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Forum topic by Doktourjay posted 11-10-2014 09:49 PM 1039 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Doktourjay

4 posts in 760 days


11-10-2014 09:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

So today I went to unfinished furniture store. The representative there was very nice and was trying to be super helpful but I am a bit worried. I would like a piece of solid wood furniture that will last. What they use is plywood for the sides and solid wood for the edging. He told me that if it was all solid wood the grain would actually cause the wood to cup over time. They use 7-layered 3/4 inch plywood I am the outer 2 layers would be cedar while the middle 5 are made out of fur.
I am a complete novice when it comes to woods and woodworking and I looking for a heirloom piece. Again the representative was really nice and this place has nothing but positive reviews. I just want to make sure I will get a piece that will last.


11 replies so far

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WhyMe

617 posts in 1028 days


#1 posted 11-10-2014 11:06 PM

Solid wood furniture is going to be pricier than furniture made using furniture grade plywood. The look will be as good using plywood and the stability of using plywood will be more reliable. Solid wood furniture that has any large panels takes special fastening techniques to prevent cupping and cracking. Solid wood just has a market appeal greater than plywood when used in furniture.

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Rob

704 posts in 2538 days


#2 posted 11-10-2014 11:49 PM

In addition to what WhyMe mentioned, there are different grades of plywood. The plywood you describe is pretty standard and may be at the upper end of what you’d find at a big-box home center, or maybe a little better.

The face veneers (the outer 2 layers) are practically paper-thin and easy to damage on the stuff you typically get from the home center. The top-grade plywoods have more plies made from nicer wood such as birch, and their face veneers are thicker at about 1/32” to 1/30”. But higher-grade plywood can also cost more than twice as much as the standard stuff. For example, Baltic birch works out to about $3/sq. ft. in my area, and 7-ply hardwood plywood is about $1.50/sq. ft. at my local Lowe’s.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

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Doktourjay

4 posts in 760 days


#3 posted 11-11-2014 12:16 AM

I want to thank you both for helping me I am completely new to this and everything I read is mainly forums online. I am looking for a piece that is built to last I currently do not have kids but do plan on having some so I would like something tough which is why I read solid wood is better because it is easier to repair in case something happens.

I also would like something that I could pass down what I hear most people call heirloom pieces. Now I am not looking for something that will be worth thousands of dollars in a couple decades, but something that will stand against time. Rob I can ask them how thick the outer layer of the veneer is.

I am using Boston wood in order to make the pieces and I am using thishttp://www.pinterest.com/pin/358176976588125729/ as the base design. They told me they can use screws and glue for the joints or the dovetails and will quote me for both.

If this is something that will not last then I do not want it. Also do you know of any places whether in the New England area (if you are from around here) or online that does make fine quality furniture? Any info will be appreciated.

Thanks again

View Loren's profile

Loren

8314 posts in 3115 days


#4 posted 11-11-2014 12:21 AM

If you want to make heirloom pieces, either bite
the bullet and work with solid wood or acquire
the tools to do veneering.

Commercial veneered plywoods are not “laid-up”
aesthetically for furniture applications. They
serve a purpose for cabinetmaking and millwork.

View Gshepherd's profile

Gshepherd

1727 posts in 1668 days


#5 posted 11-11-2014 03:02 AM

For what you will pay to hve some furniture that is heirloom quality to be passed down the ages, you could buy some nice equipment and make some yourself. Depending what your looking at. If your interested in making it yourself that is. You control everythng then. Talk about having a heirloom to pass down that was made by you, One can not get any better than that. After you get some experience under your belt you will be the go to guy for your family and others as well.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

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Doktourjay

4 posts in 760 days


#6 posted 11-11-2014 03:04 AM



For what you will pay to hve some furniture that is heirloom quality to be passed down the ages, you could buy some nice equipment and make some yourself. Depending what your looking at. If your interested in making it yourself that is. You control everythng then. Talk about having a heirloom to pass down that was made by you, One can not get any better than that. After you get some experience under your belt you will be the go to guy for your family and others as well.

- Gshepherd


I would love to do it myself but I do not know the first thing about woodworking I never even took it in shop class in high school. Also atm I live in an apartment and would not have the room really to build anything.

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Andre

1023 posts in 1273 days


#7 posted 11-11-2014 03:11 AM

Probably not much help but, you get what you pay for! BUT there are people out there that will screw you so watch out!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Pezking7p's profile

Pezking7p

3097 posts in 1118 days


#8 posted 11-11-2014 03:22 AM

In my opinion, if these guys are pushing you to use plywood, do not use them.

Heirloom furniture is expensive. If that’s what you want, be prepared to spend at least a few thousand on a similar piece. And insist on dovetails and solid wood.

-- -Dan

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Doktourjay

4 posts in 760 days


#9 posted 11-11-2014 03:59 AM



In my opinion, if these guys are pushing you to use plywood, do not use them.

Heirloom furniture is expensive. If that s what you want, be prepared to spend at least a few thousand on a similar piece. And insist on dovetails and solid wood.

- Pezking7p

That is what I want. I am from Rhode Island and just moved to south of Boston for work. So I do not know the area or know if someone does that around here. I would love to work with someone face to face that can do this. I have used message boards, online searches, yelp and the best I could find is the bostonwood. They wasn’t pushy I just think that is what they make here they probably don’t have the machinery for all solid pieces as he said he would have to go through someone else for the cherry. If you or anyone knows of guy please let me know :).

View Loren's profile

Loren

8314 posts in 3115 days


#10 posted 11-11-2014 04:02 AM

Massachusetts is hotbed of studio furniture making.

If you can pay for it, the artisans are there, as
in many coastal areas.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1646 posts in 1783 days


#11 posted 11-11-2014 04:32 AM

One thing that’s important to know is that thicker is not always better when it comes to veneer. There’s a happy medium to strive for and I’d avoid anything thicker than 1/24” on the face of a plywood structure. The thicker the veneer, the more it behaves like solid wood which defeats the purpose of using veneer.

1/42” is standard thickness for veneers cut in the USA which is a tad thinner than I like but works well for decorative veneer work.

Nothing wrong with plywood furniture if designed correctly but deep dents and gouges will reveal the underlying layers of veneer which looks worse than a piece of gouged solid wood. High-end, veneered furniture suffers the same drawback but that’s a price worth paying for the aesthetic appeal if the furniture won’t be abused.

Properly built, solid wood furniture won’t cup or warp but most factory-produced furniture is priced too low for anyone to take the time to use good joinery technique.

I believe I’ve seen decent furniture made from solid oak at Amish furniture stores. You have to know how to tell the difference though and most people are incapable of identifying veneer and plywood. The Amish stuff I’ve seen is not fancy or heirloom furniture , but it appears to be decent value at middle-class prices.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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