Discover how and why this age-old hide glue technique works – and works best.
One of the great hurdles for many woodworkers new to traditional craftsmanship is applying veneers to a wooden substrate. This becomes even more problematic when the task involves something more than laying down a single piece of veneer, or at least something beyond several parallel pieces of veneer, onto a perfectly flat substrate.
Often an expert might recommend some overly complex approaches to the task, involving a tonnage of clamps, vacuum bags or robust presses, all in the employ of holding the veneers in place while the glue sets up. Let the application occur on a curved surface or with a composition in veneer and things can get outlandish.
More creative woodworkers might resort to applying either hide glue or polyvinyl acetate (white or yellow glue) as the adhesive and letting it dry, then using a heated iron to tack things down. These strategies begin to approach the traditional and nearly foolproof technique of hammer veneering.