Simple is Better
The Excel 5™ Vacuum Pressing System is designed for woodworkers looking for a simple, powerful, and affordable method of veneering wood panels and clamping wood projects for routing, sanding and carving.
Every part of this system was designed with simplicity in mind. This makes it easy to assemble and incredibly durable. The system is fully adjustable from 280 to 1,785 lbs of pressure per square foot. The assembly consists of only a few pieces and each uses standard NPT threads. There is no wiring involved in the assembly process and the whole system goes together very quickly.
At the heart of the system is a powerful vacuum pump designed for many years of trouble-free operation. We now offer a 120v and a 240v version of the Excel kit. This system can handle commercial and industrial use and is suitable for bags up to 4' x 15'.
Assembly Time: 20-25 minutes
Assembly Instructions: Click here
Updated and Improved
The new Excel 5™ kit is a powerhouse of vacuum and a testament to simplicity. I have completely redesigned this system, updated many parts, and added several new features.
Excel 5™ Options
Excel Podz™ Kit (26 Piece Podz Kit + Foot Pedal)
Podz™ are simple vacuum jigs designed to affordably clamp projects to your bench top. Using the power of your vacuum press and vacuum clamping add-on, the Excel Podz kit allows you to configure the clamping jigs any way you choose to clamp projects as small as 4" x 4" and as large as 5' x 4'. The Excel Podz kit includes everything in the regular Podz kit plus the electric foot pedal.
This optional manifold kit with quick connectors allows you to vacuum press up to three vacuum bags at once. The quick disconnects allow the extra vacuum lines to be removed from the system when not in use.
This extended kit includes the following items:
Additional instructions are included in the Excel 5 kits sold with this optional kit.
Didn't you have a kit like this already?
We offered a different version of the Excel 5 for many years and were forced to discontinue it in August of 2014 because the former pump manufacturer (Gast Mfg) treated us terribly. I knew I could find a better pump, make a better system, and get away from their horrendous customer service and routine price hikes.
Is it ok for the pump to run continuously?
The manfacturer says this pump can run non-stop for two years!
Why does the clamping add-on on this product cost more than if the Podz clamping kit is ordered separately?
The vacuum clamping option includes the Podz kit and the electric foot pedal. The stand-alone Podz kit on our site does not include the foot pedal.
How does the Excel 5 pump compare to previous pump that was formerly offered?
The new model...
What else will I need to have a complete vacuum press system?
You will need a vacuum bag and a few veneering supplies such as a glue roller, veneer glue, and breather mesh. Also needed is a melamine platen board which can be bought at most large home improvement stores.
What is the warranty on this system?
The vacuum pump is warranted by the manufacturer to be free of defects in material and workmanship for a period of 1 year. All other parts of this system are warranted by VeneerSupplies.com to be free of defects in material and workmanship for a period of 90 days.
What is the return policy on the Excel 5 system?
Please see this page for details regarding our return policy.
Does this system include a vacuum bag?
None of our systems come with a vacuum bag because we don't want to force you to buy something you may not need. We also have no way to know what size bag you might want with your system so the vacuum bags are offered separate from the rest of the system.
What kind of plug end is on the 240v version of the kit?
The plug on the 240v power cord is designed for Australia power outlets using the AS3112 standard.
Why can't I order the clamping option with the 240V version of the Excel 5 kit?
The clamping kit requires the electric foot pedal to turn the system on and off. We have not yet obtained foot pedals that will work with the special plug end on the 240v version of the pump.
Can this system be used for vacuum chucking?
There is no safe way to answer this question. More information needs to be provided. You would need to know three things...
With these bits of information, you can calculate a number that will help you determine if the pump is safe to use for chucking. Continue on to the next question.
How much clamping force will the Excel 5 create for vacuum chucking?
This is based on a calculation using the maximum sustainable vacuum level and the surface area where the project is attached to the chuck. A smaller attachment area means less clamping/chucking force. A large industrial pump capable of pulling a very high vacuum may not be suitable for chucking if the vacuum surface area of the project is small. You have to calculate the vacuum surface area on your project first. Then determine what amount of vacuum you are capable of applying to the project. With this information, you can determine the total clamping force on the project and consider whether or not it is enough to safely hold your project while it is being turned. Here is the method for calculating the clamping force.
