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Anyone use glue film ?

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recipio

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Just wondering if anybody uses glue film for veneering. ? In a fit of enthusiasm a few years ago I bought 10 metres of the stuff from a reputable marquetry supply house. It refused to melt under a medium hot iron and cranking up the heat simply shrunk the veneer. All those carefully prepared veneer joins simply opened up leaving a gap.Even worse , the veneer I had managed to adhere to a substrate ( I mainly make jewellery boxes ) began to lift.
At the time I put it down to a bad batch but I hate to see the stuff go to waste. Has anybody used glue film with success ??
 

TheTiddles

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Yep, got a roll been hanging around for 15-years, because I had exactly the same problems as you
Aidan
 

Alpha-Dave

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I have used it for laminating flexible solar cells. This tends to be fed in to a roll-nip. Doing by hand would be a nightmare.
 

custard

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I don't use glue film regularly, but I have used it successfully and it's certainly got a role to play. It's good for anyone new to veneering who just wants to dip a casual toe in the water and is using very thin, commercial veneer. It's also useful for more experienced workers who need to veneer around a bend and don't want to make a caul or former.

There's are a few of things that spell the difference between success and failure with glue film. Firstly it must be carefully stored, if the glue side has become even slightly dusty, either in your workshop or in the distribution pipeline, then it simply won't work. Next you need the right temperature, right pressure, and the right dwell time with your domestic iron. I use the "wool" setting, moderate pressure (similar to what you might use ironing a pair of jeans for example), and a slow and stately procession across the workpiece! After a while you get to feel the adhesive layer melting and grabbing the substrate. After gluing say 200-300mm of workpiece you need to quickly follow up with a piece of dense hardwood or even smooth metal, and press down or burnish hard. The objective is twofold, apply bonding pressure and get the heat out of the workpiece. After that you progress with the next section. You can re-melt the glue film, but I find it's best not to do that too often, say three or four times max.
 

Oddbod70

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I now have a mental image of custard proceeding to iron a sheet of 8x4 in a slow and stately manner while Roobarb does his level best to disrupt things.

(I'm sorry, I know that's not what you meant at all, but the picture just popped into my head!)

I get the point about veneering curves. Still not sure I'd mange to get it right tho.
 

recipio

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Thanks all.
Keeping it dust free didn't occur to me so I'll give the roll a blast of compressed air and try again. This was the second roll I bought and strangely I had no trouble the first time I tried it. Its hard to get around damaging the veneer with heat however - I'll try some brown paper between the iron and the veneer as well as the plastic backing. Cheers.
 

custard

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I get the point about veneering curves. Still not sure I'd mange to get it right tho.

I don't know where in Hampshire you're based, I'm in the New Forest near the Solent, if you're ever passing drop by the workshop and I'll give you a quick glue film demo!

Incidentally, it's easy enough to make your own glue film/pre-glued veneer. Simply take a piece a veneer, liberally paint the glue side with PVA and let it dry overnight, then next day iron it onto the substrate. That's another quick and dirty method for dealing with a curved workpiece.
 

Cabinetman

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That last bit about PVA, Custard is priceless information, I wouldn’t have imagined that would work thank you. Ian
 

ivan

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Bob Wearing mentions using white PVA in one of his books. (Must be white glue) I seem to recall he recommends diluting, maybe 5:1 ? for at least the 1st coat - something to do with avoiding pimples of glue that might telegraph through, or getting an even coat. Was promoted in the 1960's by a PVA manufacturer, he said. You glue both surfaces, and iron together when dry. Sorry, I can't remember which of his books describes the method.
 

ivan

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It's "The resourceful Woodworker" by Robert Wearing, Amazon have 2nd hand copy. He also covers glue film. I realise now the dilution is 1 glue to 5 water to size the surfaces. Veneer will have to be all taped up, probably edges too, proper gummed paper tape. You denib the size coat then paint on the 5:1. I recall Bob liked a quick cool to stop the veneer lifting and liked an old cast iron put-it-on-the-stove-to-heat-it antiqe pre electric age smoothing iron, to nail it down.
 

Astrobits

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Put " PVA as hot melt veneer adhesive" into a google search and you get some videos on how to do that.
As for glue film, I have not had any problems using it. One advantage that I can see is that it can be applied to one side of the wood only without significant warping problems compared to the wet glues that need a balancing wet veneer on the second side. I've tried this on a pre-made box, where it was not possible to apply a balancing veneer, quite successfully.
Nigel
 

custard

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One advantage that I can see is that it can be applied to one side of the wood only without significant warping problems compared to the wet glues that need a balancing wet veneer on the second side.
Applying veneer to one side isn’t a good idea, this applies with glue film just as much as any other bonding method.

To illustrate the problem think about a really extreme example. Say you have a 3mm thick saw cut veneer of Oak that you’ve bonded to just one side of a 3mm MDF veneer substrate. Obviously you’d expect the seasonal changes in the Oak to overwhelm the MDF and for warping to occur. But exactly the same thing applies, just on a smaller scale with 0.7mm commercial veneer bonded to an 18mm plywood substrate.

The only time you might veneer on a single face is if you’re using a solid wood veneer. So a common example is if you’re for example applying a figured Walnut veneer to a plain Walnut substrate for a drawer front.
 
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