Veneering with Plywood
It is feasible to veneer plywood, but understanding the differences between the two will help you turn a decent job into a fantastic one. Plywood is a form of manufactured wood panel made by glueing together veneers. The layers are bonded with the plies’ wood grain at right angles to one other. Veneers are thin slices of wood that may be peeled apart and are typically less than 18 inches thick.
When veneers are cemented together, a composite material is formed. Cross-graining, or having the wood grain at right angles, helps to prevent splitting. It also minimises the likelihood of the wood expanding and contracting. Plywood is often constructed of three or more layers of veneer.
The Benefits of Plywood Veneering
Plywood is lighter and more sag resistant than other materials. It also has a greater grip on fasteners and doesn’t require much surface preparation before applying the glue. The one issue is that poor quality plywood can now be available in most areas, causing the face veneer to peel off extremely readily.
Before you begin veneering, inspect your plywood to ensure that the face is not loose. If the veneer panel comes off easily, applying a high-quality veneer over it is a waste of effort and money.
Plywood Veneering Techniques
Surface preparation is minor, but we recommend the following:
Using a tack cloth, clean the surface.
If you’re using contact cement, follow any directions that come with it.
We recommend the following steps for applying veneer to plywood:
Make use of a hoover, a cold or hot press and white or yellow adhesive. To avoid problems with the products, the white glue should have a low filler content. If you don’t have access to a press, use a contact cement with a high solids content. Always follow the instructions provided by the adhesive manufacturer.
Water-based coatings should not be used to finish veneer.
When preparing the veneer, always cover it with plastic.
Wood veneers require the glue for bonding strength, therefore apply a second coat.
Allow enough time between adhesive coatings for the glue to dry completely before applying the veneer. If you don’t, you risk developing a weak relationship, which can lead to bubbles. When applying contact cement, use a pinch roller to press the veneer into the substrate. If you don’t have a pinch roller, a flexible wood scraper tool will suffice. Allow 24 hours for the adhesive to dry before applying any finish. Light coats of the finish should be applied.
Edge Veneering on Plywood
With a roll of wood veneer edge banding and a few simple tools, you can cover raw plywood edges. This contributes to the plywood being practically indistinguishable from actual wood. Iron-on edge banding is usually made of wood veneer with adhesive on the back. You can heat the adhesive with a home iron, let it cool, and then trim the edges.