Vacuum Bag Versus Frame Press
A frame press may be more convenient for one man to operate when veneering flat panels. September 15, 2006
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 I’m thinking about a 4 x 8 frame press. Can I accomplish the same with a bag?
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.