Shopping for a Veneering Vacuum Pump
From contributor L:
I've been happy with the 3.5cfm Thomas pump I purchased. My setup is still continuous run which is noisier, but a lot less expensive than auto-cycling. I've only pressed un-backed veneer. The only advantage I can see for using paperbacked is that you don't have to do any seaming. I've heard that the veneer on paperbacked is thinner and that you may need to scuff the back to get a good bond.
From contributor Y:
A lot depends on how much you intend to use the system. We started with a urethane 4x8 bag and the 3/4hp electric pump. It was a pain to put things into the bag. We then went to a 5x10 frame system, much easier to load. The frame has seen lots of use and tends to get abused so it's been patched many times. The pump doesn't keep up very well anymore so we've tapped into the 40hp vacuum line that is used for the router. The router runs all day anyhow and we can't tell that it affects its holding.
Draw down of the membrane is really fast! We still use the electric pump on our 1x16' bag that is used on an adjustable form. Don't buy the vinyl bags unless you don't plan on very many uses. We usually use original Titebond but you have to work fast. Normally we have two employees doing the work to keep it fast. I don't like the paper backed stuff, too thin, but easy to use.
Working with raw veneer is time consuming and requires considerable care. Fancy face projects usually have wild veneers that need flattening first. The great part is you can get some really nice looking work that really can't be done any other way.
From contributor K:
You can find used pumps if you can stand continuous running. Vacuum Pressing Systems is a great source for pumps, bags, frame presses, accessories , glue and expertise. If you do a lot of veneering and have the space, a frame press is much easier to use for most work. The bag you can break down and stow in a corner in five minutes is better for a tight shop space. We still use our bag press for curved shapes that are too big to go in the frame press. Yellow glue is ok for small panels, for larger or slower glueups Titebond extend gives more time and is more rigid. For a premium rigid water resistant bond urea formaldehyde is popular for interior use, for exterior go to epoxy or resorcinol.
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