Solid pine or plywood frames?

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Forum topic by Randy Sharp posted 01-11-2010 10:53 PM 1402 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3910 days

01-11-2010 10:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question chest drawers

Fellow LJ’s,

A friend wants me to build a couple of these chests for his children’s rooms. To contain costs, I’m considering deviating from plans that call for solid pine throughout and use 3/4 ply for the top, bottom and drawer internal support frames. I would edge the front of the frames with 1 inch of pine for aesthetics.

I would expect to get a more stable unit that would alleviate some of the expansion and contraction issues.

What are your thoughts? Any reason I shouldn’t use plywood for the frames that would not be seen? Thanks for your input.

New Yankee Chest of Drawers

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

7 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3886 days

#1 posted 01-11-2010 10:59 PM

I think plywood would work very well for this one. I find that maple compliments and matches baltic birch beautifully for face frames.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3718 days

#2 posted 01-11-2010 11:31 PM

I would use ply too. I think it would work out just fine.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View PaulfromVictor's profile


228 posts in 3583 days

#3 posted 01-11-2010 11:42 PM

I would use solid pine for the top.

Are you staining it ?

If your friend is paying the bill, I would ask your friend.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4456 days

#4 posted 01-11-2010 11:58 PM

Hi, Randy.

Personally, I wouldn’t do it. The pine is going to be lighter and easier to work. Edging the plywood is going to be a fair amount of extra labor. And if any mating surfaces don’t line up just right, or any nicks happen, you can’t do much sanding on plywood.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3606 days

#5 posted 01-12-2010 12:07 AM

I’m siding with Charlie on this one. Pine is cheap enough to go solid wood. Decent Ply would probably cost more anyway.

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3910 days

#6 posted 01-12-2010 12:29 AM

Thank you all. Charlie and Dan have convinced me of what my heart was telling me – do it first rate and you won’t regret it. I believe plywood would do as good a job and might save a few pennies, but there is a certain personal pride that comes with using solid wood throughout.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3336 days

#7 posted 01-13-2010 02:14 AM

Pine has gotten a bad rap because people think if you’re going to use boards, go with oak, maple etc. and because pine is cheaper, you might as well use a veneered plywood and make it “look” like oak or birch.
Pine is beautiful if loving care is taken when building it, as well as finishing it. Would your friend consider Knotty pine, and would it work for his/her decorating scheme?
Clear or knotty can turn out to be a beautiful piece, being joint glued panels and all. Plywood is plywood and always has that manufactured look. A good eye can always tell.

Just my opinion.

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