Plywood...


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Real humans only wear loin cloths.

Getting a little caught up, but you should get the point. Woodworking has progressed with the times. We have found more efficient ways to complete tasks. Why should woodworking be singled out to be considered "real" if you only use what was used in the past?

 

No, real woodworkers wear loin cloths :). Perhaps Marc might offer a wood whisperer version, this logo might look good front and center......whispering to the wood......

wood-whisperer-7475a1e6-7f15-4bb1-b20c-8

Second, because it sells books, DVDs training courses.  

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My screen name is because Im getting old and falling apart, just like particle board.

I am trying to find the right words for this discussion as not to offend anyone because that is not my intention. However, I believe the statement that ply is an inferior material and not to be used i

I think "the masters" would have used it if they had it.   I think plywood has no place in reproduction type work.  This is simply because they didn't have it, so neither do you...   In other cases,

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Several thoughts have not been discussed:

1. Where a wood species is endangered or so rare that it is cost prohibitive. Plywood or veneer over MDF is a viable solution.

2. Would old world masters laugh at us for gluing boards together to make wider planks? Irrelevant if old growth is available?

3. What about laminated veneer lumber? It is not the most aesthetically appealing but structurally it is superior to MDF and plywood.

I personally prefer all hardwood because I am majority hand tool. Built-ins will always be plywood because I hate MDF dust.

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Wow, this is a heck of a thread. Makes me feel guilty for all the plywood I've used over the years building cabinets. I've done so many built ins over the years. Not sure how I'd gotten them all done without plywood. I also hate to see all the MDF basing. If you are painting a cabinet and want a raised panel, I think your silly if you don't use MDF. For example, here's a picture of a commission I earned on a couple of cabinets for an odd sized dining room. I remember the clients requesting them painted white. I offered solid wood or mdf raised panels in the doors. When you list the pros-and-cons it's almost a no brainer.

MDF raised panels:
Smooth as glass after finishing

No seasonal movement

Won't ever rattle (this is pre-space-ball days)

1/3 the cost of material

In all likelihood will last forever

 

Real wood raised panels:
More work (read as more cost) to get perfectly smooth

They will move seasonally

May rattle some times

3 x the cost of material

May bow or cup over the years

 

So, should I have demanded the client take real wood raised panels? Demanded that they pay more for what in this case would be what I'd consider to an inferior choice? Or should I have eaten the cost myself because I'm too good to use MDF? Or should I have taken some snobbish stance against modern materials?

 

Everything has its time and place. If you making a painted cabinet with raised panels, in my opinion, that's the time to use MDF.

post-2771-0-94831500-1381327001_thumb.jp

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To be honest, I think Paul Sellers is trying to force his thoughts on woodworking down peoples throats. Back then when they were building furniture with hand tools, their tools were state of the art at the time. Technology has come a long way since. We are happy campers working with our tablesaws and routers, etc, while the industrial world has already moved to cnc. Our tools in our shop are already obsolete. The guys back in the 17th century would have absolutely flipped over modern hand tools today, maybe even thought it was sorcery. As for one persons belief of what real woodworking is, everyone has different views about everything, thats why we are so diverse. Sometimes good, sometimes very bad. I think if we sent a sheet of plywood back in time, it would have changed a lot of things for makers back then, and remove some of the snob from todays wannabe purists. 

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PB, You're right of course. But I didn't discover Space balls until about 2 years ago. ... Okay not the movie Space Balls. I saw that in the theater with my dad when it came out. But the space balls you stick into raised panel doors were unknown to me until I heard about them on this forum.

 

But one other thing. I can tell you as a guy building cabinets for 20 years and seeing a lot of cabinets (mine and other people's), raised panel doors built with real wood do cup or bow over the years. I'm not sure if it's why they were made, but most hinges used on cabinets today will allow you to adjust the door to account for that bow or cup. If you make the raised panel with MDF, that will never happen. Also, if you use a trick I learned from Norm, and paint the panel with 50% water, 50% tightbond before painting it. It's super easy to make it as smooth as glass. 

 

But of course, I agree with you in principle. Normally it comes down to time and money. I don't want my clients to pay for more than they need to... unless, of course, they are snobs... well, then....

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PB, one more thing. All these years I never thought of the refinishing thing.

