One of the keys to vacuum pressing success is being able to evenly distribute vacuum throughout the vacuum bag. Breather mesh is the perfect way to do this!
Breather mesh is a unique plastic fabric that is used in the vacuum bag to allow free air to move toward the bag stem and build vacuum evenly on and around the project. It is used in place of a top platen. Without it, the vacuum bag material will seal itself against the veneer causing pockets of air to form. These pockets have little or no vacuum inside and therefore do not provide the even clamping strength required to keep the veneer flat during the vacuum pressing process. Our mesh is made in the USA.
Why Professionals Use Breather Mesh
Breather mesh not only reduces bleed-through problems on open-pore and burl veneers but it also makes the bleed-through areas much easier to clean up. When breather mesh is used you will find that the glue stays in a tight bead on the surface of the veneer which can then be easily sanded or scraped off. After the excess adhesive is removed, the only glue on the face will be that which has filled any voids in the veneer. This is a great advantage and will give you a smoother finished panel.
In the interest of minimizing your shipping costs, we can fold the 48" wide (.021" thick) breather mesh and place it in the box with the other items in your order. Some users are reporting that it is harder to work with the mesh when it is folded so we also offer to ship the 48" wide mesh rolled in a separate box. The additional charge for selecting "rolled" is to cover the additional shipping and box costs and is non-refundable.
The 41" wide mesh is too thick to be folded. It must be rolled up to ship.
What is the working difference between the two types of mesh?
Other than the width, the only difference between the 41" and 48" mesh is the thickness. The 48" mesh is a thinner and very flexible, so it's a better choice for tight radius curves. It has been used to vacuum press veneer onto crown molding. The 41" mesh is less flexible but it's also more durable. Many users prefer the thicker mesh because it is easier to slide into the vacuum bag.
Why is the mesh not sold in a 54" width to match the size of the larger vacuum bags?
The manufacturer does not yet have the capacity to build the mesh any wider than 48 inches. Each time I order rolls of mesh, they tell me that they are continuing to add machinery and technology to improve on this width but I've not yet seen any results.
Will the breather mesh soften the veneer panel corners enough to protect the vinyl bag?
Generally speaking, yes; the mesh offers some degree of protection. The amount of protection is based on the angle of the corner, the age of the bag, and amount of vacuum being applied.
Can the mesh be cut?
Yes. The mesh can be trimmed to size with a pair of scissors.
What if my project is wider than 48"?
Simply order enough mesh for two side by side pieces that you can lay inside the bag. Some users have reported success by joining the two pieces with duct tape.
Why do you charge more to roll the mesh for shipping?
In the interest of minimizing your shipping costs, we fold the breather mesh and place it in the box with the other items in your order. Some users are reporting that it is harder to work with the mesh when it is folded so we now offer to ship the mesh rolled in a separate box. The additional charge for selecting "rolled" is to cover the additional shipping and packing costs. If the breather mesh is the only item in your order, you do not have to select "rolled" since we would ship it that way anyhow.
Why does the rolled option for the 48" version of the mesh cost more than the 41" version?
UPS charges a handling fee of $10.50 for any box with a dimension greater than 48 inches. The box for a rolled up version of the 48" mesh is 54" long. We are willing to cover some of that handling cost but we ask our customers to cover the rest.
If I opt to have the mesh shipped "folded", will the creases make it unusable?
Absolutely not. In time, the creases will become less obtrusive. Here's a tip from Dana Berggren: If your breather mesh has creases in it, make a quick pass over the area with a hair dryer. Reverse the crease while the mesh is warm and it will return to its original flat shape.
Do I need several sizes of mesh for each size project I put in my vacuum bag?
Most people have one piece of mesh that matches the size of their vacuum bag. This way, no matter what size your project is, if it will fit in the bag then the mesh will fit too.
Review by Mark Gutierrez
This product arrived in perfect condition. I paid attention to the instructions on the web site and received the mesh rolled instead of folded. I really appreciate this website. Everything you need for veneering.
Review by Mike Mastro
You can't go wrong dealing with Joe. Everything is just as described on the website and the service is great! Everything is packed beautifully and shipped the most cost efficient way. And if you are new to all this you came to the right company because they will help you through anything! Thanks Joe!!!!!
Review by Brian Vaillancourt
Recently built a relatively large (3'x6') vacuum frame press. Initially used MDF as a platen with dado slots for air evacuation under the workpiece, I could not achieve a leak free design.
