Maple Veneer Application: DIY with an Iron and Carpenter’s Glue

Maple Veneer Application: DIY with an Iron and Carpenter’s Glue

So you’re taking up a project using maple veneer and a suitable substrate, instead of using solid wood. Good news – veneer is easier to work with, more affordable, and quick and easy to apply.

In fact, you can do it yourself with wood glue and an iron, if your maple veneer didn’t come with an adhesive backer. This process is fast, easy, efficient, and doesn’t require any special or technical skills.

Here’s what you need to know.

About Polyvinyl Acetate (AKA Carpenter’s Glue or Wood Glue)
Carpenter’s glue, also known as wood glue, is typically made from PVA, or polyvinyl acetate. This is a strong, durable polymer (typically opaque white or yellow) that forms a hard bond as it dries, though it remains slightly flexible. It is perfect for woodworking joinery, and since it can be reactivated and cured with heat, it can be used for applying veneer with an iron.

About Maple Veneer Sheets (and Backer Options)
First things first, maple veneer is real wood. It is made of thinly sliced sheets of maple. It is more affordable than solid wood and one tree can produce much more veneer than solid hardwood furniture, making it more environmentally friendly as well.

Wood veneer is finished with a backer. Sellers like Oakwood Veneer produce maple veneer with 10 and 22.2 mil backers, as well as phenolic and wood-on-wood (W.O.W.) backers, in addition to a version with 3M pressure-sensitive adhesive that is available for custom order.

If you order maple veneer without an adhesive backer, the iron-and-carpenter’s glue method, detailed here, is a suitable method for application.

How to Apply Maple Veneer with Wood Glue and an Iron
If following this method, we recommend using a wood glue with an extended open time.

Use a roller or a brush to apply the wood glue to both the substrate and the backer of the wood veneer. Apply an even coat. If the substrate absorbs a lot of the glue, apply a second, even coat. Take care not to get any glue on the surface of the veneer.

Once applied, allow the glue to dry slightly, forming a slight “skin.”

Once the glue has “skinned up,” position the veneer over the substrate where you want to apply it.

Cover the face of the iron with a piece of a paper bag or an old bed sheet to prevent it from damaging the surface of the veneer.

Set the iron on high, then begin by applying even, firm pressure at the center of the veneer sheet and working outwards; this will help to prevent any bubbles from forming.

Apply moderate, but firm downward pressure as you move outward from the center, then go back and make sure you covered every area of the veneer to ensure it is bonded and to prevent it from popping up.

If you find any areas that aren’t properly bonded, go back over them with the iron following the process mentioned above.

Let the veneer cool for at least two hours before trimming, and for 24 hours before staining or finishing.

Questions About Maple Veneer and Iron-and-Wood Glue Application?
If you’re interested in maple veneer for your next project and have questions about how to apply it using wood glue and an iron, visit the previous links or get in touch with Oakwood Veneer directly at 800-426-6018.


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