Gluing Wood Veneer to Acrylic

Adhesive choices and methods for sticking veneer to plastic. August 5, 2006

I'm making some acrylic panels that I want to adhere solid wood veneer to (no backing), and am stumped on what type of glue to use. I have a vacuum press that can be used for this project. Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor C:
Definitely *do not* use contact adhesives for this application. I've seen nothing but bad (awful) results with various veneer/plastic/contact combinations. I suggest using something that doesn't move once bonded. Adhesive systems based on an EVA (like Helmibond 808) may be sufficient. If better adhesion or heat resistance is required, a PUR dispersion plus hardener system would be in order.

From contributor F:
What is the purpose? If you want to use the veneer as a lens that will allow the passage of light, there is a product available and you do use clear contact to assemble. The architectural grade veneer is manufactured by soaking it in vinyl or acrylic instead of backing and is available from Jacaranda, Inc. I'm the first to speak against contact cement, but in this case it's perfect.

From the original questioner:
This is to be used for 12" x 28" sliding doors. I want to lay the veneer on acrylic so that when I drill a hole in it for the finger pull, rather than seeing MDF core, you will see solid white acrylic. So I am also beginning to wonder about what the finish is going to do inside that hole!

From contributor F:
How about considering a mortised brass finger pull of a number of standard finishes? MDF is hard to beat as a substrate for veneer.

From contributor K:
This sounds a lot easier than using epoxies to laminate the pieces. I would like to create a "lens", as contributor F refers to it, and am wondering why his glue of choice here is contact cement, but would otherwise not be his first choice. My guess is that the product from Jacaranda stabilizes the veneer enough so that the contact adhesive will not be affected.

I have read enough about not using contact adhesive with veneers (and am convinced, even though I do not fully understand the reasons why this does not work well), but why then would you suggest using it in this application? My guess would be that it is something to do with the glue properties and relative stability of the materials. The note suggests not using contact adhesive with plastic or veneer at all. Am wondering if contributor F has tried this out.

From contributor B:
I went with 3M water-based contact cement. The trick is to sand the acrylic with orbital 120 to scuff it up a bit. Also, when using water-based on wood veneer, do a prime coat first, let it sit overnight, and then recoat and adhere. This first coat allows the wood to expand due to the moisture and then retract as it dries out. The second coat does not absorb into the wood. Without this step, I have found I get cracking in the veneer when it tries to retract, but is stuck to the acrylic. I guess I did this about a year ago. The piece is holding up fine. I'm always nervous about contact cement, but it seemed right here.