What if the chucking project is porous? How do I determine if this pump is suitable?
Unfortunately, there is no way to determine this without actually placing the project on a vacuum chuck. You would need to determine the actual maximum sustainable vacuum and this will vary across each project you try out depending on the size and porosity of the material.
What pump do you recommend for vacuum chucking?
I can only suggest one thing... the bigger, the better. Several of our customers are using 3 CFM vacuum sources for chucking but most are opting for 5 CFM vacuum sources.
What is the size of the pump?
The approximate measurements are...
Review by Gary Sharpe
This is probably the best tool in my shop because of what it allows me to do. I've done small furniture design for 25+ years and I wish I had started veneering much sooner. I can now take a design that was $500 and with an exotic veneer, I can make it a $700 with less work in the total project and no cost increase. The Excel vacuum press works wonders whether it's a small end table or a large dining room table top.
My order was placed on a Tuesday and the boxes arrived on Friday. I bought it because of the many comments posted here and because the price was right in line with my budget. This is the right tool if you are on the fence about vacuum pressing
Review by George Rodgers
Everything arrived just as expected, in a very short period of time and was easy to assemble with the directions provided. I also bought the add on clamp system which also went together easily and works well.
Review by Jacob Hall
I picked up the Excel 5™ Continuous Run Vacuum Press System for a veneering project in my basement. I'm covering over 100' of wall space with cherry wainscoting. I have 4 decorative columns and a 300 gallon aquarium stand that I wanted to add accent panels to (madrone burl). It's a daunting project and I needed a quick and reliable solution to veneer these panels.
This system was the key to relieving some of the pressure in completing the project. I assembled it one morning before heading to work and ran it almost non-stop that weekend mass-producing veneered panels for my project. It worked flawlessly and was worth every penny. I intend to take on some more challenging veneer projects in the future using this vacuum press.
On a side note, Joe and Christine are awesome! They will have my business for every future veneer need. It's hard to find reliable and honest partners in business, but that's what you'll find here.
Review by Geoff St Germaine
The Excel 5 System came well packaged and with clear and detailed instructions on assembly and use. The setup was straightforward and I had it assembled and working within 45 minutes. I'm using the vacuum system with a bag, the Podz and a vacuum bridge clamp. The system works very well for these and provides more than enough vacuum for these purposes.
Review by Ed Dahle
This product came exceptionally well packaged and on time. I had already read the excellent assembly instructions on Joe's site. I had all the necessary items needed for assembly and it went very well. I tried it out with the Podz jigs and after a little learning curve everything worked well. I am at 5,380 feet in elevation and this press pulled 27" Hg, amazing. If you want an excellent system get this, also the noise level on this press is very low and not obnoxious at all. Thanks Joe and Christine, you folks are the best.
Review by Rick Longabaugh
I just got the Excel 5 system in about April 2016. Why did I wait so many years to buy a dream setup? Since about 1996 when I started the learning curve to do marquetry and veneering I have used an air compressor setup to run my vacuum bag. It is noisy and bulky and I did not want to work in my shop while using it. I absolutely love this setup. It is small, lightweight, a joy to use and I'm actually amazed at how quick it deflates the bag to start pressing veneer. Rating this system from a 1 to a 5 it is definitely higher than a 5. You will love it. Oh yes, I also started using it to flatten my veneer instead of using a veneer press because it is easy and not a bother to use as it is so quiet.
Review by Tom Beach & Amanda Walker
Everything about getting this vacuum press was awesome. It was packed well and shipped immediately. It's a seriously great professional piece of equipment with really good instructions for assembling and using it- plus the resources Joe has on his website have been very helpful. We didn't need to ask any questions because it's so user-friendly. It is one of the quietest pieces of equipment in our shop and runs a lot cooler than expected. We are constantly discovering new ways in which this press is well-designed and easy to use. We absolutely recommend it.
Review by Scott Griffiths
This has been a great product (Excel 5). Get the Podz because they make a great add-on for adding a vacuum clamping station, I use mine so that I can band circles with the Festool Contura Bander... I love doing business here.
P.S. If your looking to get into veneering, this is a great place to start. Joe makes it easy.
