Report Strong, thick, light veneer panel in Advanced Woodworking Posted November 17 On 11/16/2021 at 1:49 PM, Chestnut said: I've been making quite a few lighter weight panels like that. my advise is to ditch MDF and go to solid wood for the front and back length pieces and if possible any pieces parallel. MDF is ok but it's heavy and has extremely poor resistance to bending. Making it into a box beam helps but having a long grain solid piece of wood will allow you to reduce structure and maintain strength, thus reducing the weight further. This picture is using plywood but i remembered sagulator and ran some comparisons using ply and solid wood for the internals. Solid wood has almost twice the rigidity compared to plywood thus allowing you to use half the amount of wood for the same strength. With top and bottom skins there is little need to do cross bracing as tightly as you did. I just recently finished a shelf that is 8 feet long 24" wide and 1.5" thick. I can jump on the center while the ends are on saw horses. Total weight is maybe 15 lbs. I'm not veneering so i used 0.185" thick plywood (Luann ply) 1/4" MDF would be better for surface finish. It's a great method and it's how IKEA makes their furniture light weight but still somewhat strong. Thanks for advice Drew. There are a few reasons for the way that this process is done in this particular way. The First is the cross pieces makes sure that when you adhere the top and bottom panels in the vacuum bag, the top and bottom to not become wavy when the air is sucked out of the bag. The second is that it adds more glue surface. Finally, in my opinion it feels more solid. You can knock on the piece and it doesn't sound hollow. The problem with using solid wood as apposed to MDF it has a tendency to bow. If you glue a bowed board for the long perimeter, you will then need to re-square the whole panel. With MDF you can make the perimeter to final length and width and flush trim the top and bottom pieces. I would use a different material for the perimeter if for the joinery you plan on is putting dominos or screws in it. I think you are seeing this process only through the eyes of strength.