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Vacuum frame presses I've built in chronological order: 3x4, 2x3, 2x7 and 4x8

3x4 Vacuum Frame Press

Vacuum PressI'd done a bit of work with veneer on small projects using curved or flat cauls and clamps. A small cabinet job, where a single sheet of figured veneer plywood would have cost me more than $400, motivated me to build my first flip-top vacuum press... more
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2x3 Vacuum Frame Press

2x3 Frame PressI quickly discovered the limitations of flat membrane presses when I tried veneering 3" thick shelves with a flat membrane press. This press was my first attempt at a vacuum frame with a box shaped membrane. The frame design is similar to my first press, but the dado runs around the inside perimeter of the frame. The folded corners of the membrane come through the corners of the cleats (1x1s that fit the dado) and are sealed with 2 sided tape and aluminum clamp strips... While a bit crude, and the small size helps, there is no noticeable leakage.
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2x7 Vacuum Frame Press

2x7 Frame PressA job calling for long thick floating shelves prompted me to take the 2x3 press a step further. For this press I cut and glued the corners of the box membrane and tried what I hoped would be a more forgiving frame design. While it works well it does leak a bit and I'm not sure if it's the corners or the rabbet (VS dado) and cleat design (changed proportions and angled screws would improve it)... Despite the leak, this has become my favored press because most of the stuff I do fits and it is easy to setup on a rolling cabinet (keyhole brackets hold it in place/flat).
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4x8 Vacuum Frame Press

4x8 Frame PressTwo jobs bigger than the frame presses I had motivated this 4' x 8' press. I decided on a torsion box design for the platen and a frame design similar to the one I used on my first press (The top rabbit, reversible frame idea was a bust). When in use the press sits on my tablesaw (~8' wide with extension and sliding table attachment) and faces my primary workbench. The platen stores on a wall, the membrane behind a sheet goods rack.

The torsion box platen is a foam filled wood frame with 1/4" one sided melamine MDF skins, The assembly was clamped by applying vacuum to the inside of the box. Drilling a hole in the top skin allows the assembly vacuum port to be used for pressing.

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