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Wrinkley 4 Mil Plastic Sheets

Don Stephan
When vacuum veneering, it's common practice to place a piece of plastic film or sheet on the outside of each sheet of veneer being glued to the core. The plastic film protects the cauls, platen, and bag from glue that squeezes out or bleeds through the veneer.

Plastic sheets are commonly sold folded up in plastic bags, the those folds can be quite persistent. If the work is relatively small and light, one can pull the sheet from each side as the work is placed in the bag, removing wrinkles in the plastic sheet. But if the work is heavy and/or large that's not as effective. More than once I have found after removing work from the vacuum bag tiny valleys on the surface of the veneer, which I believe were caused by wrinkles in the plastic sheet. For years I used 6 mil plastic for the greater resistance to punctures and tears, but dropped back to 3 or 4 mil on the recommendation of another woodworker after complaining of valleys in the veneer. But one of the two large, heavy tabletops I veneered a couple weeks ago is showing valleys on one side that I think could only result from wrinkles in the covering plastic sheet.

Is it possible to economically purchase 3-6 mil plastic sheet in rolls 5 or 10 feet wide, and if so where should I look? If not, might it be possible to remove wrinkles by hanging the piece of plastic sheet and waving a hot air gun over the surface? Any other ideas?

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