Make Your Own Plywood (Part 2)

Larger parts can be made the same way using pre-cut sheet metal, but you would need a larger setting to hold it together, like a vacuum press.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about Making Thin High-Quality Plywood

Source: John Heisz - Speakers and Audio Projects


This matter is open to some debate. The traditional option is leather glue, and if you have experience using hot leather in laminating applications, I don't see any reason not to use it to make your own plywood. You don't need fancy tools, and we all know how hot leather glue holds up.

My favorite, however, is the Unibond 800. It cures a lot and looks a lot like hot leather in its cured state. However, it is chemically based and you may not feel comfortable using it. Every man for himself.

An epoxy is also an option, but it's quite tricky and will probably ruin your purse or iron if you're not careful with compression. Unibond stands firm and won't squeeze like epoxy. Yellow glue can also be used. I do not recommend contact cement. It is good for Formica, but not so useful for fine furniture.

After the Press

Once the panel is cured and off the press, you can treat it like solid wood except to flatten the surface (more on this soon). If you want to add more layers of varnish, this will increase the rigidity and stability of the panel. To keep things manageable, I generally don't wear more than two layers at a time.

If I want my outer facets to be made of a thicker material, to allow a little extra meat to temper the broth after gluing, this is what I do. On the lid of the chest shown on the first page, I wanted the side of the display to be made of the same material as the rest of the chest: white pine.

This allowed me to treat the surface of the show as the rest of the log, meaning I could plan the surface more aggressively, to the point of inducing flat tracks if I wanted to. This would be risky on thinner varnishes and would not allow too many errors or prevent breakage. Using a layer of 1/8 in.

Full-thickness, I can flatten the surface by hand without worrying and reap the benefits of plywood cross-grain construction. The thicker material also ends up as solid wood. Look, I said this was great!

With thicker veneers, I do not use tape to join the edges. Since the wood is thicker, it is also necessary to glue the edges. I use an old luthier technique to do this: I place the edges together on a shooting board because the wood is so thin.

I simply lock the veneers on my countertop surface to present on my joint plane sheet, which I run sideways on the countertop while smoothing the edges of the veneers. To check the quality of the joint, hold both parts to a strong light to check for leaks. These is called "candles".

To secure these thin veneers, I slide a 1/2 "thick slat under the joint, then drive small nails straight through my countertop (or a piece of MDF if your countertop is sensitive) at the edges of the veneers.

Apply glue to the joint, remove the batten and press the joint against the worktop A piece of waxed paper under the joint prevents the whole from sticking to the worktop Press the joint and feel that the glue line is level Now place a Heavyweight on the panel and let it cure.

That's it. The nails maintain enough pressure on the joint as the glue cures, and the heavyweight prevents it from bouncing under nail stress.

When you think about it, making a plywood panel is really just one step beyond a panel of boards glued to the edges.

And the result is a completely flat and stable board that can work like solid wood.

Once you've added this technique to your woodworking arsenal, you'll find that you can create shapes and forms that solid wood just can't handle.

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Ok, That is all for now…

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