My solution was to use melamine as a platen, with this breather mesh both above and below the workpiece. Excellent performance with air evacuation and no more leaks.
Save yourself a bunch of time and frustration and go for a bit more of this mesh.
Review by Evan Morris
Using the mesh has made getting a perfect application much easier. The only drawback I've experienced is sometimes with a softer veneer, an impression of the mesh is left in the surface and must be sanded out. I started using a layer of screen (cheap fabric, not metal screen) between the mesh and the veneer, and I haven't any extra sanding since.
[Message from Joe: On most veneers, you can lower the vacuum level to 18" Hg to resolve this issue.]
Review by Ralph Penton
I do a fair amount of veneering in my shop and have for years. I purchased the 48" X 120" mesh from Joe based on the description which made a lot of sense. The product far exceeded my expectation as it sped up the clamping process by eliminating handling a second platen. I used it a couple of times for large panels and already have ideas how I can turn out a better finished product without the hassle of an upper and lower platens. It's inexpensive and allows you cut pieces that can "snorkel" the vacuumed air assuring a wrinkle free finished product. It's well worth the few bucks that it costs! Your end result will be more consistently bonded for sure.
Review by Bruce Grimes
I received my order in great shape and can't wait to use the breather mesh. Mine was folded, but I've laid it out and I don't see any issues when I go to use it. Working with VeneerSupplies.com has been very easy. Joe is a great help; especially to someone with little veneering experience. Looking forward to doing business with Joe and his company in the future. Best regards!
Review by Earl Cowles
The breather mesh should be accompanied with ALL bag sales as it only makes sense to use it. It makes the whole veneer press process a lot easier. I recommend buying a large piece and cutting it down into smaller pieces as your projects dictate.
Review by Ernie Cardin
This breather mesh is superb. Its re-usable and it works. I've ordered from this website many times and the speed which they process an order is amazing. When I first ordered my vacuum press, I had a shipment notification and tracking number within an hour!
Review by Nicolas Goodman
There isnt more I can add to the existing reviews other than to say that this mesh has changed the way I look at a veneer project. I used to look at a project and wonder how I would ever get the bag to lay flat on the surface without creases. I had trouble on any complex surface understanding how I would make the bag lay correctly where I needed it to be. A friend of mine had bought some imported hand pump and vacuum bag and it came with a "mesh" that looked like something that a sack of fruit would be pacakged with. After it failed him, he bought the mesh from here and never had to replace it. I tried it and it changed everything. From that point on, I was so not afraid of vacuum pressing a contoured shape that I started making projects for a local company because they could not figure out how to veneer the shape on their own.
Im not sure what else to say. This is a good item to have if you do any vacuum work at all.
Review by Gordon Werner
A lot of problems can happen if you dont use breather mesh. I've used the mesh sold here and several other meshes. This one is the best by far. Its very re-usable and that makes it more cost effective than the junky mesh sold by lesser companies.
You wont find a better way to vacuum press a flat or curved panel anywhere and you wont find a better mesh any place other than here. I highly recommend this no matter what kind of veneering you do.
Review by David Moreland
For 3 years, I've been using a platen on top of my veneered panels in the vacuum bag. It works fine but it can be tedious. On the suggestion of a friend I tried this mesh and I have to say its well worth the cost. I've been using the same piece of mesh for the last 20 projects and it still gives me great results.
One suggestion, buy the largest piece offered because you'll end up cutting some of it down to various sizes if you have more than one vacuum bag. It's a bit cheaper to buy this way.
Review by David E
I use a vacuum press instead of a vacuum bag. This has the vacuum port at the end of the press. Using Breather mesh over the top platten I do not need one that is cross groved and running a strip of breather mesh from the port to the top of the project eliminates any positioning issues and ensures full pressure to the project.
Review by Kirk Davies
Great product to use in lieu of cauls etc. Can't find anything comparable. Produces great results on vacuum veneer items.
Review by George Jones
I knew something like this must have existed. I searched every catalog I have and I spoke with every woodworker I could find (no one really understood what I was talking about).
I guess I dont need to repeat what the description says. Its self explanatory. But I will say that it does work nicely and its completely reusable.
My order arrived very quickly and the shipping was ok. What surprised me most is the quality to price ratio. This is a good deal for what it does considering its cost. This is another case of "its not what it IS... its what it DOES".
I will definitely be recommending this to my fellow woodworkers who are veneering their projects.