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Vacuum Breather Mesh/Net



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Product Description

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 force 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.

Burl without Breather Mesh
Bleed-Through without
Breather Mesh
Burl with Breather Mesh
Bleed-Through with
Breather Mesh


Breather Mesh in ActionOther Breather Mesh Advantages

  • Reusable
  • Light weight
  • Very flexible
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be cut to size
  • Easy to use and store
  • Simplifies curved veneer work
  • Does not fatigue vacuum bag material
  • Lets you see the veneer as it is being pressed

Important Notes

  • The mesh may have sharp edges but it will not damage the vacuum bags we offer. Exercise care when handling breather mesh to avoid scrapes and cuts. It is advisable to wear appropriate work gloves while working with this mesh.
  • A bottom platen board is still required when breather mesh is used but there is no need to cut grooves in the platen with this method. The beauty of breather mesh is that it simplifies the vacuum bagging process. The platen is only used to provide a "reference" surface which keeps the panel flat while the veneer adhesive is setting up.
  • We offer two types of mesh. The 48" wide mesh (.021" thick) is more flexible but it is a bit less durable due to it being thinner material. With proper use, this mesh will last for several dozen pressing cycles. The 41" wide mesh (.046" thick) is a bit more rigid but could last a lifetime.
  • When your project is finished, store the mesh inside the vacuum bag. Then simply roll up the bag with the mesh inside. Vacuum bagging couldn't be easier!

Rolled/Folded Option
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 also offer to ship the mesh rolled in a separate box. The additional charge for selecting "rolled" is to cover the additional shipping and box costs. This charge is non-refundable.

If the breather mesh is the only item in your order, select "folded" and I will ship it rolled. Save your money! I will ship it rolled at no extra charge if it is the only item in your order.

Learn more about this product by clicking here.

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.

How many times can the breather mesh be used?
The thicker mesh should last for a very long time. I suspect that the thick mesh piece that I use in my shop has been used for more than 100 panels. The thinner mesh is less durable but should not be considered "disposable" because if it is handled and used properly, it will hold up for a very long time. If I had to guess, I would say you can get 40 or more pressings from it.

Will the veneer glue get trapped in the mesh and ruin it?
Glue that squeezes out from under the veneer will stick to the mesh. Larger blobs of regular veneer glue will typically release from the mesh if the material is flexed a bit. Small blobs will also release but I don't bother to remove them since they do not reduce the effectiveness of the mesh.

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.

How do I prevent the mesh from imprinting the veneer?
There are only two causes of markings left by breather mesh and both are easily preventable. If there is too much glue on the substrate, the veneer will float on the adhesive surface and the mesh will create quilt-like markings. Obviously the key is to use less glue.

The rule of thumb is that the surface of the substrate should look evenly painted with veneer glue. It should not be dripping wet. A good test is to place a pencil mark on the substrate and apply the glue. If you can barely see the pencil mark on the substrate (through the adhesive), you have the right amount of glue.

The second cause is too much vacuum. It's a good idea to lower the vacuum level to 17" Hg on softer woods like walnut and redwood to prevent markings from the mesh.

Will epoxy stick to the breather mesh?

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?
FedEx and UPS charge 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.

Where can I learn more about breather mesh?
I've written a short article about breather mesh on the JoeWoodworker website.

Product Reviews

  1. Review from The Netherlands

    Review by Kim Hoogeveen

    This product arrived very fast. Great product for my work. Thanks Joe for the good service!

  2. Breather mesh is a must.

    Review by Mel Dahlberg

    Love the breather mesh. It really reduces the potential wrinkles in the vac bag.

  3. Exactly as Advertised

    Review by Dominic Nepa

    My breather mesh was expertly packaged (order it rolled) and be able to get right to work, arrived quickly, and worked exactly as advertised. I can’t imagine having to deal with 2 platens! Pressed a 4’x8’ ellipse table top with ease.

  4. Works Great

    Review by Wayne Delyea

    The breather mesh works great. The ability to do without the top platen is a back saver for me especially when you have a short time to get everything into the vacuums press and the plate a are 25 lbs each. Joe did a great job of getting my order to me immediately so I could get my work done in a timely manor. Be sure to ask for it to be shipped rolled vs folded so it is perfectly flat. Great product thanks Joe!

  5. Review from Omaha, NE

    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.

  6. Review from Eagleville, PA

    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!!!!!

  7. Review from Goffstown, NH

    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.

  8. Review from Richmond, VA

    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.]

  9. Review from Snohomish, WA

    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.

  10. Review from Kittery Point, ME

    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 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!

  11. This Stuff is Awesome

    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.

  12. Happy Buyer!

    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!

  13. Great product

    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.

  14. Breather Mesh - Does What It Should

    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.

  15. Very Happy with My Purchase

    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.

  16. Great Productivity Aid

    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.

  17. Great Product Very Useful

    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.

  18. Happy to have found this one.

    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.

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