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54 x 108

Only one bag si/e; frosted bag is difficult to see through.

KEY: 1 Minimum power motor recommended lo run pump efficiently. 2ffach manufacturer sells larger bags and in different materials; substitutions may be made for extra cost. ^Contact manufacturer for individual pump price. 4Pump is single-cylinder diaphragm design. — • not applicable

KEY TO MANUFACTURERS: VPS • Vacuum Pressing Systems. (207) 725-0935; Circle #601. MVP = Mercury Vacuum Presses. (800) 995-4506; Circle #602. QVP - Quality VAKuum Products Inc., (800) 547-5484; Circle #603 WWS - Woodworker's Supply Inc.. (800) 645-9292; Circle »604.

KEY: 1 Minimum power motor recommended lo run pump efficiently. 2ffach manufacturer sells larger bags and in different materials; substitutions may be made for extra cost. ^Contact manufacturer for individual pump price. 4Pump is single-cylinder diaphragm design. — • not applicable

KEY TO MANUFACTURERS: VPS • Vacuum Pressing Systems. (207) 725-0935; Circle #601. MVP = Mercury Vacuum Presses. (800) 995-4506; Circle #602. QVP - Quality VAKuum Products Inc., (800) 547-5484; Circle #603 WWS - Woodworker's Supply Inc.. (800) 645-9292; Circle »604.

applications, each manufacturer can recommend the proper bag or custom-design a bag to fit your needs.

Sealing the Bag

Manufacturers use one of two closure systems to seal the open ends of their bags. Mercury Vacuum Presses, Vacuum Pressing Systems and Woodworker's Supply use a C-channei and rod system: You fold the end of the bag around a rod, then slip the C-channel over the rod and bag. The first two companies add hook-and-loop tabs to hold the fold, making it easier to mount the C-channel. Quality VAKuum Products uses a 1-in. PVC slit pipe; you slip it over the edge of the bag and then apply ordinary spring clips (not provided) to make the seal.

All of the closure systems provided an airtight seal in my tests. The rod and C-channel closures were the easiest to operate and were flexible enough to bend.

The vacuum line connection to the bag also varies. 1 found Mercury Vacuum Presses' connection the most convenient: It enters the bag from the side, allowing the bag to lie flat on the table. It also attaches to the pump with a quick disconnect so you don't need tools to detach the pump. Vacuum

Pressing Systems also has a quick disconnect at the pump, but the line enters the bag from underneath, which requires an access hole in the table.

Quality VAKuum Products' bag connection must be installed by the operator. This is easy to do, and it means you can place the connection anywhere you like—an advantage if you're just getting set up for vacuum veneering work.

All manufacturers provided clear instructions for setting up their systems, but Vacuum Pressing Systems' manual was the best. (Instructional videos arc in the works.) Quality VAKuum Products already offers an informative video.

Recommendations

I've found that the type of work you do matters more than a brand name when choosing a system. If you work with complex forms or quick-drying glue, get a pump that can evacuate a bag quickly.

If you'll only be veneering occasionally, I'd recommend any of the entry-level manual systems. All are less expensive than the other types, and they all work about the same; the chief distinction is capacity. The VP-2 system from Quality VAKuum Products can be upgraded to a higher capacity or automatic operation at any time for as little as $25.

If you will be using your press often, I would recommend buying a 5- or 10-cfm electric or automatic venturi pump and a sturdy 30-mil vinyl or polyurcthanc bag.

Since I have a 5-HP compressor, I ended up buying Mercury Vacuum Presses' MVG98I. automatic venturi pump with a 4-ft. by 8-ft., 20-mil vinyl bag. I liked the bag closure, side-entry vacuum line and the lower cost compared to an electric system.

If you need a professional-quality vacuum veneer system but don't want to dedicate a compressor to a venturi pump, an electric pump is the way to go.

With the exception of Vacuum Pressing Systems' underpowered Compact model, I liked all the electric pumps I tested. You'll pay more for an electric pump, but the four 5-cfm models (see chart) will handle any veneering you'd want to do. A

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