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Vacuum Breather Mesh/Net


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Product Description

One of the keys to vacuum pressing success is evenly distributing the vacuum level throughout the bag and breather mesh is the perfect way to do it. Breather mesh is a plastic fabric that is used in the vacuum bag to allow air to move toward the bag stem and build vacuum evenly on and around the project. It is typically used in place of a top platen.

Without mesh, 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. This is a must-have item for bent laminations.

Notes from Joe
Though the mesh is reasonably durable, give some thought to ordering a bit more so you have extra on hand if it tears. This material costs considerably less per linear foot in the longer sizes. Also, shipping this material tends to be a bit expensive because the box we use to ship is 50" long and this triggers an over-size (48"+) surcharge from the shipping carriers.

Breather Mesh Instructions: Click Here 

Thickness: .046"

Why 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.
  • We ship the breather mesh rolled up in a 50" long box. You may find that shipping is a bit expensive since we have to use such a large box to ship this item.
  • Non-flat veneers over 1/32" in thickness may not flex enough to perfectly mate with the substrate surface when breather mesh is used. In this case, a 3/4" thick top platen is often a better choice. You can cut grooves in the top platen as shown on this page or use breather mesh on top of the top platen.
  • The polypropylene mesh has a melting point of 363°F and a softening point of 305°F.
  • 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.
  • When your project is finished, place the mesh back inside the vacuum bag. Then simply roll up the bag with the mesh inside.

Why is this stuff so expensive?
It is my opinion that the cause is simply corporate greed. The only manufacturers of this material in the US have all been bought up by a giant corporation. Since they have monopolized the supply of this product, they have raised the price well beyond what I could have imagined. It is utterly frustrating that our government allows this type of ultra-capitalist gouging to happen. It's all for the sake of some mega-rich investors.

How many times can the breather mesh be used?
The mesh should last for a very long time. I suspect that the mesh piece that I use in my shop has been used for more than 100 panels.

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.

Can I use window screen material instead of breather mesh?
Yes and no. Window screen material can create a pathway for the flow of vacuum and several users have sent messages saying they had no issues other than a moderate increase in the amount of time it took to draw full vacuum in the bag. It is important to know that a veneer that is not completely flat is not likely to flatten under window screen material; you can get lumps in the finished panel. The other issue is that any adhesive that bleeds through the veneer will smear back onto the surface of the panel. Our breather mesh has a much wider/open weave than screen material so glue that comes through the veneer (especially for porous species and burls) beads up and can be easily scraped off. I've also found that breather mesh is much easier to slide into the vacuum bag than screen material.

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 protect the vacuum bag from sharp corners on the veneer panel?
Generally speaking, yes; the mesh offers some degree of protection. The amount of protection depends 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.

Do I cut the mesh to fit my project or to fit by vacuum bag?
Generally speaking it is best to cut the mesh to fit your vacuum bag if the veneer panels you create will be flat. For curved projects, custom-sized breather mesh is often required.

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.

From what material is the mesh made?
Our mesh is currently made from polypropylene.

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?

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.

click to enlarge

Product Reviews

  1. Makes Clamping Easy

    Review by John Laupheimer

    The mesh makes bag clamping easy and saves having another platen in the bag and the worry that it might stick to the veneered surface. It cut easily.

  2. Works as Intended

    Review by Stan Blaszczyk

    Works as intended. Easy to manage. It makes sure you have good air flow over part and eases corners so it does not puncture the bag. Overall Veneer Supplies was quick to ship and are great to work with.

  3. Necessary Product for Vacuum Bagging

    Review by Shane Burkhart

    Works great for air evacuation from vacuum bag. Negates the need to cut grooves in platen to ensure complete air evacuation when using vacuum pump. May leave slight diamond marks on veneer under higher vacuum pressure but easily removed with light sanding or one can put veneer face down on platen and mesh over base.

    [Note from Joe: At 21" Hg vacuum which is the recommendation level for veneer work, only the softest veneer species have issues with mesh impressions. Reducing vacuum to 17" Hg is fine for this veneers.]

  4. Convenient and Effective

    Review by Matthew Offenbacher

    So much better than maintaining a platen! The mesh does what it says - super helpful since you can roll it up and keep it out of the way when you're not using it. This is much easier to handle and you can use anything as your platen instead of leaving a dedicated slotted sheet and moving around all the time.

  5. Easy to Use and a Great Solution

    Review by Marco Cecala

    With a thick bag, using mesh will allow a tight connection to the material for consistent results. Even with cauls, we use breather mesh to eliminate voids.

  6. Quality products

    Review by Ken Stewart

    These people sell quality items. Ships right out. Good people to deal with and I recommend them for all your veneer products. They answer your emails right away and answer your questions.

  7. Excellent Service

    Review by John Becker

    Excellent product at a great price. Excellent company. Super fast shipping. Great packaging. What more can you say? Definitely will buy from Veneer Supplies again.

