Vacuum Bag Versus Frame Press

A frame press may be more convenient for one man to operate when veneering flat panels. September 15, 2006

Question
For someone who applies veneer from time to time, would you recommend a bag or a frame press? I have the space and the budget, and Im thinking about a 4 x 8 frame press. Can I accomplish the same with a bag?

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor A:
I am presently using a 4 x 8 bag for pressing but it can be a struggle to slide the work in and out of it. Also if something moves it is almost impossible to adjust things unless you pull the work out again. I am fed up with my bag and plan on getting a frame press for easy access and faster pressings.



From contributor B:
For flat work the frame press is the way to go. For things that are taller than 6 a bag is much more flexible. Basically a frame press is a bag that is tented over a frame that seals to a table. A frame press is much more convenient than a bag, especially in a one-man operation. You can build your own, although retrofitting an existing bag may give questionable results. You may need the bag for future projects. The shop-made ones I have seen are use a torsion box with a laminate top for the table and frame made of steel or aluminum welded together and membrane, usually 20+ mil vinyl sealed together with closed cell polyurethane tape.


From John Van Brussel, technical advisor, Veneer Forum:
The bag is the most versatile but if you are doing mainly flat work the flip top would be the way to go. You can also get a deeper than 6" pleat in the membrane if you are doing some radius work. You can also start with a bag system and then add a flip top using the same pump by adding an optional 2 or 3 port manifold. Also, a bag can be rolled up for storage if space is an issue in your shop.


From the original questioner:
Thanks for the response guys. I ordered a 4 x 8 frame press and a 4x10 bag with 10 cfm pump to handle both situations.