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peel and stick veneer, does it hold up?1/29
Does it stay attached or will it let loose after time. Looking at a quick way for finished ends on cabinets. Currently I apply 1/4 inch ply with contact cement and am curious if this veneer would do the job or if it's not a good product.
Never used it (never will). Sounds sketchy. I doubt it will last forever.
There are a lot of mixed feelings about the "peel and stick" veneer. I know there are a lot of traditionalists that won't even look at paperbacked veneer, let alone the peel and stick or PSA veneer. I am aware of the myriad ways to apply different veneer and veneer products. Some methods are better suited than others for different situations. Ultimately the choice is yours whether a product will work for you or not. The PSA backed veneer is convenient when you have to work in the field and on cabinets that are already installed.
Here are some facts about PSA veneer:
PSA stands for pressure sensitive adhesive, it is a viable product and has been used by many (including myself) with success. Its bonding strength comes from the application of pressure. With this type of adhesive this can only be done by hand. Very similar to how you would use contact cement. The application of this pressure is paramount for the successful application and use of PSA veneer. You should not use a J roller with this product. A veneer scraper or veneer hammer is the tool of choice. The pressure should be as firm as possible and scraped with the direction of the grain. Repeating the application of pressure is crucial. You cannot apply too much pressure and with certain veneer species it would be wise to repeat the process several times (maple is notorious). The PSA requires a lot of psi, this will help to restrain the veneer from moving with the changes in humidity. The 3M PSA also works better on less porous surfaces. As with all veneer application methods, surface preparation is important.
I have cabinets I built over 10 years ago and used cherry 3M PSA veneer over a plywood substrate. I have yet to have an issue with the veneer. We sell to door manufacturers that use PSA veneer on steel doors for commercial applications. They have extensively and rigorously tested the pressure sensitive adhesive under circumstances exceeding everyday use.
My comments are not meant to start a qualitative argument with the professionals that stick only to traditional methods, as far as which method of veneering is better. They are meant to be informative so you can make a better decision.
If you look at your work in the context of time, it may help you decide. There is also a historical context.
If your work is expected to last lifetimes, then more robust standards apply that would certainly exclude peel and stick or contact. If your work is short-lived - destined to be removed in a few years, or end up on the curb, then perhaps peel and stick/contact is a viable method. Of course, this assumes you are okay with disposable resources - your time and the wood products.
Historically, veneer slicers outpaced glues in the early 20th century and made for a lot of furniture that was 'papered' over with veneer to dress it up. The poor quality glues caused the veneers to catch and peel, and gave veneer a bad name. It wasn't until after WW2 that glues became better and techniques advanced to make a better veneered product. However, the notion of 'cheap veneer' is still out there.
I think you will find that better craftsmen (better in the eyes of their peers) and professionals will use presses and more industrial methods of veneer application, and those that are new, naive or unaware are more likely to use peel and stick or contact cement.
Kilgore, not bad counsel but your "historical context" demands correction. Hide glue, used nearly exclusively for hundreds of years is not & has never been inferior & is not to be blamed for veneer failure of shoddy 20th century "short-cut mass production" goods. It is obvious to the most casual observer of "great" antique veneered furniture made in the 17th & 18th century, currently in daily use in probably thousands of homes & certainly in museums worldwide that hide glue is & has been more than adequate for "lifetimes" of use!
Thomas FR - I stand corrected. Actually, I'm sitting, but ....
You are correct - Hide glue is a very good and more than adequate glue when used properly and with the intention of making a quality product. Yes, an army of deceased cabinetmakers and eboniste` would be on me for eternity for such casual dismissal of their methods.
I should have said that the methods used to 'wrap' a piece with veneer caused problems with corners lifting and catching. This was also during the post industrial revolution and the birth of consumer products that demanded lower cost methods of production. The shorter life expectancy and resulting perception of cheap were side effects of the larger forces at work.
One might see a correlation with the peel and stick of today and the current demand for ever cheaper goods.
Thanks for the correction.
Kamil, can you explain why a J roller is not a good idea to apply the PSA veneer?
A J roller will not give you enough pressure on the glue line to ensure the veneer is as stable as possible. A tapered and pointed blade, slightly eased to 1/16" radius, will give you much more pounds per square inch. A veneer hammer is such a tool. You can also make a veneer scraper out of 1 x 3 stock by cutting one end of 16" length on a 45 degree angle and easing the point. Always scrape with the grain. The reason it is crucial to administer as much pressure as possible is that PSA is a PRESSURE SENSITIVE adhesive. The more pressure the more stable the glue line will be. A stable glue line will help keep the veneer from moving and changing with environmental conditions.
As far as a primer for your substrate: if the substrate is porous you can seal it with a coat of lacquer or sanding sealer. Make sure the substrate is as smooth as possible. Any flaw in the surface can potentially telegraph through the face of the veneer.
Been using PSA veneer for over 20 years with-out any serious problems occurring. Many die hards are against it's use but I am happy with it. I am in the Chicago area and have refaced over 2000 kitchens personally so far in my career. Other than some that's out of my control like the original cabinet foundations shifting I am very satisfied..