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wood vs veneered plywood

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Forum topic by pallystu posted 12-27-2014 03:06 PM 882 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pallystu

75 posts in 1069 days


12-27-2014 03:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question veneering shaping joining

Hello im pretty new to wood working…iv only got into it a little bit the last few years. I always faced a few barriers when it comes to building things (mostly a lack of tools) and I think I may have came up with a way to get past them.

I got laid off of my CNC job and work fast food for the mean time so money is rather tight so I cant really buy a lot of tools…In the last two years I got a good amount of tools from gift cards (compound miter saw, rockler blade runner, few drills, dremel, sanders, and a router being the only power tools and then some hand tools like squares clamps files etc) so I got pretty much every thing I need for the smaller projects I make such as keep sake boxes…the only issue I have is that I don’t have a jointer, a planer, or any hand planes to square up lumber to use…they are really costly so my budget wont let me buy them right now.

so the question is do you think that using plywood and veneering it would be a good way to go about things?

birch plywood is pretty cheap here and it already comes flat and square so I can base my cuts off of edges pretty accurately with the tools have. I also have been practicing veneering lately and found a way to do it with what I have.

I do have a wood working store near me that sells rough cut lumber and some S4S lumber and can do the mill work for you but for a fee of course…they do have an option where they can rip an edge and s2s for about $15 so I could do that as well but I would be stuck with 4/4 lumber since I don’t have a band saw and a planer to resaw the boards thinner and they charge like $50-75 to resaw and surface some lumber.

so in this situation do you think it would just be better to go the route of veneering plywood or finding a way to use some 4/4 lumber in smaller boxes?

-- take your time


12 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3928 posts in 1954 days


#1 posted 12-27-2014 04:05 PM

I’m a big fan of plywood, but not generally in keepsake boxes and other small items. It pretty much keeps you from profiling any edges and such stuff. But that’s my opinion, and what counts is your own. So maybe try to build one or two and see what you think, it may well be exactly what you envisioned.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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RogerBean

1602 posts in 2414 days


#2 posted 12-27-2014 04:21 PM

I guess I’ll take the opposite position by advocating ply as the carcase for veneered boxes. It’s stable, strong, available, and lends itself to joining with simple rabbet joinery. The majority of my boxes are made that way. It offers many more alternatives than solid wood, though it is more time consuming to build than solids. You might want to check out Andrew Crawford’s books (The Book of Boxes, or Fine Decorative Boxes) or the three ebooks by me that are available for download at www.smartboxmaker.com.

Solid wood boxes are indeed faster to make, easier, and usually cheaper, but much more limited as to what can be made. I’m obviously an advocate of veneered boxes. I would encourage you to give them a try.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

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furniturefarmer

13 posts in 709 days


#3 posted 12-27-2014 04:56 PM

Both have their place in the shop. 3/4 birch ply is a staple in my shop. However I can not speak to box building.
I have yet to build a box. If I did I would make from solid wood.

-- Design and Build are one in the same.

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pallystu

75 posts in 1069 days


#4 posted 12-27-2014 05:21 PM

see I would love to use both veneered plywood and solid wood in my boxes but the thickness of the wood and the ability to flatten and square it up is really what’s stopping me. so I guess this can split into a few more questions….

what size boxes could use 4/4 lumber with out looking to fat and clunky?
have you ever ordered S4S boards online and how did that go?

I think if I ever want to use any real wood before I get a jointer, plainer, and a band saw I will need to buy the S4S boards online thru retailers such as rockler, pay out the noise for the local shop to mill it for me, or build bigger items with the 4/4 that is available locally.

im starting to think that for now the ply and veneer approach might be the way to go.

-- take your time

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pallystu

75 posts in 1069 days


#5 posted 12-27-2014 05:23 PM

maybe just use the veneered ply for the panels and base of it and then trim it with solid wood so I could profile it with the router…would really cut down the amount of S4S wood I would have to buy.

-- take your time

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1633 days


#6 posted 12-27-2014 05:27 PM

Build the boxes with what you have and can afford, as your skills grow you will find ways to use and enhance the properties of what you are using.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1602 posts in 2414 days


#7 posted 12-27-2014 05:28 PM

Thomas,
For boxes up to about 10×14, 3/8 and 1/2” ply is about right for the sides. 1/2 toward the larger end, 3/8 toward the smaller. 3/4” and thicker are way too thick for a nicely proportioned box in this size range. Also, in this range, 1/8” ply is plenty for the lid and bottom. Thicker just makes the box heavy and reduces the space inside the box. The 1/8” ply is more than strong and rigid enough. It’s also easy to combine both solids and ply in the same box. i.e. for edging around a lid, one can glue up solids around the edge, to offer a profitable edge. ...if that’s what your design calls for.

Many makers new to box making tend to use stock that is far too thick, and the appearance of the box suffers for it.

Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

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pallystu

75 posts in 1069 days


#8 posted 12-27-2014 05:53 PM

Thank you all for this it was really helpful :) I looked into the prices at the local store and asked them about any possible options for machine the lumber for me…looks like they can rip an edge and plane lumber down to the thickness I want for $17 which would take care of the problems caused by my lack of tools…would waste about half of the wood getting planed down to size and would make it more expensive but still do able if I only use the solid wood for the edges and other things of the such…the charge for resawing the thickness by them is a way to steep to do where its just cheaper over all to just plane it to thickness….kind of wasteful sadly but still cheaper. seems like for most of the work im going to do veneered ply and solid wood trim and details will be the way to go!

-- take your time

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1602 posts in 2414 days


#9 posted 12-27-2014 06:03 PM

Boxes are a bit like to old product development adage: The product can be “good”, it can be “cheap”, or it can be “fast”. “Pick any two”. The trade-offs are always with us.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

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pallystu

75 posts in 1069 days


#10 posted 12-27-2014 06:37 PM

lol guess the fast is going bye bye lol thanks for your help roger you did help quite a bit on this thread


Boxes are a bit like to old product development adage: The product can be “good”, it can be “cheap”, or it can be “fast”. “Pick any two”. The trade-offs are always with us.
Roger

- RogerBean


-- take your time

View bobro's profile

bobro

308 posts in 771 days


#11 posted 12-27-2014 07:25 PM

You can resaw S4S by hand. You will than only have one surface to flatten on each board, and well as touch up squareness overall and on the ends (where your crosscuts are). It will not take long for small pieces. And there’s no reason not to combine solid wood and plywood- solid sides, plywood bottom, solid or veneered plywood top, and so on.

Just a suggestion. I’m working from rough lumber with just a handful of cheap handtools, it’s not that hard. People have been doing it for thousands of years.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1948 days


#12 posted 12-27-2014 07:57 PM

I see by your profile that you are in Indiana.
You don’t mention where, but I have been all over Indiana and there are small mills just about everywhere. Any one of them will be happy to run a piece of lumber through the mill and make it thinner. Many have planers, jointers and drum sanders.

As for hand planes, I have a pretty functional set of 6 hand planes I would put up against any of the newer high priced name brands. None of mine was built after the Depression and none of them cost me more than $20 except for my Stanley No. 7 that cost me $35 plus shipping from a fellow LJ.

There is also a huge wood working community in Indiana, just waiting for you to discover it in your area. Look around, ask people you know, look on line.

Ask down at your favorite lumber place if they know of any wood workers near you.

Hell, put a “Wanted” on Craigslist.
Join local Facebook Swap and shop pages.

Just because you don’t have the tools doesn’t mean that someone near you doesn’t either, plus, getting to know someone with more experience can teach you a lot of useful stuff.

Get out there!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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