped pieces with veneer. For curved work the VacuPress bag system is used in two ways. With the "inner technique" the form and laminations are slid into the bag. (See illustration.)
With the "outside technique" only the laminations are placed inside the bag. The form stays outside (See illustration, right).This second technique is commonly used when the form is too large to go inside the bag without difficulty. Instead, the craftsman brings the laminations to the shape of the form. The VacuPress clamps all the laminations to each other, eliminating all but a few clamps.
(For another illustration of the
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