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Real Wood Panels or Man-made?

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Forum topic by Tyler posted 04-04-2012 07:05 PM 1266 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tyler

174 posts in 2153 days


04-04-2012 07:05 PM

Getting ready to build a desk similar to the one pictured below and was wondering if its better to build the panels with real wood or some kind of man-made core? There will be about 15 feet (in width) worth of panels in this l-shaped desk.

Wood used will be walnut.

I have some obvious concerns about movement, so just wondering what all you would use?

Here is the back of the desk (one panel will be 5’ and another will be 6’):

Here is the desk overall:


9 replies so far

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Loren

8295 posts in 3108 days


#1 posted 04-04-2012 07:13 PM

If you use solid wood panels the maximum width for each one is
about 20” so you’ll want to put additional verticals in the frame.

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bondogaposis

4020 posts in 1811 days


#2 posted 04-04-2012 08:20 PM

For that desk, I would use plywood.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Loren

8295 posts in 3108 days


#3 posted 04-04-2012 08:25 PM

You can get veneered ply with the veneers running across the panel
in order to do the grain effect you seen in the sample desk.

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Tyler

174 posts in 2153 days


#4 posted 04-05-2012 12:21 PM

I wonder if running the grain horizontally with real wood panels would make a difference?

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2528 days


#5 posted 04-05-2012 02:22 PM

What’s the longest panel you’ll need? Only the apron for the main desk section looks like it’s really long (~60”?), and that could easily be made in two ~30” pieces. A sheet of 1/4” walnut veneer ply, should give you all the panels you need for this desk.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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Domer

252 posts in 2826 days


#6 posted 04-05-2012 02:45 PM

I think it depends.

The man made panels are a lot easier to use.

But I think the solid wood panels are a lot better looking and can be repaired if they get dinged. If you are making the desk thinking it will get passed down to your kids and grand kids, I would use the solid wood.

My 2 cents worth.

Domer

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2310 days


#7 posted 04-05-2012 03:18 PM

It’s a traditional design, Tyler, so the grain direction is driven by that. While all the panels are traditionally vertical, you can do the drawer fronts either way and it will look “correct” or “typical” or even “right.”

Another consideration, if you do panels with stiles, is getting the layout to look right from angle views. If your modesty panels work out to be about 17 wide and your end panel is 24, it will look busy and disturbing to the eye. Ply panels, 5.2 as suggested, carefully edgematched, will make a nice look. Rather than try to get the panels to meet flush, I’ll bevel very slightly the edge of both where they join, and work this into a pleasing layout so those joints are actually a subtle design feature.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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Tyler

174 posts in 2153 days


#8 posted 04-05-2012 04:17 PM

Good point about being able to repair a wood panel, and yes it would be nice to have a piece that I could hand down – but no one may want it!

Lee – those are excellent points about design and I think that adding stiles could easily get busy.

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2528 days


#9 posted 04-05-2012 06:49 PM

Whether, or not, a piece gets handed down will be the decision of the folks who are offered the piece rather than the person making the offer.

SWMBO has a wardrobe that was owned by her g-grandmother and has passed to her now that her mother is in an assisted care home. I’ve done some work on it and am pretty sure that it’s a factory made piece from sometime in the 1890’s. It is possibly one of the ugliest pieces of furniture I’ve ever seen. Even SWMBO admits that she wouldn’t give it a second look if it was in an antique store. Three generations in the family, however, have given this piece a nearly shrine-like status. In all fairness, I have some items that have been passed down through a few generations that are junk – except in my eyes. – lol

The moral of the story is that heirloom status is usually more about WHO has owned it rather that how well it was made.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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