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Plywood for fine furniture – fine woodworking

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Print In these tough economic times, it’s tempting to skimp on solid wood and opt for plywood to save a few pennies. What do you think? Are you a solid-wood purist? If not, how do you use plywood in your furniture?

furniture grade plywood


Take our poll, check out our list of tips for working with plywood, and then weigh in with a comment below. Do you have any other tips for working with this flat and stable material?

1 inch plywood


Veneered plywood works well in built-ins, panels, or even large tabletops since it doesn’t fall prey to wood movement in the way that solid panels do. And, plywood covered with nice hardwood veneer and some solid-wood edging gives it the feel of a solid-wood piece.

6 x 8 plywood


For instance, Mark Edmundson created this freestanding cabinet to take advantage of the benefits of plywood. Namely, that many of the “best logs are scooped up by veneer mills” and he wanted to use them for his work.

1 inch thick plywood


Mario Rodriguez, in 6 Ways to Edge Plywood, even ranks plywood innovations right up there next to the invention of the tablesaw.

If and when you incorporate this handy material into your work, below are some helpful tips.

Dadoes and biscuits are good joints for plywood

Hide unattractive edges with edge banding or face frames

  • Iron-on veneer tape works for protected surfaces
  • Apply solid-wood edge banding in high-wear areas
  • Be careful trimming edging to avoid damaging the veneer

    Avoid the standard 3/4-in. plywood look by creating thicker, custom panels. Just glue two 1/4-in. plywood to a core of MDF.

    Use caution breaking down large sheets on the tablesaw. Get a helper if you can for your first cuts.

    Or cut roughly to size with a circular saw and then make finish cuts on the tablesaw

    If pieces are too large for the tablesaw, make finishing cuts with a router with an edge guide

    Avoid tearout by scoring the cut or covering it with tape

    A zero-clearance throat plate also helps to reduce tearout

    Use a triple-chip blade with a high tooth count for ripping and crosscutting

    Delivery pays: Let the supplier deliver hardwood-veneer plywood to reduce the risk of damage in transit

  • More on plywood
  • • User’s Guide to Plywood
  • • Fine Furniture from Plywood
  • • How to Handle Plywood
  • • 6 Ways to Edge Plywood
  • • VIDEO: Edging Plywood Made Easy
  • • VIDEO: A Durable, Low-Profile Edge for Plywood
  • • VIDEO: Trim Plywood Edging Flush

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