Vacuum Bagging Long Slender Solid Wood Shapes

      Advice on using vacuum-bag clamping to glue up a long turning blank out of slender wedges. September 29, 2010

I am gluing up approx 3" diameter by 40" long turning billets using 10 "pie" shaped pieces (like a pizza) and I am using a two part epoxy. I would like to know if it is possible to clamp this assembly using a vacuum bag system. Has anyone had any experience with this? I am aware that vacuum bagging is usually used for veneers.

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor E:
The Knowledge Base article below may be of help to you. I had to redesign a pie shape top. Iím not sure you are in the same boat but itís worth a look.


From the original questioner:
Thanks Contributor E. The problems inherent in the sunburst would not come into play here. As I said, my pie is only 3" in diameter and epoxied and 40" long to boot. Movement is a non issue. Hopefully, someone has had some experience with vacuum bagging solid wood parts. The "staves" are just over .75" to 0" at the center.

From contributor A:
Vacuum bagging is not used only for veneer. We vacuum bag entire 60' boats in one suck. They sell vacuum bag socks for applications like yours. They are lengths of tubes of various diameters. The layup technique is glue the staves wrap them together with 3/4" fiberglass reinforced packing tape. Stick it in the bag or tube and suck it. Typically you can get adequate clamping force with several ratcheting band clamps - same method tape then clamp. We've got vacuum and clamps. I would try the clamps first.

From the original questioner:
Thanks Contributor A. That is what I thought but I wasn't sure. I assume that the vacuum would supply sufficient clamping force, right? I am now machining the stave that they will have sufficient epoxy (10 mils) in the joint regardless of clamping force. That was the problem with hose clamps, too much force and some starved joints. Can you tell me a resource on the tubes and vacuum supplies?

From contributor A:
Just for this one project you'll have to throw upwards of $400-$500. $300 plus for a small less expensive vacuum pump. A bunch of hose fittings, gauges, etc might set you back another $50-$100. The bag film, breather fabric, peel ply, and mastic tape will get you another $50-100. I often purchase these product from Jamestown Marine Supply or You will find uses in the future for these tools. You can also buy an actual vacuum bag instead of making your own.

From contributor R:
If clamps give you too much clamping force, try tape and then wrap with surgical tubing.

From contributor K:
I have vacuumed plenty of unusual shapes, and it should be fine for this, but I am not sure you need it here either. You could just wind around it with a stretch packing wrap. As for the pressure when vacuuming, you will get approximately one psi for each 2" of mercury. As for the plastic tube, there are some other options worth checking. Some of my suppliers keep a roll of the stuff, which can be used to make short bags for assorted small parts, also for the food industry.

From contributor B:
Check out The site has a ton of useful info regarding vacuum bagging and offers instructions and supplies to build your own setup. I just built a vacuum press using a compressor and the thing works great. Pulls 21" which is more than enough for what you need.

From contributor F:
Yes this is possible. Use a polyethylene plastic tube like a freezer shrink bag. Stick a rubber band on one end and double it over a few times and put the vacuum generator tube into the other end. Think outside the box and a lot of neat forms can be done with free form poly bags and a vacuum.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Adhesives, Gluing and Laminating

  • KnowledgeBase: Adhesives, Gluing and Laminating: Gluing and Clamping Equipment

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article