Herringbone veneered cabinet top - glue suggestions

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Setch

Established Member
Joined
18 Jan 2009
Messages
678
Reaction score
162
Location
London UK
I am planning to make a run of built in cabinets 3 metres long. I am hoping to make the cabinet top from teak/iroko finger parquet which used to be the flooring in my hall.

The plan is an 18mm MR MDF ground, veneered with the parquet ripped to circa 3mm, in a herringbone pattern. I'm after advice on a suitable adhesive, and thoughts on whether I need to counter veneer the MDF , and if so whether that needs to be more herringbone, or a cheap constructional veneer. I'll probably lip the top with solid timber.

Any thoughts, or even better experience of a similar project?
 
If you are going glue the sawn faces I would consider a non-water based (PVA) and go for PU. What thickness of MDF? A thick, 28mm say. may not need a balancing veneer. I'm not sure that a balancing veneer will be satisfactory as it will have totally different characteristics to the small parquet tiles. Experimentation is called for here.
Lip the top? Do you mean the edge?
The nearest I've come to your project is this table with a 2mm cladding on 25mm MDF with an ordinary veneer on the underside
Brian
 
Last edited:
If you are going glue the sawn faces I would consider a non-water based (PVA) and go for PU. What thickness of MDF? A thick, 28mm say. may not need a balancing veneer. I'm not sure that a balancing veneer will be satisfactory as it will have totally different characteristics to the small parquet tiles. Experimentation is called for here.
Lip the top? Do you mean the edge?
The nearest I've come to tour project is this table with a 2mm cladding on 25mm MDF with an ordinary veneer on the underside
Brian
Thanks for the reply - your table was beautifully done, fantastic result.

I may have missed it, but I couldn't find the thickness of MDF you used, or the adhesive in your thread?

I have considered poly glue, but I'm wary of its tendency to foam and separate unclamped joints. The fingers of my parquet are circa 1" x 4", so that's a lot of bits to clamp individually! I may experiment with spreading it with a toothed spreader and then weighing down the glueup.
 
Thanks for the reply - your table was beautifully done, fantastic result.

I may have missed it, but I couldn't find the thickness of MDF you used, or the adhesive in your thread?

I have considered poly glue, but I'm wary of its tendency to foam and separate unclamped joints. The fingers of my parquet are circa 1" x 4", so that's a lot of bits to clamp individually! I may experiment with spreading it with a toothed spreader and then weighing down the glueup.
I'm pretty sure it was 28mm. I'll check on Friday when I'll be eating my supper off it. More than likely I used cascamite needing a decent open time for the vac press.
Brian
 
Any PVA will do, if it’s chunky you could edge join the veneers first and glue it down in one hit if the pieces can fit in a bag.
I’d use a balance veneer for sure.
 
+1. PVA is fine for this purpose plus yes, I'd balance veneer it where any table top or long cabinet is concerned plus edge it in a thin strip of solid timber. Balance veneering may not be needed where restraint is provided on the underside at fairly regular intervals in the form of vertical internal dividing panels. I've done similar before and built the whole thing in MDF then post-veneered the external surfaces.
 
Thanks for all the replies, PVA looks like it's leading the running at the moment, but least as I have plenty already.

Heres a look at what I'm planning - these blocks are currently 3-4mm thick, sawn from 9mm thick blocks.
 

Attachments

  • 20221118_145146.jpg
    20221118_145146.jpg
    4.2 MB · Views: 0
As you are using MRMDF (no great risk of the ground moving as the weather changes), just make sure your balancing veneer is the same thickness as the herringbone and that you lay it in strips as wide as the apex to apex width of the pattern. Also lay the balance strips alternating face up and face down. This will help counteract the forces on the front of the panel. For as large a piece as this I would only use either Aerolite (not Cascamite - after their recent problems) - a water based PVA would have to much risk of creep - or traditional hide glue and would also hammer & iron the herringbone on rather than vacpress unless you can ensure the pieces definitely will not move during the pressing process and give noticeably uneven joints
 
3 to 4mm may not work with in iron as it's quite a thickness of timber to transmit much heat to the glue joint. You can avoid a lot of creep issues using PVA by coating both the substrate and the individual strips with a thin coat. I've done a reasonable amount of veneer pressing and use PVA and never had any creep issues. It is sensible though if using a vacuum press to place greaseproof paper over the workpiece top once the herringbone sections are in place then carefully place a nice flat panel of MDF cut to the same exact size as the table top over the paper then tape the whole lot together before placing in the vacuum bag. It should bond well. I did a large panel the other day like this but placed the veneer on the baffle section first, taping the edges before placing over an MDF sheet in the bottom of the bag:
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0389.jpg
    IMG_0389.jpg
    208.2 KB · Views: 0
  • IMG_0401.jpg
    IMG_0401.jpg
    128.7 KB · Views: 0
@Reffc traditionally, veneers up to 1/8" were ironed on using hide glue after that or on curved work they were pressed using sandbags kept in an oven or with heated cauls. It works, just takes longer and you need a good iron
 
I remember doing my first veneering 40 years ago using fish glue for some delicate rosewood veneer that a shotgun case commission was to have for the main panels, and remember well sitting there with a pot of glue heating up, a veneer hammer and iron and being taught the traditional way of veneering. Takes me back! Must admit these days I've switched over to PVA almost exclusively as the only real benefit I see for using hide or fish glues is either for wanting to do things the old way as part of a personal work piece or where on some furniture commissions it permits repair or replacement of veneers into the future. I guess it's what you get used to and prefer using but D3 PVA is almost exclusively what I use these days.
 
Back
Top