Applying Wood Veneer Sheets with Contact Cement
Real wood veneer sheets can add beautiful character to a piece, as long as they’re applied correctly. Most furniture grade wood veneer is meant to be applied with a vacuum press or a cold or hot press with yellow or white glue. However, if a press is unavailable, high quality contact cement can be used to adhere sheets of veneer. Here, we’ll look at eight tips for successful contact cement installation of wood veneer sheets.
1. Use quality cement. You can’t expect great results if you don’t use quality products. Flammable contact cement works better than non-flammable cement, and though better cement will be more expensive, it saves money in the long run by providing a successful seal the first time.
2. Climatize the wood veneer sheets. Put the sheets and substrate in the environment where they will be applied for 48 hours before beginning installation. Also make sure you wipe all surfaces clear of dust before beginning application.
3. Stir the glue. Do this before each use, just like you would with paint. Neglecting to stir before each use can cause adhesion problems.
4. Select the right substrate. Medium density fiberboard is the best for applying wood veneer sheets with contact cement, followed by particleboard, and then plywood. The least suitable wood surface is hardwood. It is also inadvisable to apply wood veneer sheets to drywall, plaster walls, or concrete.
5. Be aware of ambient humidity. Humidity must be lower than 51% in the application area or else trapped humidity between the substrate and the veneer may cause problems like cracking or bubbling.
6. Use two coats. Apply two coats of contact cement to the substrate, and be sure to allow the first coat to dry completely before you apply the second coat. Even a little bit of tackiness is too much. Only one coat is needed for the back of the wood veneer sheets.
7. Use a board for a squeegee. A scrap about 12″ x 6″ will be more effective than a J-roller. Hold it in both hands and use it to spread the cement, pushing surfaces tightly together and moving from the center to the edges.
8. Fully dry the cement before finishing. Allow 24 full hours of dry time before applying finish to wood veneer sheets in order to prevent interaction between the contact cement and the finish.