Applying Parchment as a Laminate

      Advice on adhesives, substrates, and sealers for parchment applied to a table top. April 29, 2010

I am attempting to make a top from genuine parchment for a simple deco style coffee table. I am looking for input on the best way to go about applying it to the wood substructure. Any info is greatly appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor J:
Regular carpenter glue and a squeegee might work just fine.

From contributor O:
I think that it would look fantastic. It occurs to me that it might look good on the inside and outside of instrument lids, or as framed panels on the sides as well. I am interested in the outcome of your trials.

My first thought would be like contributor J's, hide glue and a veneering hammer. I use it in small pieces with hide glue for instrument work, but the way I use it the shrinkage as it dries is an advantage. The stuff is basically rawhide and expands like crazy when it even thinks it sees damp, and then shrinks like crazy (and deckles) when it dries.

You might try one of the 3M spray adhesives. Spray both surfaces, wait a bit then use a brayer to roll the parchment down on the wood. That stuff is solvent based and you might get the vellum stuck before it sees any moisture and changes shape. I think you can also get contact cement (the stuff you stick Formica down with) in spray cans. On this approach, leather workers and shoemakers use a product called Barge cement, which is basically a strong form of rubber cement. It is also solvent based, but I have no guess if it can bite into the parchment surface sufficiently to get a good grab on it.

Vellum used to be used for bookbinding and a browse through a bookbinding text might be of use, if I remember correctly they used wheat paste (wallpaper paste) and shoved the whole book in a press for a few days till it dried.

You may need to consider the panel construction as well. Once you get it stuck to a surface the parchment will expand and contract as the humidity changes and you may encounter extreme warping of the table top unless you either embed the parchment in a finish that denies it access to the atmosphere, or you balance the construction by doing both sides. (The covers of old vellum covered books often curl up badly). You generally need to do the same with wood on wood veneer work, except that vellum is ever so much more hygroscopic.

From contributor W:
Sounds like a nice project. Keep in mind about the shrinking and expanding with moisture. I have had good experience with paper using high quality wallpaper adhesive. Regardless of how you attach the paper when it reaches the look you want to have it must be sealed with something or it will get very dingy no matter how clean your customer is. I have also had good luck with Shoji Paper from Misugi, and others. It comes in lots of different types and weights. The most durable application to laminate paper would be done by sealing both sides of the parchment or paper with lacquer based vinyl sealer (two thin sprayed coats on each side of the parchment) then adhere with contact cement like a plastic or metal laminate. Naturally de nib the parchment very gently after sealing. After the sealer dries thoroughly, the parchment will be very stiff and durable and easy to press and trim. Do the edges first.

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: Glues and Bonding Agents

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates and Solid Surfacing

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates & Solid Surfacing: Fabrication Techniques

    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 © 1996-2021 - 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