5 Tips for Installing Veneer Sheets

Wood veneer sheets can be applied to a table and turn it into a woodworker’s dream. You can use veneer to create a table that would cost thousands of dollars for a fraction of the cost. Before you begin any veneer project, you need to know a little bit about the application process. Professional woodworkers create wood veneer masterpieces with a few tricks of the trade. Follow the tips below and you can install veneer sheets just like the pros.

Apply Double the Adhesive

You will be using contact cement to bond the veneer to the substrate. If you were using a rigid overlay, you could apply one coat of cement to the back of the overlay and attach it; it will hold perfectly. Because the veneer is not rigid, but flexible, you are going to need to increase the amount of adhesive used. You should add a heavy coat on the back of the veneer and on the top of the substrate. This extra adhesive will create a better bond.

Do Not Use a J-Roller

Once you apply the adhesive to table, you are going to have to apply pressure to the veneer to create a bond. The best tool to use is a wood scraper. This job is very labor intensive and pretty time consuming.  Sometimes, do-it-yourselfer try to use a tool called a J-Roller to bond the veneer. This does not work and damages the veneer sheets. In fact, most veneer manufacturers will void the warranty if you use a J-Roller on their product.

Let the Piece Sit for a While

Before you finish the piece, you will need to let it sit for at least 6 hours, overnight is better, to release gases. The contact cement has to go through a chemical reaction and this reaction releases gases. Therefore, you should not cover the table with any type of sealant until it has had time to release the gasses. 

Acclimate the Veneer and Substrate

You should leave the veneer and the substrate in the same environment for 24 to 48 hours before you begin the bonding process. Making sure that the two materials have been exposed to the same climate and air conditions is important in making sure that they bond properly to one another. If you have started the process and haven’t let the two components acclimate, you should hold off on the bonding for a day or two.

Apply Sealer in Thin Coats

Once the veneer has been able to sit for a while, you can apply a sealer. However, you shouldn’t apply the sealer in large amounts and you should try to keep the veneer as dry as possible. If the veneer gets too moist, it can pull away from the cement. Therefore, you should use a spray sealer and apply it in thin coat, and from a generous distance.