Review by Christopher Bellizzi
This kit was so easy to assemble even I did it. Great instructions and everything went together as planned.
Review by Nick Lazzaretto
I recently purchased the Excel 5 Vacuum Press, Build-A-Bag with breather mesh, and the Ultra Cat glue. The assembly of the Excel 5 was very straight forward and went together very well, as did the bag. I have used it several times since I received it about 3 weeks ago and I am very impressed with the whole system. I use it more for a vacuum clamping system than I do for veneer, though I will be doing that as well. If I added up all the clamps I would need to glue the things up I've been gluing, they would far surpass the investment I have with this system...plus, there is no way I would be able to get everything clamped up fast enough!
The system is very compact and quiet too, more so than I anticipated. Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase, I only wish I would have done it sooner. Definitely one of the favorite tools in my shop! Joe has been very helpful answering my questions and guiding me through the process, and this is truly a quality product that I would recommend to anyone in the market for a vacuum press! Thank you very much Joe! Companies like yours selling quality products and providing your level of customer service are harder and harder to find.
Review by Matt Feeley
I recently purchased the Excel 5 vacuum press and I could not be more happy with my decision. The instructions included were very clear, comprehensive, and 100% accurate. I didn't time how long it took to set up my vacuum press, but by carefully following Joe's directions i feel it was under 30 minutes to complete.
Holy smokes is it quiet. Out of habit, i wore my earmuffs when i turned the Excel 5 on, but soon realized that they were not needed. I can talk on the phone or hear the radio with no issues while the vacuum press is running. I have only had my vacuum press for a little more than a month, but I really enjoy using it and find myself looking for excuses to do veneers. I am extremely happy with my purchase.
Review by Tom Faber
I ordered the Excel 5 vacuum press and a Dura-Max Extreme vacuum bag from Joe and I must say that I am completely impressed. Not only was the system easy to put together but also easy to use. My projects have been turning out better than I had expected with this system and for that I am grateful. Also, Joe clearly made himself available for any questions that I might have using the system and answered those questions very quickly. It has been an amazing experience going through this company and I could not be happier. I will definitely use VeneerSupplies.com for all my vacuum system needs in the future.
Review by Andrew Bartlett
2016 was the time for a new vacuum press. I selected the Excel 5 Continuous Run and have been impressed with it. It was very easy to set up and the manner in which you did - follow the instructions - gave a thorough understanding of how the machine works. I did my first veneer press within 30 minutes of opening the box. I also purchased a DuraMax Elite polyurethane bag. This bag impresses me and I wonder why I did not purchase one earlier. As an international customer I am happy how easy this purchase was and the speed of delivery - 1 week to Australia. Thank you.
Review by Dan Baldwin
I am so pleased with my Excel 5 system ! I have done several vacuum bag pressings with it and still marvel at how cool it is to set everything up, then turn on the system and watch it do the work. Joe's stuff is so well made and his instructions for assembly are impeccable. I am looking forward to future projects using the system. It has really helped bump my woodworking up a notch or two.
Thanks Joe !
Review by Jim Muench
This is my first time ordering a vacuum press. I am truly thrilled the service, delivery time and price. The kit was unboxed and assembled in no time. Got a sample in the press right away with ease. I am looking forward to using this on my next project. What a great way to enhance my design and building capabilities.
Review by Dan Baldwin
I purchased this vacuum press kit and some veneer supplies and have just completed my first vacuum press veneer project which was a maple serving tray with ebony inlay and spline joints and featuring a bottom panel with walnut burl veneer. I am so grateful that Joe has taken the time to put together such a comprehensive system for learning about, purchasing and using veneer supplies and tools. The sites make it very easy for a first timer to learn the ABCs of veneering. Buy the stuff, start the project, if you run into any problems the chances are very high that the solution or workaround is somewhere on Joe's site. The products are great, the support is great, the instructions and knowledge base that Joe provides is the best I have encountered. I'm looking forward to my next veneering project ! Thanks Joe !
