wiseWood veneer ++ 5490 Gatewood Dr. ++ Sterling Heights, MI 48310 ++ Toll free: 855.883.6337 (855.8VENEER)
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June 9, 2011

How to apply pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) backed veneer.

If you have ever wondered what it takes to successfully apply pressure sensitive adhesive backed wood veneer, below you'll find comprehensive instructions to do just that. Pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) is very thin acrylic based film applied to 10mil paper backed flexible wood veneer sheets. It is often referred to as "peel and stick" veneer. In recent years this method of applying wood veneer has gained much popularity with professionals and do it yourselfers because of its relative ease of use and no mess application. It also eliminates the need for a hot press and/ or vacuum bag and allows the veneer to be adhered to more nontraditional substrates such as steel and plastic. Although the wood veneer is available in 2' x 8', 4' x 8', and even 4' x 10' sheets the PSA method of application is not very practical for veneering full size panels. PSA wood veneer is easy to apply but it can become very labor intensive especially on large projects with vast surface areas and there are steps to the application that are meticulous. Namely, making sure that every square inch of the surface area has had enough pressure applied to it.

PSA Veneer Application Instructions

When you first receive your veneer inspect it thoroughly for satisfaction of grade and quality prior to lamination. Next it’s very important to allow your veneer to acclimate prior to use. This is done by laying the veneer flat on a surface and allowing it to “relax” in your environment for a minimum of 48 hours up to 4 days. It may be necessary to apply some weight on the ends of the sheet to help retain its flatness during this period. The ideal environment for this process is between 35% and 50% relative humidity and temperature levels between 65 to 80 degrees F. It is also important to allow your substrate material to acclimate in the same conditions for the same amount of time as the veneer. This will ensure that materials will be relatively equal in terms of relative moisture and temperature.

Tools and Supplies
Before starting your veneering project you’ll want to gather some basic tools and supplies. You will need 120 grit sandpaper, tack cloth, denatured alcohol, a sharp utility or exacto knife and a veneer scraper. Veneer scrapers can be purchased commercially and typically consist of a wooden handle and a stiff blade of polycarbonate or lexan about 4” wide. You can also make one by using a piece of hardwood approximately 4” wide by 12 to 16” in length. Make sure one end is cut nice and straight and use sandpaper to gently ease the corners and edge to eliminate any sharp lines. If you want you can also contour the upper portion of the handle to create a comfortable grip. With this smoothing blade you will generate excellent leverage and good pressure on the surface. We don’t advocate the use of any type of J-roller for veneer application. You will not generate enough pressure with any type of J-roller.

Surface Preparation
Your substrate, or the surface you are going to laminate, needs to be prepped prior to veneering with PSA veneer. For finished surfaces you will need to scuff sand the entire surface with a medium (120 grit) sandpaper. After sanding remove all sanding dust and residue with tack cloth and wipe the surface clean with denatured alcohol. If you plan to veneer on an unfinished wood surface or plywood it is recommended that you first seal the surface with a coat of varnish, shellac or polyurethane finish. Allow the finish ample drying time, usually 24 hours, and then continue on with the veneer application.


At WiseWood Veneer we have several popular species with PSA already in stock and we have the capability to apply the adhesive backer to any of our FlexVen™ 10 and FlexVen™ 20 backed flexible wood veneers.

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