Roarockit Vacuum Bag for larger projects

October 27, 20153 Comments

If you learn nothing else from me I hope it’s the simple fact there’s always more than one way to do the same thing.

Whether it’s chisel work, milling lumber or pretty much every other task in the woodshop there are no true hard and fast rules to woodworking, other than to work safely!

Hand pumped vacuum bags are great alternatives

Hand pump vacuum bags are great alternatives

One woodworking technique I’ve experimented with a little, and then was utterly overwhelmed right away because of all of the options, is veneering and laminations.

Probably the easiest way to apply a veneer or press together a lamination for a project is to come up with a basic clamping system that allows you to use your existing clamps and squeeze the component together or press the veneer in place until it sets up.

In theory it’s super-simple, but in reality it’s amazing all the little issues you run into along the way. The number of those resulting from unequal pressure along the entire surface(s).

There are all kinds of jigs and specialized setups you can create, but inevitably it’s important to identify any where in the clamp that pressure might not be applied equally.

To get around this concern a great alternative to clamping jigs and presses is the use of a vacuum bag that seals entirely around the glue-up and truly applies even and consistent pressure while the glue dries.

Unfortunately vacuum bags can be either big and bulky (absolute over kill for some projects) or even downright expensive to purchase the compressor, hoses and connections necessary to use them.

Of course if you plan to do a lot of veneer, or curved lamination work, a good quality vacuum bag could easily pay for itself in convenience and results, but if you’re like me, and probably only do it from time-to-time a better option just might be something a little bit easier to tuck away between uses and a little lighter on the wallet.

In 2008 I had an opportunity to try a version of the Roarockit Thin Air Press Bag while building one of their Skateboard kits with my kids (click on this link to visit the post.)

The other day I saw on the Roarockit Facebook page they posted a video of Woodworker’s Journal senior editor Chris Marshall using a large Roarockit vacuum bag to add an surface to his Greene and Greene Nightstand.

I have yet to pull the trigger on purchasing the larger bag, but based on my experience with the smaller bag all those years ago it’s high on my list for when that next veneer/lamination project comes along.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Andrew Morton says:

    I really love this kit. I had the pleasure of having Ted from Roarockit as my woodworking instructor while at OCAD many years ago and as a result got my hands on a custom 4×8 bag. Always a pleasure to use for wood. And if you are careful not to get the bag dirty you can even use it to press veneers onto fibreglass bases and other flexible materials using epoxy or other resins as well.

  2. Jeff Woodward says:

    Chris needed to veneer the other side of his substrate. Your viewers should be aware that both sides of the substrate need to be veneered with veneer of equal thickness and quality to stay flat over time. Inexpensive system, though. Thanks for letting me know it exists.

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