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Forum topic by Rayp posted 464 days ago 595 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rayp

4 posts in 465 days


464 days ago

I make artwork on thin copper sheet that I want to mount onto wood panels (with standoffs on the back to give a floating appearance) to be hung on a wall. The copper sheet is mounted to the wood with DAP contact cement. For some of the smaller pieces (8”x11”) I’ve used ¼” sandy ply from Homedepot, but it has tended to warp. For bigger pieces (2’x2’) I want to use something about ½” thick.

Can anyone recommend the best wood to use in ¼” & ½” thicknesses that won’t warp? The pieces are meant for indoor use, but should also be able to hold up to outdoor use in sheltered areas and the humidity of a bathroom. Cost is a consideration too. I’ve thought about using MDF, but I don’t know how well it would hold up to any humidity or how well it would hold the screws used to attach the hanging hardware (eyelets & wire). I’m not a wood worker so any advice is appreciated!


12 replies so far

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3130 posts in 2322 days


#1 posted 464 days ago

Baltic birch plywood extremely stable and you could dye stain for a striking contrast to your copper art

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Triumph1

828 posts in 1578 days


#2 posted 464 days ago

The problem could be that you are only gluing the copper to one side of the plywood. Now one side is copper and one side is wood. They will expand and contract differently causing warping. The standard in veneering is to glue/attach something to the two sides at the same time to equalize the wood. Now, I am not sure what you could put on the other side opposite of the copper. I know copper is at a high so I am sure you don’t want to waste a piece on the back. You might want to experiment a bit.

If you use MDF you would probably have to seal it. As for mounting screws a little trick I use is to pre-drill the hole and then apply super glue (cv) into it. The MDF seems to suck that up nicely and then it hardens.

-- Jeff , Illinois Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

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Rayp

4 posts in 465 days


#3 posted 464 days ago

Thanks for the information guys, I’ll look into your recommendations and give them a try!

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2225 posts in 850 days


#4 posted 464 days ago

MDF would be another option. It tends not to warp, but it cannot get wet.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1499 posts in 1420 days


#5 posted 464 days ago

baltic birch is what I would use.

-- In God We Trust

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1683 posts in 1063 days


#6 posted 464 days ago

possibly try some bamboo? It might do better in the wet areas than the mdf or baltic birch that others suggested

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

6738 posts in 2146 days


#7 posted 464 days ago

I think Baltic birch would be good. It won’t stay totally flat
unfinished in this application.

Even a simple finish like paste wax will help stabilize the
plywood a bit.

Home Depot is not a good source of stable plywood. I have
seen they are stocking some ply that appears to be
cabinet grade now, but time will tell if the stuff is
equal to the name brands you get from plywood dealers.

View lowellmk's profile

lowellmk

61 posts in 471 days


#8 posted 464 days ago

I think I would use Baltic Birch as well. I think you would be hard pressed to find this at Home Depot.

-- Wag more, bark less.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

1130 posts in 756 days


#9 posted 464 days ago

For exterior applications you could try MDO. It is expensive, but it is used to make road signs. I agree that if the copper is glued to the substrate, something is needed on the back side to prevent warping.

-- Art

View Rayp's profile

Rayp

4 posts in 465 days


#10 posted 463 days ago

Thanks for all your replies, it’s definitely given me things to think about and try. It looks like Baltic birch plywood is the leading suggestion, so I’ll probably start with that…maybe with a coating of some sort on the exposed back side. Loren suggests paste wax. Any other coating suggestions, a shellac of some sort?

View Mark Kornell's profile (online now)

Mark Kornell

401 posts in 1029 days


#11 posted 462 days ago

Baltic Birch is definitely a good choice, for 1/2”. 1/4” BB will warp, just like regular ply. For that application, I’d suggest hardboard (which is available at your local big box retail outlet, unlike BB). Won’t stand up to a wet environment, but should be OK with something that is just “humid”.

For a back coating, you want something that has the same kind of permeability to moisture as does copper, which is essentially impermeable. No standard wood finishes will keep out moisture to that extent – not wax, not latex paint, not shellac, not poly, etc. Maybe a thick, bartop finish style epoxy. It is the uneven moisture absorption that leads to the warping, not moisture absorption, per se.

So, look for something like aluminum sheet (paint it to prevent oxidation), thick mylar, maybe even countertop laminate.

For that matter, what about making your backing board out of lexan or plexiglass? More expensive, but no humidity issues, ever. Paintable, so you can disguise what it is…

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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Rayp

4 posts in 465 days


#12 posted 462 days ago

um…all good ideas. I’m thinking I’ll probably go with baltic birch and seal the exposed back as good as I can. Plexiglass would solve all warping issues, but as you said, a bit more expensive. Thanks again everyone, I appreciate all your feedback!

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