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Plywood in fine furniture


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 PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 09 9:52 pm   
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I've been working on a wine cabinet for 8 months now. I wanted to push the envelop with this project and use plywood for the larger pieces of wood instaed of gluing up narrow boards. The cabinet is almost complete, my only concern is when the piece is finished the edge banding will show.

Bottom line, what do you all think about using plywood in this manner.


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 PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 09 12:52 am   
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I think there is a time and place for plywood in many projects and you pointed out a great use for it. It functions as a great replace for material when you would otherwise be forced to glue up many smaller pieces. Many times those types of glue ups can really be disruptive to the grain or flow of a piece. It can be difficult to layout your wood in a glue up situation and be able to hide the seams and sell it as a single wide board. Also, plywood will provide your piece some added stability if you live in an area where humidity and expansion can be a concern. And finally using plywood can really help keep a projects budget in check, using solid wood can get expensive and given the fact that many times woodworkers end up planing down solid stock to the desired thickness, that expensive wood quickly gets more expensive per bd/ft if you figured out how much ends up in your central vacuum.

How did you apply your edge banding? Is it iron on veneer or shop made veneer you glued on? It might be too late but there are many ways to apply edge banding using one of many edge banding router bits to secure solid wood to your ply to hide it.

Barry, you didn't provide details as to whether or not you were using a veneered ply w/ the same primary wood (looks like ribbon grain Mahogany.. is it of the Genuine or African variety?) as the rest of the piece.

I think using ply is really a choice made by the craftsman influenced by a pieces design, the budget, availability of tools, their experience, the deadline, the customer and the desired aesthetic.

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 PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 09 8:34 am   
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i agree with scott...but in this case i doubt i would use plywood....it looks like your project is all solid ...if so i would finidh up with solid...you can still push the envelope in solid...you are almost done..it gets frustrating sometimes looking at the same project for a while....but lookijng at a rush desiction just to get it out of the shop ...after its all done might be harder to take in the long run...now if the sides are ply and all, then by all means carry on...but i thought i saw handcut dovetails on the case bottom.... ;)

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 PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 09 8:39 pm   
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Ya'll are right. The bottom is solid wood. The only plywood is on the sides and vertical members. The upper and lower tops are solid wood.

Since this is the first time using mahogany I really didn't know about the different types. I honestly thought african was the same as s.american although a different color. Boy was I way wrong. What do ya expect from a redneck. African has some WICKED reverse grain (my wife is from Revere). None of the scraping in the world could have correct the tear out I was getting. I eventually broke out the sander, something I normally don't do. Last week I dropped 200 for a lee valley low angle smoother. I should have done that months ago.

The plywood edges are covered with solid wood about 1/2" with attached with tongue and groove. I could have used iron on banding but I would not have been able to scratch the bead in.

I'm going to create a list to fiqure out what I need to do finish up this damn thing.

Barry
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 PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 09 6:15 pm   
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Finally a woodworker has seen the light!!!!!

Hey Barry...........don't call it plywood........it's been beat up so much by people who hate it and don't use that it has a bad connotation.

The material you are using, is what I referr to as the sweet science of Flat Panel Cabinetmaking. It doesn't matter what the core, lumber, ply, chip core, mdf.........its a flat panel man and its a viable building material.

The key long term, is to lay your veneer. Veneer species selections are unbelievable, you'll work with stuff you can't get in solid wood or can't afford. You have to gain as much control of the material you can. When you hear indidviduals complaining about how thin the face veneer is on a sheet of oak ply, you know they didn't lay their own veneer.

Try costing out any size piece , start at a small nightstand in birdseye maple, you'll find its cost prohibitive..........but you'll build that same piece in birdseye veneer with birdseye solids.

Don't let people beat you up on the material.......it works well on fine furniture.

Neil


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 PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 09 1:12 pm   
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Neil,
You comments are right on point, to me anyway. I think you may see where I am heading. you are absolutely correct about the veneer aspect of the "plywood" idea. I wanted to see if I could make something that looked great, but saved some cashola. I have used veneer in the past on a couple of cigar boxes and was pleased. I wanted to try this cabinet before I attempted to veneer a larger panel.

In the most recent FWW, Mack Arnold made a tabletop with veneer that looked incredible. I want to get to that point. I am what I would consider an advanced amatuer. My wife and friends think otherwise. I still beleive that one must crawl before walking and running.

Thanks for the comments.
Barry

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 PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 09 5:10 pm   
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yeah....neil likes to think there is a conspiracy out there with all the "traditional builders" or the romantics.. :evil: :shock: .i just want to see your project compleated...so if you got ply..get er done...i think if you want to build a veneered table ..awesome...i was hoping to do a 207 project just like it...i think there is room for all types of material and combinations are cool too....as long as it is part of the design...i say use what you got....its all good...just not on a bombe :lol:

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 PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 09 7:51 pm   
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Ain't no way I'm building a bombe' with plywood, you must have lost your mind.

