Tips on Balancing Veneer Panels

You can use scraps from full sheets to balance the back of panels that won't be seen. February 1, 2015

I am wondering about two things: Do I have to balance the unfinished sides of a book case that is 12" wide 48" tall that will have an applied panel on the unfinished side, and if I did balance it can I use offcuts of the same veneer? I am bagging and using urea glue.

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor R:
The answer to the first part is yes. Any time you fabricate a veneer panel you should apply a balancing back, it's the first rule of woodwork - balanced construction. The answer to the second part is also yes. You can use your drops from your paper back veneer.

From Contributor K:
Definitely balance your panels. Using the leftovers from veneer sheets will work. Assuming that those surfaces won't be seen or if so, that the mismatched pattern is part of your project's aesthetic. Both surfaces should be finished the same way too.

From the original questioner:
One more question. Since all of the balanced pieces I'm referring to are against a wall or each other - can I use contact cement instead of urea?

From Contributor K:
Theoretically you could but it begs the question as to why you would use two different adhesives? You have a vacuum bag and will be using it anyway for the faces. The general rule of thumb while balancing panels is to do the same process to both sides otherwise you run the risk of cupping or warping.

From the original questioner:
I was just thinking I could save some time by not having to cycle the bag three times. Sometimes I think faster is better.

From Contributor K:
No problem. We do what we can to help each other out. There might be times where using contact cement with flexible veneer might be your only option but to do that application correctly and try to avoid potential problems is not really a time saver. Veneer application with contact cement is pretty labor intensive because you have to try and compensate for the flexible glue line. If you have a vacuum bag and urea glue then that is the way to go. It will give you a much better glue line and help stabilize your veneers.

From contributor J:
You can press both sides at the same time. You have ample open time with the glue, you just need to cut appropriate sized cauls. This always saves time. Or you can use Titebond cold press glue and cycle through both sides separately faster than one pressing with unibond.