Inexpensive Vacuum Bag Options

Q:

 I was watching an advertisement for Space Bags where you insert garments to be stored and vacuum the air out to reduce their size. I wonder if these would work as a low-cost vacuum press. Has anyone else had this brainstorm?
—Jess Pidlin, Long Island, Va.

A:

 The prospect of buying seven veneer bags for less than $28 intrigued us, Jess, but we’re going to have to rain on your brainstorm. We put a piece of ash veneer on a scrap of MDF in a Space Bag (800/469-9044, or spacebag.com) and sealed it according to the instructions. Space Bags require a household vacuum cleaner, so the pressure they exert may vary with the vacuum you use. Not taking any chances, we used our largest and most powerful shop vacuum to remove the air. 

By the next morning, however, we discovered the Space Bag had lost vacuum, allowing the bag to be pulled free from the veneer, as shown above. A second test confirmed these results.

The Space Bag may be better for storing clothes than clamping veneer, but you still have low-cost alternatives to high-end veneer presses. One of those is a 26×28" hand-pumped vacuum press (no. 55K67.26, $56.50) from Lee Valley (800/871-8158 or leevalley.com) that produces about 12 psi of vacuum pressure, similar to larger and costlier systems.

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