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Contact Adhesive Toubleshooting Guide

A vacuum press, hot press or cold press are the preferred methods of veneer installation. The following troubleshooting guide, however, is for those of you applying veneer with contact cement. 

To fix the issue, you need to do the following. Name the problem. Identify possibly causes. Apply solutions.

1. Edge lifting 

A. Cause

• insufficient adhesive
• combining too soon (trapped solvent)
• insufficient veneer or substrate compression.

B. Solution

• Apply more adhesive to veneer and substrate. (Both should be covered.)
• Increase drying time.
• Increase nip pressure.
 
2. Bubbles in the veneer 

A. Cause

• trapped solvent (solvent odor noted)
• edges bonded first
• irregular adhesive coverage
• irregular compression
• ineffective glue

B. Solution

• Increase drying time.
• Apply pressure from center outward.
• Check applicating method and equipment. (Spraying is better than rolling; rolling is better than brushing.)
• Check compression procedures.
• Use glue with more solids.
 
3. Failure with adhesive on both substrates 

A. Cause

• insufficient compression
• insufficient adhesive
• adhesive surface contaminated
• wrong substrate

B. Solution

• Increase pressure.
• Go over surface with iron at about 200-225 degrees.
• Keep work area clean.
• MDF is better than industrial particle board. Particle board is better than plywood.
• Don’t apply veneer over laminate.
 
4. Weak or no contact bond 

A. Cause

• exceeded contact bond life
• trapped solvent
• moisture contamination of adhesive surface

B. Solution

• Check to see if glue is old or frozen.
• Increase drying time.
• Check spray equipment for water in air line and increase drying temperature during high humidity.
 
5. Adhesive release from one substrate

A. Cause

• contamination of substrate surface
• contact not dry

B. Solution

• Clean substrate thoroughly.
• Increase drying time.