What's the best solution for pressing veneered panels in a small studio?
I can't say for sure, but I recently took a bit of an Internet plunge in search of a new solution for my small workspace. And now, lo and behold, I have a new vacuum press. It came in the form of a plan I found online.
A number of parts were needed, some easy to find and others not so easy. I ordered the more "difficult to source" items online. The rest I was able to find locally. Below you can see all the parts I used to put this together.
I had to make a couple extra trips to the store, so I didn't get it assembled on the first day, but by day two it was up and running. The rebuilt pump is reasonably quiet and pulls a vacuum fairly quickly. Oh, I also picked up a vacuum bag from the same online source as all the pump-related parts. It's a nice 2' x 4' size that fits the width of my bench. It should be large enough for most of my work. I'm sure, though, that some day soon I'll need to invest in a larger second bag.
My first glue-up will be later this week. By then I should know if this was a sound investment. It seems to work great, so far, and although there is no warranty on the 'system' per se, based on what I perceive the quality of the parts to be, I expect many years of use from it.
I obviously can't say if this type of system is right for other woodworkers, but anyone interested in checking it out for themselves can find the online source at VeneerSupplies.com. I felt the information on their website was thorough and they shipped my order right away... so far, so good.
Now if all goes as planned, you'll see the new vacuum press in action in my next post. If you use veneers and a veneer press in your work, please share your experience by posting a comment. I'd really enjoy reading what others are doing. Thanks!