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Thread: Humber College, Building a Vacuum Press Veneer Bag

  1. Default Humber College, Building a Vacuum Press Veneer Bag


    Yesterday the Halton Furniture Makers Society visited Humber College in Toronto to learn a bit about building and using veneering bags.

    They have a large bench area (44 benches) with a very well equipped machine centre as well.

    We met with Johan and he walked us through the process the school uses with the wood technology students (three semester, one year program). Johan showed us several veneering set ups including a home made vacuum frame as well as several dedicated bag set ups.

    All the applications were home made, the pumps were either bought or built for the shop over the years.

    We also had the chance to actually build a bag with Johan. This was a very good opportunity for many of us as Johan shared with us his process and showed us how simple and cost effective it really is.

    We were a little surprised that he only uses 20 Mil vinyl for his bags and even with the very heavy student use he showed us how they last about 18-20 months. Remember they have students in a trimester system and they are starting a new cycle of classes and students every semester, so there is heavy use all the time form each semester class of students as they start veneering on the second project they are taught in the first semester.

    Johan showed us how over the years of experimentation he has settled on this process, using 20 mil vinyl that he buys locally from a plastic supplier, less than $8 a yard, using glue on the edges that dries once applied and is reactivated by heat and sealed with pressure, how simple.

    The edges to receive glue are roughed with 180 grit paper then the surface is cleaned up with a light acetone wipe. The bag is created by folding the vinyl on itself to length, then a heat gun and roller is used to seal the edge.

    Finally after the edges are done Johan showed us how they use a dedicated plenum and connection that allows the bag to be sealed and placed on a dedicated work table with it’s own centre hole for the vacuum line to drop through to the pump.

    In less than 30 minutes we made the bag and had it back on the work table for a test run, success.

    This example here is a student assignment to build a display cabinet. The students were required to build the bending forms and then to use the form to make the arched component for the cabinet. The top was built using wood veneers and 8 mm “wiggle board”.

    This exercise shows the huge potential for using forms and a vacuum press system to design and build projects with curved surfaces.

    It was a very good visit for us at Humber, I know that I will now start to look at the vacuum system I have to use it to build more interesting designs in my future work.

    Again a big thanks to Johan Geurtsen, your patience and kind sharing was much appreciated.
    Take care,

    My Passion


  2. Thread Continues Below...

  3. #2


    Thanks for telling us about this Jim!
    That is a feild trip that I would have really enjoyed. Vacume bagging is something that interests me but I know nothing about. It would really allow my woodworking to step up a knotch.
    One thing I have wondered is, does the vacume pump cycle on and off to keep that bag free of air? Or are the seals air tight?


  4. #3


    Thanks you for posting all the pictures and the description. I too am quite interested in making my own veneers and found the post very informative. Can't wait to try to make some of my own.


  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Mount Hope Ont.
    Real Name


    Looks like it was a great way to spend the day. Wish I had been there.

    I have an old 2 stage compressor head that can also be used as a vacume pump. One of these days Im gonna get that thing set up.
    J.P. Rap Mount Hope Ont.
    Carpe Ductum (Seize The Tape)

    "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. Elwood P. Dowd

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Oakville, ON

    Default Rats, missed it!

    Looks like it was a great session Jim. Thanks for taking pictures.

    Craig & I were trying to arrange transport and logistics for the field trip when Kathy asked the pertinent question: what time do you have to be there? That's when we looked close at the email and noticed that the fun starts at 4 pm. As it was already past 5 by this time, we gave up. Rats!

    made a hatchet handle last night instead of learning about vacuum bagging.
    Wood Hoarder, Blade Sharpener, and Occasional Tool User

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Uxbridge Ontario



    What a great opportunity and way to be introduced to vacaum pressing. Thanks for photos and narrative.


  8. Thread Continues Below...

  9. #7


    Great pictures...
    Good insight on veneering Thank's Jim.

    I have been looking at different set-up for doing this, I found this site by accident:

    This site is great and full of info. Great instruction on how to built you own press. The explaination are very good, great site to learn more....


  10. #8


    JIM: Thanks for the great information, shure wish I had not missed it. Perhaps we can discuss some details later.

    Great info and pictures.

    You stop learning the instant you start talking...
    And start again when you stop thinking how smart you are.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

    Default Vacuum Bag glue


    Interesting article, I like the idea of the sealed frame.

    Nothing is as easy as it looks but the picture format makes one want to give it a try,

    What type of glue are they using in the making of their vacuum bags.

  12. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Don McLeod View Post

    What type of glue are they using in the making of their vacuum bags.
    Hi Don,

    The glue was called HELMIBOND 808 EMULSION ADHESIVE
    ( It dried in 15- 20 minutes Johan said, it does not stick to itself like contact cement, but will bond when heated.

    Hope that helps.
    Take care,

    My Passion


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