Some background: I'm making two chess sets, connected via internet. The pieces have magnets, and the board has magnetic sensors, so when a piece is moved on one board, it is dragged with an electromagnet to the right square on the other.

The problem: I laid down some veneer to make the checkerboard on 3/16" plywood. The maple was slightly taller than the walnut, meaning that the walnut didn't get clamped as nicely as I would have liked. I knew this before gluing, so I put a towel down between the board and weights to more evenly distribute the weight, but it wasn't quite enough. The final product is mostly really good, especially after some sanding, but there are several squares with bubbles in the walnut that I can push down ever so slightly. I can't redo it because the other side of this board has 80 sensors which took many hours to put into place.

The question: Is there any finish that would work well to soak into the wood and bond the walnut to the plywood where it's coming up? Some kind of epoxy resin? Or would regular varnish do the job? Bonus points if the finish is low friction against felt :)

  • Note: The highest air bubble only goes up and down maybe half a millimeter at most. I'm mostly just worried about it peeling up more. Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 15:03
  • Another note: The walnut is a bit wavy in some parts. I want to be able to sand it completely flat, which is why something like an epoxy sounds attractive to me as it might fill in the gaps a little, but I am rather inexperienced working with wood so any advice is greatly appreciated. Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 15:13
  • are you using commercial veneer or shop-sawn. How thick is it? Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 16:29
  • I bought it from veneersupplies.com. I think it's 1/45" thick. Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 17:05
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    "I'd like to redirect thread back to finishes" Don't do that, SE is not a forum. It's a strict Q&A venue and each Question should be about one thing (in this case the thing you already asked about and got input on.) If you have a separate query then you need to start a new Question about it (assuming it is not already covered in a previous Q&A (duplicates aren't allowed here) and it's up to the person asking to search first.
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 9:55

1 Answer 1


If you used PVA glue to attach your squares to the substrate, you can reheat the glue with an iron to soften/melt it and get the problem squares to adhere to the substrate better. Here's an article about using this method intentionally to make iron-on veneer, and there are some good tips there such as using a piece of kraft paper between the iron and the veneer to avoid scorching. PVA melts at 392°F, so an iron set between 400°F (cotton) and 450°F (linen) should do the job. If you want to avoid disturbing neighboring squares, you could also use a dry mount tacking iron, which is much smaller than a household clothes iron.

  • Thanks so much! I don't think my glue is PVA although I could be wrong... I'm using this stuff: veneersupplies.com/products/… Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 17:02
  • @JasperVoss I've never used that glue, and there aren't a lot of details on that web page. You might contact the seller and ask if it's PVA-based, or if heat or other options can be used to reactivate the adhesive.
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 17:15

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