Laminating is a process of gluing things together. When wood is laminated, the process typically refers to plastics or other materials laminated to plywood, solid wood or composites. Wood-laminate terminology often refers to flooring but the process of laminating also includes veneer laminating and laminating solid wood together to make furniture.
Laminate hardwood panels by first cutting straight, square edges on random pieces of lumber of the same length with a table saw or jointer. Across two sawhorses parallel to each other, stand the pieces upright on one edge and run a bead of glue down the edges that are facing up. When all of the pieces have glue, lay them flat so that the edge of each piece is butted up against the piece beside it. Stretch bar clamps across all of the pieces and tighten them until glue oozes out all of the cracks. After one hour you can remove the clamps. From here, the panel can be cut to size for any woodworking project.
For thickness laminating, lay one piece of lumber across two sawhorses. Using a glue bottle, randomly squirt glue on the face of the board. Use a small, flat stick or a brush to spread the glue over the surface of the board. Place another board on top of the glued board. Spread glue over it and place another board on top of the second board. Continue stacking boards, but don’t stack them any higher than about 4 inches. Any wood of thickness higher than that can’t be cut through with a saw. When the boards are stacked, place bar clamps vertically around the perimeter of the stack about 6 inches apart. After one hour remove the clamps. Use a table saw or jointer to trim the edges and rip the laminated stack to size on a table saw.
Plywood thickness is usually limited to 3/4 inch. For thicker plywood, you can laminate pieces together. Just place one piece of plywood across two sawhorses. Spread a layer of glue evenly over the surface and then place another piece of plywood on top. Typical plywood lamination usually doesn’t go more than two layers, but you can stack up to four layers if you need it that thick. Plywood doesn’t need much pressure to bond together, so you can use spring clamps or small hand clamps around the perimeter of the plywood. If your plywood pieces are bigger than 24 by 24 inches, you can clamp a 2-by-4 brace across the top and bottom of the stack to add pressure in the center of the stack.
Edge laminating is another technique widely used by woodworkers and cabinetmakers. When plywood is cut, it leaves a raw edge. To hide the raw edge, thin pieces of veneer are laminated to the edge with glue and masking tape. Run a bead of glue down the edge of freshly cut plywood. Place a strip of 1/16-inch solid wood veneer on the glued edge. Stretch masking tape perpendicularly across the veneer every 2 inches to hold the veneer in place until the glue dries. The veneer used for this type of laminating is known as wood tape and can be purchased at any home improvement store.
5 Types of Glue Used In Wood Lamination
What to Know & How to Use Them
When making a woodworking project, you need good joinery and good glue to hold your project together. But when it comes to types of wood glue, there are many options out there.
Polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue is the most common type of glue out there. It’s so common that if you have a bottle of glue in your house, it’s likely to be PVA glue. White glue, yellow glue, and bottles of “wood glue” are all likely to be PVA glue. Some special formulations of PVA glue such as Tite bond III are waterproof. The advantage of PVA glue is that it is readily available at your local store. But after you glue up your project, bits of dried PVA glue can interfere with your finish if you’re not careful to get rid of all of it.
Hide glue has been around for centuries, and yes, it comes from animal hides. Hot hide glue is made by heating granules of hide glue in a pot with water. As it heats, the glue liquefies, and as it cools, it becomes solid. Hot hide glue can be applied by dipping a brush in the glue pot and brushing it onto the work piece.
There is another version of hide glue called liquid hide glue that comes in a bottle. You can use it just like PVA glue, and it has the advantage of not interfering with finishes if you don’t get the very last bit of dried hide glue off the wood. As a matter of fact, liquid hide glue is my favorite to use, unless I need a project to be waterproof.
Epoxy comes in two parts: a resin and a hardener. Both are liquid, but when mixed together a chemical reaction occurs that causes the epoxy to harden. Epoxy has the advantage of being waterproof and does a good job filling gaps in wood. Most other glues will not hold well if there is a gap between the pieces of wood that you are gluing together. Some epoxy formulas take a while to cure, others will cure in as little as five minutes. In general, the longer it takes for the epoxy to cure, the stronger the bond will be, so patience will be rewarded. This kind of glue is one the most used kind of glue that is used in our country today.
CA glue, or super glue, is well known as glue to use to join hard pieces together. It can also be used in woodworking. The advantage of CA glue is that it cures in a very short period of time, and if you’re really in a hurry, you can apply an accelerate (seen in the back of the bottle of CA glue in the photo) to make the CA glue set even faster. But the glue joint that is made is very hard, and can fracture under impact.
CA glue can be used as a temporary way of joining two pieces of wood together as a temporary step in making a project. For example, if you are joining two curved pieces of wood together, a glue block can be temporarily attached to the pieces to give your clamps a place to hold onto. CA glue is perfect for this purpose, as it can be used to attach the glue blocks, and once the pieces are glued together, a tap with a hammer or mallet will knock the glue blocks right off.
Polyurethane glue is activated by moisture, and swells as it is activated and dries. It dries very hard and quickly, and is waterproof, but dealing with dried polyurethane glue can be problematic for finishes.
In terms of choosing glue for your project, all of the above options will provide a bond that is strong enough for most purposes, especially for furniture projects. The things to consider when making a choice between glues is whether you need the glue to be waterproof, how long you have to work with the glue before it starts to set up, and whether you need to fill a gap.
As mentioned above, use of liquid hide glue for just about all woodworking projects is a common practice nowadays. It’s a bit harder to find the PVA glue, but it can be ordered over the internet fairly easily, and the fact that you don’t have to worry about small bits of dried hide glue interfering with finishes gives liquid hide glue an advantage that no other glue can touch. If you’re out of liquid hide glue, and need glue quickly, I’ll get a bottle of PVA glue at the local home centre. If you need a waterproof glue joint, I’ll use either epoxy or waterproof PVA glue.