bending pylwood

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Forum topic by baby86bear posted 01-25-2012 08:13 PM 1816 views 2 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View baby86bear's profile


15 posts in 1752 days

01-25-2012 08:13 PM

I have a Dr. Seuss style bookcase that i have been asked to make for a friends daughter. i have cut the front and back out with the shelves. but, here is the issue, i cant get the curves of sides to look right. i have used laminate strips, no good!! thin plywood but, it has the ability to crack.

if there is anyone in the lumberjock world that can help, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

11 replies so far

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2340 days

#1 posted 01-25-2012 08:35 PM

Cut notches in the back of the PW. How tight of a radius are you trying to bend and what size PW?

-- Life is good.

View Grandpa's profile


3256 posts in 2093 days

#2 posted 01-25-2012 09:32 PM

They do make bendable plywood. It just flexes when handled

View Loren's profile


8157 posts in 3065 days

#3 posted 01-25-2012 09:50 PM

You can get the Italian bending poplar and laminate it to hold the
bend. You can also get 3/8” thick “wiggle wood” which bends
in one direction quite a lot. Fastened to a frame with the curve,
the wiggle wood will seem quite solid.

View rcs47's profile


182 posts in 2546 days

#4 posted 01-26-2012 12:22 AM

Here is a site that carries different bending plywoods.

I have not used these people. I found them when searching for bending plywood because I’ve been thinking about making a cyclone.

Good luck,

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1467 posts in 2516 days

#5 posted 01-26-2012 12:30 AM

Rick L
How do those sites help in this thread?????

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1509 posts in 3542 days

#6 posted 01-26-2012 01:37 AM

I’ve heard, but haven’t tried, that you can also take one face off of ¼” 3 ply plywood to get a reasonable bendy ply, do that with a few pieces and laminate ‘em together?

(I have cut slits along the back of a piece of ply to bend it, and that’s worked fairly well when the back is completely hidden.)

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View William's profile


9906 posts in 2259 days

#7 posted 01-26-2012 03:04 AM

I’m curious how tight a radius you’re having to bend. I have made boat themed shelves using quarter inch plywood with no problems.

Another option is to cut shallow kerf cuts along the inside of the curved plywood. This allows it to bend around tight radiuses without cracking.


View cobb769's profile


29 posts in 1506 days

#8 posted 10-22-2013 03:19 PM

BabyBear, How did your bookshelves turn out? I’m making a set right now and decided to go with 1.5” pine strips on the sides. I nailed them into the front frame and back. Mine will be painted, but after a little wood filler and sanding, they look amazing. The solid pine also added a lot of stability.

-- Patrick "Pacman" Cobb, North Carolina

View cobb769's profile


29 posts in 1506 days

#9 posted 10-22-2013 03:20 PM

Here is an unfinished picture of my bookshelf, but you can see how the pine strips work for the sides.

-- Patrick "Pacman" Cobb, North Carolina

View a1Jim's profile


115166 posts in 2994 days

#10 posted 10-22-2013 03:32 PM

Cool design nice work.

-- Custom furniture

View cobb769's profile


29 posts in 1506 days

#11 posted 10-22-2013 05:46 PM

Thanks Jim. I’ll add this full project next week once I’m complete with the trio. You can see the smaller two in the background (less their sides). I experimented around with some bendi plywood and laminate, but was ultimately very satisfied with the strip sides.

-- Patrick "Pacman" Cobb, North Carolina

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