Don't have any experience with veneering, but I have done some bent laminations with urea formaldehyde glue in the vac bag. I have some smaller panels I wanted to veneer, like ~10"x16", 7"x48" and similar sizes in those dimensions. I'd prefer to not deal with the UF glues if possible, are there any issues using titebond I? Is balancing the panel a concern with the smaller dimensions, if so, can poplar be used to balance cherry and walnut? I'll be resawing the veneer at 1/8" thick. I've got plenty of 3/4" Baltic birch I was planning to use, if that's an issue I'll get a sheet of mdf.
Usually, the Titebond glues are avoided since they add so much water into the veneer, causing to absorb it and swell, even while under pressure. I have seen assemblies that look like a moonscape. 1/8" thick may not wrinkle but it can swell just as much as thinner veneer.
Unibond 800 from Veneer Systems is a good glue, as is UF resin. We also use urethane glue for veneering. Even epoxy.
You are doing the right thing by experimenting a bit. Balanced is always considered good, but probably not an issue with 5" x 5" squares at 3/4" thick.
This is one time that I will disagree with David. I use Titebond II for veneer regularly. I cold press in a vacuum flip top press and I get consistent excellent results. I spent a few years hot pressing with UF glue and would leave work with itchy red eyes and constricted throat. I swore I wouldn't use it again.
The key to success with PVA is to spread a thin layer of glue consistently on the substrate. I use a hopper roller. You can use a small foam paint roller to spread a barely opaque film. Clamp for 30 minutes to an hour.
In my experience panels warp because of poor handling after pressing. Leaving on face to dry faster than another will result in warped panels. Beware of heaters, strong sunlight etc. hitting one side only.
I second Tom's reply. I have pressed quite a bit of raw and paperbacked veneer with Titebond I, II and I Extend in a vacuum press with good results. I use a notched trowel spreader (Klebo) and follow up with a non-absorbent roller to get an even spread on quickly. I save the toxic UF resins for problematic veneers like burls and use epoxy for exterior work.
Balance is important. You may get good results with poplar backing cherry and walnut, but experiment before counting on it. Thicker veneers will accentuate any imbalance.
Baltic Birch has not been a very stable material in my experience, but some seem to like it. I use mdf for dry exposure, Medex for kitchens and baths, and Extira or marine ply for exterior work.
Thanks guys, very helpful feedback. I'm adding fixed panels that are inset into stainless frames and wanted to get a good color and grain match to the other solid wood components in the pieces so I'm cutting veneer from the same stock.
Only thing I can add is I usually prefer TB Cold Press which is designed for veneer work. Also I use one of the pink textured rollers made for contact cement to roll out the glue. I find it gives a nice consistent coverage.
I also have used TB 1 in a vacuum press and have had great results. I have also used the TB Coldpress and had horrible results. I experienced a significant amount of creep from flat glue-ups. Will never use that again. TB 1 & 2 are fine. For curved work, both TB 1 & 2 will work, but there will be more springback. The UF glues are better at controlling this.
Bad experiences with Titebond Cold Press adhesive. TB 2 is better. Slow and slippery, but leave in the press four hours to be certain. We do large tables (36" x 96"), and larger dries slower than small.
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