Review by Andrew Stewart
Great vacuum for my purpose. It's quiet, easy to install, pulls great vacuum quickly, and doesn't get hot. I'm using it for fiberglass and carbon fiber products. In addition, I want to say thank-you to Joe, who contacted me about my ordering unnecessary equipment. While this is a continuous run pump, I had initially planned on adding the EVS auto-cycle kit to it since I would have the pump running between 12-24 hrs at a time. He assured me that this kit was rated for it, and after looking at other reviewers who stated years of trouble free use, I decided to go with the pump alone. Most companies wouldn't look at an order for discrepancies like this, so I definitely appreciate that.
Review by Jon Deiter
Joe was incredibly helpful with my decision to buy this system. I build a lot of curved doors and I wanted a reliable and easy to use vacuum press. I've been using the system every week for almost a year and it performs perfectly. No complaints whatsoever. If you are unsure if this press is right for your project, send an email to the owner of this company and you will have a reply within a couple of hours. Customer service like this is so hard to find these days.
I went with the Excel 5 instead of the Excel 1 because I wanted to pull down my 4x8 bag as quickly as possible. I have a tendency to be slow getting projects into the bag so the extra power in the pump helps.
Review by Beau Harrison III
I have been buying veneer from this website for years and it has always been a pleasure so when my old 90's vacuum press died a couple of weeks ago I knew exactly where to look for a new one. I ordered it here for three reasons. The first is that I like the customer service here. The owner is the only contact person you have to work with and he is quick with replies and always very helpful with them. I like to support small businesses even if they are not local to me.
The second reason is that the price is incredible. I don't know any other place to buy an adjustable vacuum press with all of its features (if you can call them that) for under $500. It's still a bargain even when this system is not on sale.
The third reason I bought it is because I like "simple". Every tool I own that claims to do a dozen different things has been troublesome. My last hyper tool claimed to do too many things and was so complicated that I just sold out after only 5 months of ownership. This vacuum press is the opposite. I plan to keep it for a couple of decades. It is simple and easy to understand.
I live in Nevada so shipping from this company (which is in Maryland) took 4 days. That is fine and if it seems lengthy, it is only because that is what UPS needs to do their job. I didnt think the shipping charge was outrageous.
So get one of these systems and a good vacuum bag. Don't forget your glue either!
Review by John Richard Dochinski
Ordered on the 11th, arrived on the 12th. That is as good as it folks. This system is flawless and there is not a thing I could suggest to improve it. What the other reviews say is all true. The system is very compact and the parts are all high quality. I'm especially pleased with how quiet the pump runs. My nosey neighbors cant complain because they wont even hear it running.
I've been buying veneer from this website for 2 years and its always a pleasure to shop here (at Veneer Supplies). I've never any a single problem and I'm happy to support the little guy. You'd never know it judging by this website but its entirely run by a mom-and-pop company. Checkout the 'ABOUT US' page to see what I mean. Its just a husband and wife team running the show. That is awesome and these are good folks.
Review by Bill Tomchek
As of this writing, there are 6 reviews prior to my own, all of which give 5-stars. I am number 7 to the 5-star list.
Being a newbie to woodworking and vacuum pressing, I started my learning process at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking (which is excellent). From there, I reviewed this site among others. It was Joe's easy to understand site pages that encouraged me to try his solution. I'm very glad I did.
Everything about the Excel 5 kit, from assembly, setup, and use has been top-notch. So far, everything has been limited to veneer glue-ups, of which all 10 have been flawless and simple to do. The Dura-Max poly bag and the breathable mesh pretty much made the entire system a piece-of-cake. Being lazy, I also indulged the use of their foot pedal.
Hopefully soon, I'll also try the Podz clamping system too.
Review by Bill Maietta
Being new to vacuum press technology, I leaned heavily on the informative materials from JoeWoodworker.com. I had done quite a bit of veneering, laminating and even bent lams, but always with forms and clamps. If you're in a similar position, I strongly recommend you read the trainings and explanations there before you get going. They will also help decide on the best system for you. They're very clearly written and comprehensive.
I went with the Excel 5, and I am very pleased with it. I've had it about a week and used it a couple of times for bent lams (maple drawer fronts). Again, I'd stress to read the information that comes with the system. The assembly instructions are clear and precise, but it does take a little time and focus. The same applies for glue-up, press forms, platens, and press times.
Once it's put together and you're up and running, it's pretty darn simple. Plug in the machine, set the vacuum pressure and wait for press time (based on type of glue). I used the UltraCat glue, and one more time... read directions, then mixing, application and cleanup were a breeze.
