Veneer on MDF?

Discussion in 'DIY Speakers and Subwoofers' started by cattskinner, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. I am wanting to dress up a pair of the 1 cu ft SEOS boxes, and planning to veneer them with wood-backer
    Anegre. A friend of mine is a pretty good craftsman, and we trade favors. When I told him my plan, he replied no way, it will fall apart. :-\ ???? I don't doubt his experience, but it is done all the time. My question is, could his experience with MDF have to do with the adhesive he tried to use?

    I've read up a bit, and it appears that some adhesives will indeed eventually dissolve the binding agents in the MDF. Others may not ... DAP Alex Plus is one I found that got the nod from an engineer, but he was referring to bonding layers of wood ... and I've used 3M for veneer at a job I worked, though I never saw the products again.

    HELP! I already have the boxes and drivers (B&C 10CL51's and Denovo DNA-360's w/SEOS12's). I would like a nice looking cabinet that will last. BTW, our climate here is pretty dry, so I'm not terribly concerned about that.

    Attached Files:

  2. Hello--One of the important things is to get the adhesive adequately bonded. A thing called a veneer scraper applies even pressure to the newly glued surfaces and if used right should leave you with no bubbles etc. I would suggest a glue specifically formulated for veneer as they are usually compatible with MDF. Different veneer glues are sold by specialty veneer supply companies over the internet or I suppose you could make a note of them and a local store with woodworker supplies might carry these glues. Also, the internet veneer supply houses seem to know their stuff and will give advice I think.
  3. I know this thread is a little bit old but maybe this will help someone else.

    People who veneer professionally use an adhesive and some sort of cold press or vacuum press to get a high PSI to ensure a good bond between the MDF and veneer. Most hobbyists won't have access to these methods so the next best thing is using contact cement with a j-roller or wood glue and an iron. Both contact cement and wood glue are harmless to the MDF.

    A lot of wood working people will tell you that using contact cement in order to adhere plastic laminate to MDF is acceptable but using it to adhere veneer to MDF may cause problems in the long term because when if you eventually finish the veneer, the finish will soak into the veneer and get to the contact cement and eventually break down the contact cement causing delamination. Maybe this is what your friend was trying to tell you? I've read warnings about the application of a finish breaking down the contact cement more than once. You'll find a lot of guys here using this method though. Once again, it'll work in the short term but it may be a concern in the long term. Maybe if you plan to use a water based finish this won't be a problem but they're relatively new products and they're not yet as good as the traditional finishes. Also, you have one shot placing the veneer because, once there's contact between the two surfaces, it's not moving.

    The other method is to use regular wood glue. You apply a coat of wood glue to the veneer and mdf and allow the glue to dry until it's no longer tacky to the touch. Once dry, you place the veneer on the mdf and use a hot iron on the veneer to heat up the glue. Provides a good bond. Because the glue is dry you can easily adjust the placement of the veneer and line it up nicely. It's only when you apply the heat is when the veneer becomes attached. There's a product called Heat Lock which is designed specifically for this purpose. It's suppose to address some of the long term problems of using regular wood glue for veneering. I've used the heat lock product myself and it works well. There are plenty of people that say regular wood glue is all you need.

    Good luck.

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