Inlay wide veneer on ply/mdf?

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Forum topic by sasseriansection posted 11-29-2011 05:40 PM 939 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1791 days

11-29-2011 05:40 PM

Looking some input on a current build. The end result will be a torsion box that will have a stripe of wood veneer down the middle third, and the outside two thirds will be painted.

The obvious is to make a full veneer sheet for all sides with the stripe (size of box is about 4’ x 2’ x 2”), but is it feasible to do it like an inlay, and rout a approximately 1.3’ wide dado .020” deep in the plywood to receieve a .03” thick piece of veneer, which would then be sanded flush.

Glue would probably be water mix dry urea in a vacuum press. I am also open to using mdf, though I’d like to keep the box as light as possible and use ply.

Any pitfalls, additional techniques or ideas?

6 replies so far

View DS's profile


2145 posts in 1841 days

#1 posted 11-29-2011 06:14 PM

Is this right? A 1.3’ (foot) wide X 0.020” deep dado? What would you use to cut such a thing?

Even if I am using a CNC to ‘flycut’ such a wide, shallow dado, I would worry that the moisture from the glue would destabilize that portion of the panel where the dado is and cup the panel.

If I were doing this, I would pre-paint the side veneers, seam it to my center wood veneer with veneer tape, then press it to my main substrate using a backer veneer to balance the panel.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Sgt374's profile


36 posts in 2015 days

#2 posted 11-29-2011 06:15 PM

There would be no problem if your veneer is thick enough. I would say
At least a 1/16” thick. The problem with using plywood is that
Blemishes tend to telegraph through the veneer and since you will be
Routing a groove it will really create telegraph issues. You can use
Thick veneer or make your own two or three ply Veneer by applying
Backing veneer to your fancy face veneer. Alternate grain direction if done
Yourself and I would use the urea glue. If you use Pva make sure and
Give it plenty of time to cure and to let the moisture evaporate before u
Glue to substrate.

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5 posts in 1791 days

#3 posted 11-29-2011 06:37 PM

Sgt374: I’m going to fill and sand prior to painting, should I also fill and sand in the routed portion prior to veneering to eliminate telegraphing? Or will a two ply pretty much eliminate the problem?

DS251: I have a flattening jig for my router from when I didn’t have a planer that will also work for this (sled was wide enough for 16” wide boards). So far as getting proper depth, I set the router base plate or the jig legs on the veneer sheets I will be using, and then back it up with the microadjuster. I can double check the exact setting with a digital height gauge to make sure its within range.

On test pieces it has worked well, was just looking for additional input before I commit the “good stuff” to the project.

View Loren's profile


8159 posts in 3068 days

#4 posted 11-29-2011 08:17 PM

I’d probably just veneer the whole thing, use cheaper, fine-grained
veneer on the sides and paint over them after it’s done. You can
use a thicker veneer for the stripe if you want to account for the
thickness of the paint.

I think excavating a trench is just making a lot of work for yourself.

View Sgt374's profile


36 posts in 2015 days

#5 posted 11-29-2011 11:23 PM

I would not attempt an excavation unless you are using Baltic birch plywood which has no voids. Ultimately I agree with Loren: veneer the whole thing!

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5 posts in 1791 days

#6 posted 11-29-2011 11:32 PM

Excellent point on the voids… This is a better quality ply (A 1 sided), but it does have voids and folded internal plys. I think that pretty much nails it down for veneering a full sheet, as MDF would end up being too heavy with its own thickness or a tighter grid for the thinner stuff, and true baltic birch is near on as heavy as MDF, not to mention being nearly double the price.

Thanks for all the insight!

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