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Plaques from 3/4" Plywood

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Forum topic by John R. posted 09-17-2007 07:08 PM 1274 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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John R.

59 posts in 2568 days


09-17-2007 07:08 PM

I am going to be making some plaques from a pattern I made using illustration board. I intend to trace the illustration board onto some kind of sheet good to act as my template. I am wondering if I should use 1/2” MDF, or if the 1/4” luan I already have will give me the edge I will need for tracing with a pencil?

As for cutting the plaques, they will be made out of 3/4” plywood. I have a 16” tabletop scroll saw, and am planning on using it to cut my plaques. However, I am wondering if a band saw would be better? There are a few somewhat delicate cuts, but I think a bandsaw could handle it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, if I do end up using a scroll saw, what kind of blade would you recommend? Again, I would be cutting 3/4” oak laminated plywood. Thanks for your input in advance.

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"


13 replies so far

View Buckskin's profile

Buckskin

486 posts in 2639 days


#1 posted 09-17-2007 07:59 PM

Your 1/4” luan should be a sufficient template. I like making my templates out of 1/8 or 1/4 tempered hardboard.

For your scroll saw I would use standard blades. If you have some really tight detail cuts you can go with the spirals. I use, almost exclusively, standard blades. Just let the tool do the work with slight pressure in the direction of the cut line. Otherwise you will be binding the saw up and tearing up blades as well as your work.

I don’t have a band saw in my arsenal but the times I have had access to one it would be a suitable tool as well for a simple pattern.

I hope this helps.

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Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2614 days


#2 posted 09-17-2007 08:21 PM

Sorry,I hate to disagree with you, Buck, but if he is using the template to pattern rout the plaque I would suggest 1/2 MDF. I’ve found the thin stuff to be too thin for the bearing on the pattern bit for my taste. If you’re not useing the pattern bit in a router just use the illustration board. It will hold up for a long time. I guess every body does it their own way but this is something I had a problem with a while ago.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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Buckskin

486 posts in 2639 days


#3 posted 09-17-2007 08:35 PM

I agree with you on the router part. Though I have seen some router templates for the 1/4 TP hardboard. For a tracing board what he has is a plenty.

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John R.

59 posts in 2568 days


#4 posted 09-17-2007 08:45 PM

You guys are good! I forgot to mention the router part, and you figured it out on your own. So, now here’s the next question: Can I skip cutting it out with the scroll saw, and go straight to a router? Or is that going to eat up bits, cause burn marks, etc…

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

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Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2614 days


#5 posted 09-17-2007 11:35 PM

Cut it out 1/8 ” outside the lines and don’t climb feed. Feed from right to left. Stick the template down with double sided tape. You get that at Woodcraft. A band saw works great for that . Just don’t try to make your pattern too complicated. Make one out of plywood and then make one out of solid. Tell me which one you like best. This needs to be done on a router table.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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WayneC

12290 posts in 2749 days


#6 posted 09-17-2007 11:47 PM

I would second the bandsaw vote and router table vote. Also consider spirial bits if your doing a lot of template work.

http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=8004&cs=8005

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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John R.

59 posts in 2568 days


#7 posted 09-18-2007 06:31 PM

Great advice guys. If I am not mistaken, a cut with a spiral bit will leave a 90 degree vertical edge, so I am thinking about using a round-over bit (if that’s the correct name). I need to put some sort of edge on it beyond a straight/vertical one, but I don’t think I can do anything too fancy because, after all, it is plywood.

Which brings me to yet another point, from which I would greatly appreciate input. I have considered using laminated MDF, mainly because I could put a “nicer” edge on it. Is this true? Or can I get a “plaque sort of look” from the edge of plywood too?

A thought: Is there a website where I can “see” what the cut will look like from a particular bit BEFORE buying the bit?

I have to admit, if it sounds like I am trying to have questions answered BEFORE testing it in the shop well, yes, I am. I have a router, a table saw, and a scroll saw, and don’t want to run out and buy a band saw if I don’t need one just yet. I have some router bits, but not what I need to make a nice edge and, again, I don’t want to buy several bits (just yet) if I am not going to NEED them now. Yes, it’s a tight-budget thing.

