WoodSkills Issue 02 - Page 70


When finished, run down the edges of the former with sandpaper to take the arris (sharp edges) off as sharp edges can damage the vacuum bag. Cover the top of the former (surface that will be used to laminate the piece) with the veneer you set aside earlier and tape down at the edges. This helps smooth out the former and prevents dust or bits of chipboard from being glued to the lamination.

Cover this, in turn, with a layer of thick plastic sheeting (I found that cutting up a dust collector bag does a pretty good job). The plastic stops the lamination from sticking to the former. Cut another layer to drape over the top of the layers being laminated for the same reason and set aside.

There are two more items you need to prepare before you can start setting up for glue up. Firstly, you will need some sort of top board to cover the lamination and help the bag settle evenly over the piece. This needs to be flexible enough to follow the curve of the former but doesn’t need to have any great strength. Thin hardboard or aeroply (very thin 3-ply birch plywood) is a good choice. This is what the extra layer of aeroply that you cut earlier will now be used for. The extra 4mm is to ensure that all parts of the lamination are covered by the board in case of slippage. The amount is not enough to cause the overhang issues discussed earlier. Remove the arris (sharp edge) on this board also.

Finally, you will need a base board to place in the bag to prevent the bag from pulling up around the former and bunching. This should be relatively thick (at least 12mm) and larger than the former base by at least 25%. Remove the arris (sharp edges) on this also and cover with some thin plastic sheeting – decorator’s sheeting is an economical choice and always useful to have in a workshop.