Q: I have been searching the web to find out how to glue veneer without a paper backing. All I can find are articles on gluing backed veneer and to stay away from unbacked veneer. If unbacked veneer is so bad, why does everybody sell it? Also, which glue do you use to attach it?
A: I can only speculate why some woodworkers would say unbacked veneer is bad, but I assume they think so because adhering sliced wood veneers (unbacked) is far more complex. To contradict the naysayers, I actually prefer sliced veneers. Backed veneers are sold in large sheets, and sliced veneers are sold as pieces that need to be joined by the user to make larger sheets. Sliced veneers offer many advantages, in my opinion. They can be joined and “matched” to create a variety of visual effects: a cabinet with veneered, bookmatched doors is a good example. Sliced veneers are thicker and can be sanded considerably more than paperbacked veneers, and they are more durable over the long term. As for which glue to use — it depends upon the application. I use standard yellow wood glue for veneering jobs under five square feet, slow-setting yellow glue for veneering jobs in the five to 20 square foot range and plastic resin glue when doing larger veneering projects that are more than 20 square feet. I suggest you read Paul Villiard’s A Manual of Veneering to learn more.