Service was excellent as well. Joe is very responsive through email. He does a great job explaining the seemingly complex elements of vacuum pressing on his website, making it simple, and follows through with great products and service.
One more technology, set of tools, in the workshop is a very good thing.
Review by J. Kevin Sperry
My system was ordered on a Thursday night and by Friday I had a tracking number for my box. Everything arrived on Tuesday, no problems at all. I felt the shipping was acceptable considering that this thing probably weighs 15 lbs or more.
The parts are good quality and I bet most of them are US made which is a nice bonus. It took me about 15 minutes to put the kit together. All parts were present. The pump is less noisy than I expected which means that its fine to let it run while you are doing some thing else in the shop. I like the adjustability too.
This is a good system and I'd probably buy another one if I had to.
Review by Sean Phillips
Veneering and vacuum bagging were a big part of my business several years ago. But that changed when my partner and I went our separate ways. I got some tools and he got some tools. What I didnt get was the vacuum system and I've wanted one for a while now. I pulled the trigger on this system about 5 weeks ago and I've really put it through the wringer in my shop. I'm using it with a 4x12 polyurethane bag (also bought here) and a huge piece of vacuum mesh. I have more than 20 panels completed with it so far. The vacuum press is very easy to use. This is basically because it has very few parts. The simple pressure adjustment by turning a handle is nice. I know there are some that want a complicated machine for this type of work so they can impress their friends. I preferred to save several hundred dollars and go with the "keep it simple stupid" (K.I.S.S.) version and I'm glad I did.
This is a vacuum press that most people could cobble together with hardware store parts and a salvaged vacuum pump but in the end, that wasnt worth it for me. I bought this kit because I wanted to know that everything would work together with my bag. One thing that would be a pain to make on your own is handle. It seems a bit vestigial at first but then you'll realize how often the system gets moved around. That is when the handle is worth having. The parts on this system appear to be high quality.
My shipping cost was very reasonable and it took 3 days to get to me. They sent me a tracking number on the same day I ordered. Its hard to say what the vacuum press system itself cost to ship because I had a lot of things in my order but overall it was fine. If you order this system, you can get a huge bag like I did. This system will pull down a big bag in just a couple of minutes.
Review by George W. Turner
I received my vacuum press two days after ordering. My shipping cost was acceptable, and the items were shipped with a lot of packaging material inside to protect it. This press is exactly as described and it only took me and my son just 15 minutes to assemble.
We are using a 4x8 vacuum bag. The pump vacuumed out the bag within a couple of minutes. So far I have pressed 3 panels. The first one didnt turn out too well. The owner of this company replied to my email about the problem and we figured out that I used too much glue. After that, the next veneers came out perfectly.
I think there are too many people out there who are afraid of veneering but this is not something that is very hard to do.
Review by Warren Walters
Our shop has two excel 5 vacuum systems. One is from 2011 and still going strong and the other is one we just bought two weeks ago. The new version of the system is a nice improvement over the former version. The handle and manifold additions are great. The handle is very well designed making for a balanced feel when carrying it around from job site to job site. We bought the kit with the extra hose kits but havent used it that way yet but I have no worries since this pump is really powerful. Everything else is a sensible improvement as well. The vacuum level adjust is entirely tool-less (unlike the old system).
If you like the keep-it-simple idea, then this pump is for you. Overall, I'd recommend this pump to anyone looking for a simple, quiet, reasonably-priced vacuum press.
Review by James Thompson Jr.
I searched the web for a vacuum press for several hours and posted some messages on a couple of woodworking forums. Everyone says that this place is the best for all things vacuum. I have to agree. The products here are sensible and affordable and the company owner (Joe) is very helpful. He must have answered more than 20 questions I had before ordering and after.
About the system - its is quite good. In fact it is excellent. The pump is not nearly as loud as I thought it would be. The system itself is fairly compact and the parts seem to be very well made. I have no worries about the Excel pump and I'm looking forward to using it.
The shipping was reasonable. I paid $26 but I also had some glue and other supplies in the order. The order was submitted on a Tuesday and I receieved it Thursday afternoon. I couldn't ask for a better turn around time.