You've got me thinking on that one.

 

On the one hand, who refinishes painted cabinet doors?
On the other hand, people refinish all kinds of stuff?

On the other hand, you could always replace the door?
On the other hand, replacing the door by definition means it didn't last forever?

 

Hmm.... great food for thought.

 

That's a good one, PB. Never thought of that. I'm gunna stew on it for a while.

Thanks for that nugget. I'll salt that away.

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Okay this is the last "one more thing", then I promise to drop it for a while.

I'd like to state for the record that I am NOT a fan of painting any of my work. But I have clients would request it all the time. 9 times out of 10 they request white. Which would never be my choice. I just don't like the style.

But again, I really try to give my clients what they want, and try to lay out their options.

I once built a couple the most beautiful built in Murphy Bed with cabinets along side. The whole thing was done in lightly dyed maple. I thought it was gorgeous. They thought it was gorgeous. Then they sold their house 5 or 6 years later. The new owners painted the whole thing teal.

I thought "Really, teal... really?"

 

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Okay this is the last "one more thing", then I promise to drop it for a while.

I'd like to state for the record that I am NOT a fan of painting any of my work. But I have clients would request it all the time. 9 times out of 10 they request white. Which would never be my choice. I just don't like the style.

But again, I really try to give my clients what they want, and try to lay out their options.

I once built a couple the most beautiful built in Murphy Bed with cabinets along side. The whole thing was done in lightly dyed maple. I thought it was gorgeous. They thought it was gorgeous. Then they sold their house 5 or 6 years later. The new owners painted the whole thing teal.

I thought "Really, teal... really?"

Dont get me started on paint. Dont get me wrong I do lots of white cabinets and many other solid colors but I would never paint a cabinet. Using the proper wood finish nets much better longer lasting results. Things like glue size on mdf is really not necessary. It doesnt matter if its wood or mdf if you are using the right under coater with a lacquer, conversion varnish or even poly you dont need these make shift methods but thats a topic for another discussion. :)
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4.0L straight six, nothing better than a Jag 6

 

Doesn't BMW make an "OK" straight six?   Only kidding! :D  My inlaws had an XJ6 for a bit...   Sweet ride, with an absolutely terrific interior!

 

Here in the US, I've recently gotten hooked on "Wheeler Dealers" from the UK.   I love what they come up with for subjects.   I'm a huge road racing (including Vintage) fan, which involves many cars from across the pond, and the guy who appears in "Chasing Classic Cars" is local, just across the Connecticut river from me...   I've been a "Top Gear" fan for many years.

 

I get to the UK (Belfast & Bushmills, Northern Ireland) about every 8-10 months, and always enjoy my drive over there.  I hope you guys appreciate your B roads.  We don't have anything comparable over here.

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This thread has been moving so quickly it's hard to make a comment but Mel made a comment earlier that had a couple points I wanted to raise.

 

The first was to the effect that plywood is "inferior."  I'm not sure if Mel was stating that as his own opinion or as a reflection on the point that Paul Sellers was trying to raise but it rankled me a little bit.  Having spent $ on some really nice faced sheets to use for specific projects it was neither "cheap" nor "inferior."  In fact, in one of the projects I think it'd be difficult for people to realize it's ply unless it's pointed out.  Pictures of the finished piece I'm thinking of are posted in my gallery.

 

The other comment was that Roy Underhill is never seen using ply.  Don't get me wrong.  I love St. Roy and watch him frequently but the woodworking he does reflects a certain era and genre in which plywood was not even a consideration.  Laminations, however, were.  Then again, what is plywood exactly? ...

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Byrdie,

My comment was a reflection on the Sellers comment.

The Roy Underhill comment is a point that brings the two points together, in a nice little package :)

The real point is that true hand tool galoot types will never ever ever use plywood. Why? The pieces are made of plies and glue. This makes using it rather difficult for hand tool guys. I can not imagine hand planing or hand jointing plywood :) It's just not in the cards. Now, a fast spinning tablesaw blade can rip right through with no problems. This is why the old school hand tool only guys look at plywood as an inferior product. They can't use the stuff! Don't forget the marketing that's also involved. If dear ol Roy added a nice Powermatic table saw and started a sheet good series the world as we know it would likely end.

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