Bubbles in My Veneer..HELP


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I completed this grandfather clock and was preparing to insert the clock mechanism when I noticed two air bubbles in the veneer near the bottom. I’ve had bubbles occur before and I was meticulous about preventing them during the veneering process, but they still occurred. I didn’t really notice them until after I applied the lacquer finish. I know that the accepted procedure is to cut a slight opening in the veneer, apply glue using a syringe and then clamp. I would like to avoid this if there is a better way. Any suggestions…???


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On 11/19/2022 at 10:31 AM, BillyJack said:

What did you use to apply the veneer?

I used Unibond because it doesn’t bleed through on the Babinga burl like yellow glue does. I have a vacuum system but I elected to use clamps and 0.75” thick plywood thinking that I could create more compression force.

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Never underestimate a vacuum. A 1 square foot piece would recieve 14.7 psi * 144 square inches. That's more than a ton of force, really hard to achieve evenly with woodworking clamps.

Have to agree with @BillyJack, cut & inject glue is the only repair I can imagine. The real trick will be clamping it flat, unless you can still disassemble that panel from the carcass.

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Does Unibond reactivate with heat? I've never used it. If you inject fresh glue, I imagine it would need to dry from its liquid form before heat would help anything. You reallyneed a way to hold tge bubbles flat as the new glue dries. 

Are the bubbles flexible? If not, there may be solidified glue fillibg them.

Would it be possible for a 'long reach' set of clamp jaws to reach up from the bottom to compress the bubbles, or is there a floor in that box?

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Killenwood on YouTube does a lot of veneering, producing period furniture reproductions. He faithfully uses hot hide glue. An old technique that no one seems to like today. 

That’s a great looking clock. All the plans I’ve seen so far for tall case clocks have to be modified because they are unappealing. I think the federal period produced the most attractive clocks but plans are scarce to non-existing.

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I don't know if it's possible to get a syringe with a sharp needle but thin CA glue and a sharp needle might get you through the veneer. inject glue sparingly and then try and get some sort of clamping force on there. It appears the base is already assembled so i doubt you can remove the panel to get it into a vacuum bag.

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On 11/21/2022 at 10:31 AM, BillyJack said:

Sometimes when you apply finish it can cause bubbling. The finish sometimes can harden the veneer and almost impossible to get it to re stick 


Are the bubbles soft or hard?

That is great to know because I used a copious amount of glue and many clamps during the glue-up. There were no bubbles when I inspected it prior to installation. The bubbles are soft.

The base is completely enclosed, and the panel cannot be removed. I'm currently investigating my options for clamping and I'm not comfortable with how I'd do it. I may just have to live with the bubbles rather than cause an even bigger problem.

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21 hours ago, Hammer5573 said:

I'm currently investigating my options for clamping and I'm not comfortable with how I'd do it.

Use plenty of cauls and I have padded finished work from marks with old bath towels or bed sheets. I have a pile of utility use towels and sheets saved for just this purpose.

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