JoeWoodworker Veneer
The Official Website of this Non-Professional Woodworker ™

Part 1

Veneering Basics
14 Good Reasons
Vacuum Press Uses
Vacuum Press Options
Questions & Answers
Part 2
DIY Vacuum Press Plans

Vacuum Press Chart
Project: EVS™
Project: EVS-2™
Project: V4™
Project: CRS™
Excel 1™
Excel 3™
Excel 5™
Part 3
Vacuum Bagging

Vacuum Bag Basics
Polyurethane vs. Vinyl
DIY Vacuum Bags
Connect the Bag
Bag Closures
Bag Platens
Breather Mesh 
DIY Frame Press
Part 4
Veneering Information

About Veneer
Veneering Glossary
Veneering Myths
Balancing a Panel
Veneer Glues
Veneering Tips
Substrate Materials
Flattening Veneers
A Sharp Veneer Saw
Jointing Veneers
Taping Veneers
Dealing with Defects
Curing Glued Panels
Veneering w/o Vacuum
Hammer Veneering
Iron-On Veneering
Veneer Storage
Amazing Bookmatches
Edgebanding Guide
Paper-Backed Veneer

Part 5
Miscellaneous Info

Vacuum Press FAQ
Veneering FAQ 
Veneer Glue FAQ
Vacuum Forming
Vacuum Clamping Pedal
Vacuum Clamping Jigs
Vacuum Clamp Matrix
DIY Vacuum Manifold
Vacuum Press Gallery 1
Vacuum Press Gallery 2


Vacuum Veneering - Tips, Tricks, and More!

Veneer Seams: Making Large Panels from Small Veneers

Veneer Jointing Supplies
Some of the Items You'll Need When Taping Veneer Edges Together

Seam Taping
Veneer tape is required to keep the veneer edges tight while inside the press. The beauty of veneer tape is that as it dries, it shrinks. This shrinking action helps to hold the seam together while in the press. There are a variety of veneer tapes available. Tapes come in various weights and widths. It also comes in a solid and a perforated variety. The solid tape is suitable for thick and unruly veneers that require a bit more strength to maintain a tight joint. The easiest veneer tapes to use are those which are perforated with holes. Three hole tape allows the user to see the seam under the tape which allows for adjusting/tightening of the seam before the tape dries. Additionally, this type of tape is thinner and will not create a thick buildup if multiple pieces of tape are used for making complex joints. And three hole tape can be used on the glue side (as opposed to the face side) of the veneer if necessary.

Ok... Let's Tape!
Before you begin taping the seam, make sure the edges are clean and true. If they do not butt together perfectly, you'll need to trim them with a veneer saw.

Most veneers are smooth on both sides so technically speaking, there is no back side. The "back" of the veneer is which ever side you choose to be glued to the substrate. However, in the case of some burls, there can be tear-out present more on one side than the other. In that case, use the sides with the most tear out as the "back".

Mark the "back" side of the veneer as shown in figure 1. There are two markings on each sheet. The first is the blue tape indicating that this is the back of the veneer. The second marking is light chalk indicating which two edges are to be taped together.

The blue tape, commonly called painter's tape, is available at your local hardware store in the paint aisle. It's expensive but won't use much so a roll will last a long time. You can find a stretchable version, which is even better than regular painter's tape, at

Carefully pull the two veneers together tightly and place small pieces of blue tape across the seam as shown in figure 2. Remember, the blue tape goes on the back of the veneer. If the veneer is being stubborn and does not lay flat across the whole length of the seam, place a strip of blue tape longitudinally on seam as shown in figure 3.

Next, tear off a few dozen small "cross strips" of veneer tape. These will be placed perpendicular to the veneer joint about 3-4" apart on the face side of the veneer. To activate veneer tape, simply slide a piece of it along a very wet sponge or wad of paper towels (figure 4). Remember... the adhesive is on the shiny side of the tape. Be careful that you don't saturate the tape with water. Excess water on the veneer tape will cause the adhesive in the tape to bleed into the wood fibers and that can create issues with the project's stain and top coat.

