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Solid wood or plywood?

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Forum topic by GT350 posted 09-09-2015 01:00 PM 801 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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GT350

352 posts in 1447 days


09-09-2015 01:00 PM

Hi all, I am going to build a couple of dressers out of Cherry, they will have solid sides not frame and panel. The question I have is what would be best, solid wood or plywood. I have always preferred solid wood and I am looking to build heirloom quality dressers. I don’t like plywood as well because of the thin veneer and I will account for wood movement on the sides and tops. What would you do and which would have the longest life?
Thanks
Mike


13 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4035 posts in 1817 days


#1 posted 09-09-2015 01:05 PM

Heirloom quality = solid wood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3945 posts in 1959 days


#2 posted 09-09-2015 01:08 PM

Skipping the “what is best” question, I would use plywood. It’s not perfect, even more so with cherry and the color matching problems. But plywood has a lot of advantages (in my book) and I use it for most stuff that has a large panel as opposed to gluing that panel up from solid wood. This question comes up from time to time, and past replies show I’m in the minority…but that’s never bothered me before. It is, after all, only my opinion. That said, if I was building something I think would truly be heirloom quality; I would use solid wood.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23188 posts in 2332 days


#3 posted 09-09-2015 01:21 PM

From your post you prefer solid wood. You can obviously build an heirloom dresser with solid wood so I would definitely use solid wood. If you decide to use plywood I would make sure that you used the best and buy it from a store where you can look thru a ‘few’ sheets to eliminate warped sheets and small defects.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7174 posts in 2263 days


#4 posted 09-09-2015 02:50 PM

Personally I’d use high quality plywood and do my own veneering. If high quality plywood had been available a couple of hundred years ago we would have a different concept of “heritage quality”. ....... IMHO

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View sawdust703's profile

sawdust703

270 posts in 886 days


#5 posted 09-10-2015 02:55 PM

From your post, your preference is wood. Use wood. And if you’re making a family heirloom, I’d use wood. You’ll be a lot happier with the strength, looks, & it’ll hold up over time. Forget the plywood on this project, if it were me.

-- Sawdust703

View GT350's profile

GT350

352 posts in 1447 days


#6 posted 09-16-2015 02:44 AM

Thanks for the comments, I will post pictures when I am done.
Mike

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2279 days


#7 posted 09-16-2015 05:22 AM

I think frame and panel with solid wood panels is a good way to go. It solves the significant issue of wood movement, and looks great with most styles.
My second choice would be solid wood sides.
Third choice would be wood frames with 1/2” premium plywood panels, which also looks very good.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3553 posts in 1233 days


#8 posted 09-16-2015 12:26 PM

You always can combine the two as shipwright suggested. Use 1/2” plywood and 1/4” cherry solid wood.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

808 posts in 2315 days


#9 posted 09-16-2015 05:21 PM

+1 for using both though finding good 11 ply veneer ply can be difficult, I drive a 3 hour round trip to get it. This project has QS cherry for the end panels, face frame, doors, and the shelf fronts, the top is still in progress, but it will be solid 1” cherry with a border inlay. The rest of the cab is 3/4” 11 ply cherry veneer ply wood and the back is 1/4” veneer core plywood.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View GT350's profile

GT350

352 posts in 1447 days


#10 posted 09-16-2015 05:57 PM

I haven’t thought about inlays, that would be a nice touch. I have multiple pieces with frame and panel so I thought just to mix things up I would go with solid sides.
Mike

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#11 posted 09-16-2015 07:00 PM

Well it depends, either will work. It depends on what you want, your skill level, what tools you have, how much time and money you want to spend and other stuff.

I tend to go with solid wood for something like a dresser. A dresser in my mind is more a piece of furniture than a cabinet. It think you have more design possibilities with solid wood than with plywood because you don’t have to worry about the exposed edges of plywood.

For a dresser with solid wood doesn’t have to be frame and panel. It can be as simple as 4 glued up panels joined at the four corners with dovetails, box joints or what ever you like.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

808 posts in 2315 days


#12 posted 09-16-2015 08:15 PM

DAUM Alaskaguy! Thatsa nice dresser!!! LOvethe feet and the DT drawer frames are Nice! Do you do a full dust frame for the drawer or install slides?

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1775 days


#13 posted 09-16-2015 08:53 PM

No dust frames. This is where some would say I cheat but I just hung the drawer on full extension drawer slide. Not because it’s easier but because I like the functionally of the full extension slides.

Thanks for you comment.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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