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

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Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2614 days


#8 posted 09-18-2007 06:46 PM

John,
The pattern bit is straight. You will need it to cut out the piece using the template. You can use the scroll saw to cut out the plywood. I’m not sure you should try to pattern rout if you do not have a router table. If the plaque is small it could be dangerous. Use the round over after the plaque is to it’s final shape. You can also cut out the plaques with a saber/jig saw( handheld). MDF will give you a nice edge if you sand it smooth and paint it. I assume you are thinking of veneered MDF used for cabinets. I suppose you could just varnish the edge as well. With what you have this might be the way to go. Just hold the bit up and look at it.
Any way how big a plaque do youneed with those little whittails in that country??? LOL

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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John R.

59 posts in 2568 days


#9 posted 09-18-2007 06:57 PM

Just hilarious! You know, we have moved into the #4 spot for big bucks in the USA!

Anyway, the plaque itself is about 16” wide x 22” tall. So, I may be able to rout the edges by clamping it down. I am prepared to buy a router table if I think for one minute that it just isn’t safe, or if I end up making a bunch of them and could save time by doing the routing on a table. I could save time this way, couldn’t I?

Are you saying I should/should not leave an 1/8 inch extra and then cut my roundover? Or, is it best to trim “on the line” with jig saw/scroll saw and then do the roundover?

I am thinking of MDF because I intend to stain and polyurethane the entire piece – front, back, edges, etc… and this, I think, would seal everything up.

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

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Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2614 days


#10 posted 09-18-2007 07:12 PM

John,
You need to go to the shop. I would suggest you get/build a good router table. If you are making one or two of these you could do it with a coping saw and sand paper. If you get good ply with a solid MDF core it will have a face of some good wood and will cut and rout well. Another good thing to have would be an oscillating spindle sander. That’s $200 for the Ridgid or the Delta. You need one of these to make good templates for the router. If you go with the scroll saw and saw next to the line you use it to clean up the edge right to the line. Another way to do this is to do what I just did and glue Flexwood onto the MDf. That would give you a good looking plaque for not much money. Flexwood runs about $105 per 4×8 sheet. Might be cheaper the other but I don’t know if you have access MDF with the veneer. Flexwood is available from WoodCraft stores and others as well.
Now, John, is that biggest Whitetail bucks? Or Bucks period? Out here we class Whitetails one notch above jackrabbits. (giggle giggle) There just hard to hit.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Woodminer's profile

Woodminer

69 posts in 2589 days


#11 posted 09-22-2007 06:08 AM

I agree with the comments about using luan for a TRACING pattern, but not for a routing pattern. If you want to get it down to a place where you can rout your plaque, it’s hard to beat MDF. You can sand it smooth enough to make routing a pleasure, even if you have to do it on a two or three stage rout.

If you’re only making one plaque, you have to cut to the line eventually. Your roundover has to start from your finished size or you’ll end up with a squirrelly edge. Most roundover bits have either a carbide rider or a bearing. If the edge that the bearing or rider has to glide on is rough, your roundover cut will be rough. It’s all about following the guide edge.

Thos. is suggesting a router table, but for your 16×22 plaque, it might be better to clamp it to a table and rout it that way, by moving the router instead of the wood. Unless you can build and house a router table that’s a heck of a lot larger than the space I can afford! With a large enough table it would be okay, but again, it would have to be fairly substantial, IMO.

Does that make any sense??

-- Dean, Missouri

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Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2614 days


#12 posted 09-22-2007 01:55 PM

Dean, I didn’t think about how small some of the router tables are. Mine is 24 by 48 so It works on pretty big items. You are probably right.I always have trouble pattern routing if I don’t use the table.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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John R.

59 posts in 2568 days


#13 posted 09-24-2007 07:29 PM

Thanks guys, I intend to get to the shop in the next week or so. It looks like one of the first things I’ll need is the oscillating spindle sander, something I didn’t even know existed – which is exactly why I am posting here – because I NEED your help. I will try clamping and see how that works. If I need a large router table, then that’s what I want to buy the FIRST time, instead of buying a less expensive small one, only to have to turn around and invest in a bigger one shortly thereafter. I’m SURE I will be back with more questions. Thanks again!!!!

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

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