There is definately a time and place for veneered panels. Hook us up with the table Tommy I'd like to see what you come up with. Mostly how you will clamp the top. I know you are a fan of the pre-glued iron on veneer panel.

I worked on the cabinet today. I screwed the lattice in place from the top and bottom. Mounted some of the hardware. The rest of hardware will be here next week. Any tips on tarnishing brass?

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 PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 09 8:37 pm   
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I thought it would be neat to make a bombe out of a plywood of sorts. You could laminate a bunch of alternating veneers over a curve. Then, mill it into boards and make a bombe out of it. Essentially, it creates a board with perfect growth ring patterns and whatever color you want. It could make a really psychedelic piece of furniture. The same could be done with any piece where you use the growth rings. Cabriole legs would look crazy. You could even create new, "impossible" growth ring patterns.


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 PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 09 6:10 am   
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hehe...thats why eli is a big part of my shop and the 207....da boyz crazi :shock:

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 PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 09 3:08 pm   
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Eli you got me thinking. That would be crazy to do a panel like that. If you take 3 sheets of bender board on a jig, slap some wackydoodle veneer on it, clamp that joker up. Boy it would be on point. I'm doing it!!!!!!!

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 PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 09 3:03 am   
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Eli Cleveland wrote:
I thought it would be neat to make a bombe out of a plywood of sorts. You could laminate a bunch of alternating veneers over a curve. Then, mill it into boards and make a bombe out of it. Essentially, it creates a board with perfect growth ring patterns and whatever color you want. It could make a really psychedelic piece of furniture. The same could be done with any piece where you use the growth rings. Cabriole legs would look crazy. You could even create new, "impossible" growth ring patterns.


that's why veneer is so great !! ;)
You can make stuff that is not possible in solid wood.

I've just remembered about this article, it is sort of Eli's idea:
"Stacked Plywood - A fluid alternative to hardwood"
by Ellen Swartz, FWW #6 (it is available on-line if you do
not have a vintage collection of FWW as Neil)

Or stuff like http://www.dezeen.com/2008/12/08/julia- ... h-century/

-Ronaldo

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 PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 09 10:05 pm   
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They are some ultra modern chairs there! I wonder how they were made. Interesting to say the least.

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 PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 09 10:31 am   
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Now we're getting good and funky. What I find interesting about the plywood post is that this is an approach to woodworking done in the 70's.

Barry to see how, look up a book by Dona Meilach, Creating Modern Furniture. Wonderful book to stir up latent creativity.

Another interesting observation is that the creators currently re-working this style to the next level, are woodworker's from outside the US. Rondo shows a woodworker from Brazil, I've seen work from a guy in Israel re-working a style from this same time period.

Building in this style is tough physical work, lots of cutting, pounding, carving, grinding.......when you're done it feels like a days work. Here in the US, we shy away from this physical aspect of "scultping furniture". :? I do have a few thoughts on why.


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 PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 09 5:39 am   
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I do not know if the other guys are aware that this approach
comes from 70's in the US.
I would guess the outside Us guys did "re-discover" the approach, pretty much as Eli did.

What I think is interesting is that the idea, in general, is similar to Wendell Castle's pieces of stacked wood (well a kind of plywood), just that they use the alternating layers to give a different visual appeal.

-Ronaldo

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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 12 4:57 am   
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what about MDF and "fine furniture"?

http://www.wright20.com/auctions/view/K ... one/BZL5/0

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 PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 12 11:57 pm   
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[quote="Ronaldo"]what about MDF and "fine furniture"?

What's your definition of fine furniture? Some think the use of MDF lowers the quality of the piece and the craft in general. I disagree. I view MDF as a canvas in which to decorate , be it with complex veneer lay ups or polyester or faux finishes.

As long as certain precautions are taken regarding the edges, and it's used in the right area relevant to the piece one's making I see no problem using it. I did use it exclusively for veneering but have changed to the mother of all substrates. Plyboo.

It's been around for a while but not to many people veneer over it due to the cost, it's also viewed a decorative in its natural state . But as a substrate to make carcasses for larger pieces it's one of the best substrates since MDF. Stress relived, comes off the beam saw and slider as straight as an arrow, holds construction dowels like a rock, screw holding power is incredible, Naturally moisture resistant, doesn't absorb glue like rotary plywood and mdf, vary dense face grain. It's a good idea to hit it with a toothing blade prior to veneering over. 1/8th to 1 inch thick 4x10 panels. and of course it's a green product which is becoming the norm. Cost is about $80.00 to $100.00 for 3/4- 4x8. less if you buy a unit of 40.

