Another tip from “the mind of Maskery” for you, today! 😉
These cheap (<£6) vacuum bags; designed for the compressed storage of clothes and other compactable household items; provide an affordable alternative to producing laminated pieces and veneered panels, for those of us without the funds spare to splash on an AirPress kit, for example. This tip was originally featured in one of Steve’s [dubbed “The Jig” in the current issue] many British Woodworking articles, a few months ago, where he used such a bag as a ‘press’ to veneer some MDF panels.
So far, the only opportunity I’ve had to try this out for myself was on the aforementioned pillar drill table in the previous post. For something approximately 600mm x 400mm and totalling 1in in thickness, it seemed to work very well, when used with Titebond II adhesive (which I selected for its fast-curing properties).
So, after applying your spread of glue and pressing both surfaces together; you pop the item in the bag, secure the bag seal, unscrew the air seal, connect your vacuum and, as soon as all the air has been removed, you can remove your hose and secure the cap. That is it! No need to leave the vacuum running; no need for a thundering compressor in your workshop; simply wait for the glue to cure. 🙂
Using a fast-cure PVA-type adhesive helps when you’re in a small workshop but, whether or not it’s entirely appropriate depends on the scale of the job and assembly on hand. Obviously, these bags are only suitable for flat work. There is perhaps a question of their durability and how long they will last but, with a variety of sizes available and, each available for a reasonably low price, I certainly wouldn’t lose much sleep if I find I have to buy a replacement bag in a few months.
Keeping glue off the inside of the bag is the only thing I struggling with right now… The use of both plastic bags and clingfilm have both been suggested to me although, anything that isn’t transparent will obscure the job inside – you may not be able to check on the alignment of all parts. That’s one of the reasons I used Titebond glue, which gives a strong bond in only half-an-hour; using a damp rag, you can still remove most of (but, not all) the excess before it does any long term damage.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’ve found this tip useful (thanks again, Steve!). 🙂