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Avoiding Bubbles and Bubbling in Contact Cement Veneer Installations

Installing flexible paperbacked veneer is not extremely hard - but some basic points must be followed in order to achieve an excellent finished product. Without performing each step properly, bubbles, cracking, and other problems can occur. These points are as follows:

Avoiding Bubbles in Contact Cement Wood Veneer

1. The gold standard for installing veneer is using white or yellow PVA glue with a hot, cold, or vacuum press. This method in general is superior to using contact cement without a press, and it only requires the thinner 10-mil paperback.

2. Contact cement is also an acceptable solution for installing wood veneer. However, in this case, it is very important to choose a thicker and more stable backer for the veneer (NOT 10 mil) - 22 mil Bubble-Free Veneer will work, as well as phenolic and wood-on-wood backing are all acceptable.

3. Make sure to acclimate your veneer and board to the environment for 1-2 days before installation. This means to let it sit so that it can conform to the existing humidity and temperature before, and not after, being glued together.

4. Make sure place contact cement on BOTH the veneer backing AND the substrate. 100% coverage is critical. When using plywood, put TWO coats of contact cement on it, because the first coat acts as a sealer and the second acts as the glue.

5. Do NOT use a J-Roller for pressure. Instead, use a carpet tucker (wood scraper) tool or a wood block. Because of the smaller surface area (a thin edge), these tools will allow you to place much more pressure on the wood. Be sure to start from the center and slide pressure evenly towards the edges.

6. Do NOT put too much lacquer or conversion varnish on the veneer. If it is more than 4 or 5 dry mills thick, you can run into problems with cracking.