  8. Breather Mesh and Customer Service are Both Great

    Review by Nelson Scott

    Product worked great and can’t say enough about the excellent customer service. Far beyond any other company I’ve dealt with. So much so that I return for several repeat purchases even though others offered the same or similar products. Will absolutely be making more purchases in the future.

  9. No more air pockets!

    Review by Gary Spodnick

    I'm new to vacuum pressed veneering but this is a super-cool product. I have done a bunch of veneering before using clamps, cauls and plattens and have always had problems with air bubbles or incomplete adhesion between the veneer and substrate, especially on larger panels where it is difficult to get adequate clamping pressure in the center of the piece. I have only used this product once so far on some test runs, but the veneered panels came out perfectly with no trapped air pockets. The mesh completely eliminates this from happening.

  10. Works for Me

    Review by Dave Boling

    Used a 5"x5" piece in conjunction with a slotted platen and positive mold, and the vacuum bag pulled down much faster than the previous time without the mesh. Planning on trying it out on a larger flat piece in the near future.

  11. Easy, Quick, Essential!

    Review by Matt Hill

    Purchased enough to setup common veneer layup sizes for my area and am impressed with the quality of the material. Love how simple the process is with these sheets over the double platen method. I can’t wait to try curved veneering!

  12. Great Stuff - Worth Every Penny

    Review by Evan Fales

    I haven't done any veneering before so I can't say how this compares to other meshes/platens, but it works great right out of (er, in) the bag. Will be interested to see how it handles curved surfaces. I've used it on some beautiful Tamo Ash veneer from Joe, which bleeds EVERYWHERE, but it was easy to remove the bleed-through by lightly scraping with a card scraper. Joe & Christine sent it to me rolled up even though I hadn't requested it.

  13. Should Have Bought It Sooner

    Review by Matt Gerber

    I was using a top plater for a while before I bought this and now I wish I bought it sooner. Good quality and makes the vacuum bag process much simpler

  14. Great Product!

    Review by Meyer Wells

    My order arrived quickly and in great condition. I'm not one of the guys who works on the veneer but they specifically requested THIS mesh from THIS seller. We're a high-end commercial and residential furniture maker so they wouldn't ask for it if it wasn't quality. Thank you!

  15. Excellent Mesh -Indicative of Excellent Customer Service

    Review by John Maxwell

    Used breather mesh to press a fairly complicated pattern on a 3 x 5 table top and it worked great. As many reviewers have said, it's very nice not to have to deal with a top platen, especially on a medium/large piece.

    But my bigger comment is really one about Joe and Christine and it pertains to everything I've bought from them (which is basically everything to enable veneering including the vacuum press, starter kit, mesh, veneer, etc.) It would be hard to imagine better customer service. It's not "just" that the products offered are of high quality and very reasonably priced. The accuracy and thoroughness of the advice AND the cheer and genuine interest with which it is offered is really special.

    For someone like me, with significant hobbyist experience in woodworking generally, but none until now with veneering, that advice/attitude has been the most valuable thing, without which I doubt I would have gotten into veneering in the first place. That kind of treatment is more and more rare so when one sees it, it bears commending.

  16. Great Product

    Review by Wayne Delyea

    I bought the breather mesh because I have been using it for several years and needed a larger piece for the marquetry table top I was making. First off this is a big improvement over the old style mesh I had. The mesh is tighter and seems more flexible than the old one. I'm well pleased.

  17. Just what I needed.

    Review by Rick Vreeke

    This mesh material is pretty good stuff. I read some online suggestions that said you can use most anything including window screen material,etc. After spending time looking around the hardware store I decided to simply buy what Joe recommended. I'm glad I did for the all the reasons he gives. It's reusable, easy to store in the vacuum bag, it's transparent, can be easily cut to the proper size. I figure I didn't need to reinvent the wheel.

  18. Breather Mesh Does Exactly What Its Name Is!

    Review by Robert Laughton

    Great product I was not using a mesh when I was vacuuming my veneers and they were coming out with a lot of glue bleeds but when I started using the breather mesh they have been coming out great and with a more even bond. Would recommend this to all!

  19. Vacuum Breather Mesh is a Must-Have Part

    Review by Steven Parker

    You need this if you want great results in vacuum pressing, no question! This mesh is a must-have part of vacuum pressing.

  20. Good Product

    Review by Dale Scott

    Good product and easy to use with the vacuum system.

  21. Great Products, Great Service

    Review by Peter Roth

    This is a great product. Much better than having to make a channeled platen. But even better than the product is the service. Quick shipment, good communication. And the how to info is the best anywhere.

  22. Buy it!

    Review by Aaron Pirwitz

    As always Joe ships fast! No more need to make a platen for individual pieces. A must for curved projects. Worth every dollar!

  23. Review from The Netherlands

    Review by Kim Hoogeveen

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

  24. Breather mesh is a must.

    Review by Mel Dahlberg

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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!!!!!

  29. 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.

  30. 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.]

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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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