sculpting laminated wood

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Forum topic by Noor posted 09-22-2011 06:17 PM 3801 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Noor's profile


6 posts in 2437 days

09-22-2011 06:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plywood scuplture paul baden

I was really inspired by Paul Baden’s sculptures using laminated wood:
So I decided to jump in. I got some kitchen cabinet doors circa 1960 from a Freecycle listing. Nice maple-veneered, close to marine-grade plywood. Best plywood that I ever never paid for.
I sanded off the finish, glued them together, and then went to work. Well, sanding them was actually a lot of work.
I shaped the big laminated block with a chainsaw. I was going for a simple abstract shape, a seed pod of sorts. Hey, it’s my first attempt.
Then I refined the shape with a reciprocating saw. Next, a 60-grit flap disc in a 4 1/2” grinder. Dust city!
Then, a belt sander to get is smoother. Next, I tried a random orbital sander. But I still have a wavy surface.
Nothing like Paul’s work. Now I’m running out of tools to throw at it. I can’t hand carve it. It’s too nasty for that.
I could perhaps hand sand it if I live that long.
I was thinking about drooping it on the un-backed part of my knife grinder to get some sanding belt wrap-around on the shape, perhaps get out the waves, but that just sounds dicey – it’s heavy and about 30” tall.
I realize that sculpting end-grain plywood is not everybody’s dream job, but I could use a few more ideas.

3 replies so far

View GaryW's profile


125 posts in 2460 days

#1 posted 09-24-2011 03:57 AM

what about a hand held one inch belt sander, I’ve seen then on the car shows. Or some of that Dragon skin shaver, or a body filler rasp, cuts wood too.

-- GaryW, Edgefield SC, Too old to start over, can't remember why...

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2982 days

#2 posted 09-24-2011 04:19 AM

I’ve had good luck with 40-grit in a beltsander and a lot of patience.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Noor's profile


6 posts in 2437 days

#3 posted 09-26-2011 05:10 PM

Thanks. I have a 1” belt sander coming, and 2 folks have suggested a regular belt sander (and patience).
I think the patience part is what’s in short supply.
I actually got response back from the artist Paul Baden, who reminded me that the layers may have different degrees of hardness, which makes it difficult to sand smoothly (without patience).

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