Bamboo...... 1000 and 1 uses.


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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 12 1:41 am   
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I hadn't considered bamboo plywood as a product...

are those pics of what the core looks like on it?

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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 12 2:27 am   
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What you see there is exactly how it arrives. if your going to use it as is, it comes natural and caramelized which would be the bottom sample in the above photo. . top and back plies which are really 1/4 x 1/4 bamboo glued up are a healthy 1/4 inch thick, impossible to sand through unless you fall asleep with a belt sander in your hand ;) .

There are a couple of other versions which are made for different applications. different ply configurations.

Amazing substrate so far.....


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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 12 4:43 am   
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new york new york wrote:
Ronaldo wrote:
what about MDF and "fine furniture"?

What's your definition of fine furniture?
Some think the use of MDF lowers the quality of the piece and the craft in general. I disagree. I view MDF as a canvas in which to decorate , be it with complex veneer lay ups or polyester or faux finishes.

that beats me. I have issues with terms like "fine" furniture, "museum quality" furniture, "fine" woodworking, etc...
I use ply or mdf as substrate, and totally agree with you; but I see the furniture as "dressed up" in veneer instead of "painted over" (as you said canvas), but the core idea is the same ;)

new york new york wrote:
It's a good idea to hit it with a toothing blade prior to veneering over

why?? modern glues are not gap filling and a very thin layer of glue is
the best thing for a solid glue up, unless you fear the joint
to be starved due to pressure.

bamboo ply.jpg looks a lot like "lumbercore" (or "latté" in French)
the stuff one would use or expect in "fine" furniture
(but not a lot are willing to pay for the extra work...)

the cons of MDF is that it is a bit "heavy" (dense), really abrasive (hello carbide tools) and produces ultra fine dust, what about PlyBoo?

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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 12 4:45 am   
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i was wondering about weight and product availability.

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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 12 9:45 am   
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I like the nice thick face veneer.

How is the flatness compared to the various sheet products available?

any moisture issues?

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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 12 11:01 am   
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FLWoodRat wrote:
i was wondering about weight and product availability.


Quite popular in FLA. The last time I installed it was in large quantities was FLA. Orlando , Kissimmee at an upscale Marriot. If you've ever humped a piece of 1 inch MDF 4 x 8, anything after that is like lifting a feather.

farms100 wrote:
I like the nice thick face veneer.

How is the flatness compared to the various sheet products available?

any moisture issues?


Every piece cut for some reason remains dead flat and straight, no bowing . Naturally moisture resistant, probably why they make cutting boards out of it. the only draw back is the slivers, shear agony. There like the size of a hair and almost impossible to find.

Ronaldo wrote:
new york new york wrote:
Ronaldo wrote:
what about MDF and "fine furniture"?

What's your definition of fine furniture?
Some think the use of MDF lowers the quality of the piece and the craft in general. I disagree. I view MDF as a canvas in which to decorate , be it with complex veneer lay ups or polyester or faux finishes.

that beats me. I have issues with terms like "fine" furniture, "museum quality" furniture, "fine" woodworking, etc...
I use ply or mdf as substrate, and totally agree with you; but I see the furniture as "dressed up" in veneer instead of "painted over" (as you said canvas), but the core idea is the same ;)

new york new york wrote:
It's a good idea to hit it with a toothing blade prior to veneering over

why?? modern glues are not gap filling and a very thin layer of glue is
the best thing for a solid glue up, unless you fear the joint
to be starved due to pressure.

bamboo ply.jpg looks a lot like "lumbercore" (or "latté" in French)
the stuff one would use or expect in "fine" furniture
(but not a lot are willing to pay for the extra work...)

the cons of MDF is that it is a bit "heavy" (dense), really abrasive (hello carbide tools) and produces ultra fine dust, what about PlyBoo?


Agreed, its fabricated in the same manner as lumber core, but the core pieces are a lot smaller which I believe is what makes it so stable. Lumber core is 90% core and 10% faces and back, this stuff is almost divided in thirds, the core being just a wee bit thicker. Toothing just provides more glue surface and its a habit when solids are involved. The fibers are very tight and the face is dense so the thought is to provide the glue to at least penetrate the surface.

Almost zero formaldehyde. Glue used is Urea 2.

Won't be long before Greenpeace gets involved claiming were killing off the panda bear and the cost will triple.


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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 12 12:18 pm   
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i wonder if Bamboo will become the core of choice for veneering?

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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 12 12:35 pm   
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Price has to drop considerably for that to happen. If it gets down to 30.00 top end for a sheet it will be more widely used.

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