Roll the veneer tape smooth with a seam roller (figure 5).

Then place a piece of veneer tape along the entire length of the joint. Lay a piece of dry paper towel on the seam line and firmly smooth out this last piece of veneer tape with the seaming tool (figure 6). The paper towel will absorb any excess water in the veneer tape. By doing this, you'll prevent the veneer from absorbing the water which might cause it to get swollen and ripple up. And again, it would cause the veneer to stain unevenly.

Let the assembled veneers sit for 5 minutes so the veneer tape can "set up". Then carefully flip the veneers over and remove the blue tape.

Since veneer tape shrinks as it dries, it will pull the joint tight when all of the water has evaporated. I like to place a scrap board along the length of the seam and place a weight on top of that. This prevents the veneer edges from stacking on top of each other as the tape pulls the seam together. I recommend leaving the seam under the weight for a half-hour before you put it in the press.

Before the veneer is placed in the press, check the seam for any areas that do not fit together correctly. If the veneer has rippled up a bit, the seam may look bad. You can check to see if the veneers have truly separate by pressing down the veneer where it is rippled. Usually, you can press the veneer flat with your fingers and see the seam go back together. If it does, you are in luck because the platens in the veneer press will force the veneer flat and once again, the seam will come together.



Mark The Back Side
Figure 1
Mark the back side of the veneers

Blue Tape Seams
Figure 2
Blue tape across the seam

More Blue Tape
Figure 3
Blue tape along the seam

Preparing Veneer Tape
Figure 4
Preparing the veneer tape

Roll Veneer Tape
Figure 5
Rolling the veneer tape onto the face side of the veneer

Final Rolling of Veneer Tape
Figure 6
Final rolling

3 Hole Veneer Tape
Figure 7
A perfect seam

Ready for the Vacuum Press
Figure 8
Ready for the vacuum press

Removing the Tape
After the veneered panel has been adhered to a substrate in the vacuum press, you will need to remove the veneer tape. It is a good idea to do this as soon as the panel comes out of the vacuum press because veneer has a tendency to change color when exposed to UV sources such as sunlight and fluorescent light bulbs. The tape blocks the light and this can create a color difference once removed; even if it has only been exposed to UV light for a day.

There are two options for veneer tape removal. Since the tape is thin, it can be sanded or lightly scraped off. Wait until the panel is completely dry to avoid the risk of smearing the glue from the veneer tape onto and into the veneer.

A better method is to lightly re-moisten the tape with a sponge, let it soak in for about 45 seconds, and then peel it off of the panel. If any of the adhesive from the veneer tape remains the veneer, let it dry first and carefully sand it off.

Veneering Tips and Tricks

  • You can prevent the veneer tape from leaving residue on the finished panel by dabbing the tape with a wet paper towel. Give it a minute and the adhesive on the tape will loosen up and the tape can be peeled off. If it doesn't peel off easily, allow more time with the wet paper towel.
  • After the tape is removed, you can wipe down the area with denatured alcohol to remove any residual tape adhesive. Be sure to let the panel thoroughly dry before sanding it. Otherwise any remaining adhesive will booger up the surrounding veneer when you sand the panel.
  • If you're comfortable with a scraper, you can use it to remove veneer tape as well.
  • Some woods have a tendency to develop dark spots from excess moisture around the veneer taped areas. This can be prevented in most cases by using distilled water to moisten the veneer tape for application.
  • Though it is uncommon, lightened areas can occur when veneer tape is removed. This is caused by the veneer tape which blocks UV light (from the sun or even fluorescent lighting) which normally causes the veneer to darken. This can be prevented by covering the veneered panel with a blanket or piece of cardboard until the veneer tape is removed.
  • When you are finished with the veneer tape, you can prevent it from unrolling from the spool by lightly dampening the loose end and sticking it back onto the roll.

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