Author Topic: Attaching end panels to cabinets with wood glue - the idiot version  (Read 1372 times)

Sibley

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I have googled this stuff, and I need help.

I need to attach thin veneer type end panels to cabinets. Can't screw or nail them, not thick enough. Per google, everyone seems to be saying contact cement, but I don't have that and plus they're talking about ventilation? It's 10F outside, ventilation isn't exactly happening. Which leaves wood glue.

I have wood glue, I know how to squeeze wood glue out of the bottle (any kindergartner can do that). But otherwise I'm stuck. The cabinets are installed, so all this is going to be vertical. I do not have clamps, but I can probably borrow them from my neighbor who has a garage full of every tool known to man. Can someone please give me the idiot version of how I do this, step by step?

SailingOnASmallSailboat

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Re: Attaching end panels to cabinets with wood glue - the idiot version
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2020, 11:22:27 AM »
What are the underlying cabinets made of? If they're wood, then wood glue is okay but might be hard to get thin enough to really work well. Clamping (or otherwise applying even pressure across it to make sure it adheres evenly) is important to avoid bubbling. Can you do any kind of a brace (a few 2x4s going to a wall or something)? I also like hot glue but that might be too large a surface for that.

Before you do anything, dry fit. Including the clamping system you'll use. Have everything close at hand. Might need to mark the "this side up" bit on the veneer; actually, I'd advise it. Have cleaning supplies handy for the excess glue that will ooze out. If the piece is large, have a helper handy. It might also help to put some kind of temporary guide along one or two edges of the cabinet so it's easy to set the veneer flush.

1) Clean the cabinet side really well. If they've been installed for a while, there is likely grease and grime on them that you can't see. I like soap and water and elbow grease; a degreaser might be important if there's a lot of gunk. If you don't clean the cabinet, no adhesive will stick well at all.
2) Make sure the thin veneer back is clean also.
3) Apply a thin bead of zig zag pattern of glue, making sure to hit the corners and sides. The glue will spread when you adhere the piece, so you don't need to be right on the edge. It's easiest to do this on the veneer side as you can do the glue horizontally.
4) Affix the veneer to the cabinet face.
5) Put the clamps or brace in place.
6) Clean up any oozed glue.

Let it set for a much longer time than they call for. Better safe than having to redo it. If you have to remove and redo, you also need to remove all the adhesive you used. This is not fun. Ask me how I know. :)

Good luck!

Sibley

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Re: Attaching end panels to cabinets with wood glue - the idiot version
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2020, 11:35:03 AM »
Thanks! Yes, its wood. I will have to get a friend to come help, but at least I know what to do.

SailingOnASmallSailboat

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Re: Attaching end panels to cabinets with wood glue - the idiot version
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2020, 11:45:10 AM »
One other thing - it's helpful in terms of applying even pressure to have a second layer of some piece(s) of wood or something firm. You won't attach this, but it acts like a washer (if this makes sense), spreading the load across the veneer piece. I might do 3 horizontal 2x4s evenly spaced, which I could clamp or brace in a couple of spots each.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Attaching end panels to cabinets with wood glue - the idiot version
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2020, 02:22:15 PM »
I have a couple suggestions:
Our glue on both surfaces
Spread the glue across the whole surface,so that you don't end up with bubbles or visibly raised lines where the bead is
once the veneer is in place, use some sort of roller or squeegee, starting from the middle,to make sure things adhere across the whole gluing surface

With a thin layer, wood glue has pretty good surface tension

lthenderson

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Re: Attaching end panels to cabinets with wood glue - the idiot version
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2020, 09:10:54 AM »
Really the correct thing for this application would be contact cement. It eliminates the hassles of trying to evenly clamp this while wood glue sets up and it also prevents pockets of glue which will give it a wavy appearance. Due to the temperatures, I would wait to do it on a milder day when you can open a window and install a box fan to get adequate ventilation.

Saying that, it is possible to use wood glue but you have to do several things well in order to get good looking results. You need to apply a thin layer evenly across the entire surface and get the panel up within the pot life of the glue. This may be hard to do if it is a large panel. Once parts of it start setting up, you will get parts that don't bond and will look lumpy or wavy afterwards. (All this is assuming a thin veneer and not a thicker veneer.) In order to prevent pockets of glue, I would take the suggestion above and start in the center and work the excess glue out with a j-roller. Again, depending on the size of the panel in question, this may be hard to do in the time of the pot life. You also need to clamp evenly across the entire surface of the veneer. I'm guessing this will be darn near impossible on cabinets that are already installed. You can help increase your odds by using a thicker veneer which won't telegraph these problems as easily as thin veneer will. You can also help increase your odds by using something with a longer pot life than yellow glue like horse hide glue.

Sibley

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Re: Attaching end panels to cabinets with wood glue - the idiot version
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2020, 03:22:11 PM »
Resolution, so far.

I glued 3 of the panels on this morning, clamped them, and then over a few hours it became clear that I hadn't done it well and it wasn't going to stick long term. Pulled them all off with much cursing and cleaned off all the glue.

Went a bought contact cement, aka fancy extremely smelly rubber cement. Seems to be working so far. Cats are pissed because they can't go in the utility room. Luckily, it's 50 today, because I've got the windows and door open for ventilation and turned off the furnace.

Still have to do the 2 big panels, but realized that I should have put them on BEFORE we drilled through the back of the cabinets for the gas pipe, so now I'm stuck. My very talented friend will be asked to help me cut them neatly, then I will attach the big pieces and the little pieces cut out so it looks better. Oh well, it's a utility room and neither side of the cabinets will be particularly visible.

lthenderson

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Re: Attaching end panels to cabinets with wood glue - the idiot version
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2020, 07:49:35 AM »
Thanks for the update. Glad to hear the rubber cement worked for this.