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Modding Is it possible to make Plywood look nice?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by mat0tam, 6 Feb 2012.

  1. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    Hi All,

    Planning some concept builds and like a true engineer I have material selection in the back of my mind.

    Plywood seems like a good idea because of its cost and workability. Im just worried about making it look nice? Will mostly cover the "ends" of sheets so it will MOSTLY just be a case of making face's look nice

    Is its easily stained +painted etc? Do varnish/ paint coats last on it? really quite inexperienced in paint selection and durability of coatings etc.

    Any advice would be appreciated :)
     
  2. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I'd veneer it if you use it. I've seen many "Bubba" furniture projects done with it, and they still scream "plywood." The visual problems with the really cheap plywood are the knotholes filled in with eye-shaped plugs. It's often labeled with strong dyes or paint that's hard to remove.

    The veneered plywood is easy to dress, though. It does cost a lot more.

    If you are painting plywood, you have to seal it first. With the cheap plywood there would be a lot of filling and sanding involved.
    It's also more prone to splitting and cracking around screws and nails.
     
  3. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    Haha not a super encouraging start, im not a little scared but still very useful. Im planning on fitting/attatching most pieces with dowels, plugs and wood glue. No screws or nails showing from the OUTSIDE, but hidden ones are fine.

    Whats the best way to seal plywood? Ive heard to absorbs paint like no tomorrow.

    Also regarding veneering, ive heard its:

    a) Very hard skill to learn
    b) costs a lot in learning phase
    c) costs alot to produce high quality finishes
     
  4. Mosquito

    Mosquito Minimodder

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    You can buy different grades of plywood and the higher grades generally look fine, but are obviously more expensive.

    Something to consider is the thickness of the face veneers that are used with the plywood, as it is a factor in how much you can sand, and how well it would take stains.It is entirely possible to make it look good, but depends on what kind of a look you want I guess.

    I'm not an "expert" in the subject, nor do I have a particularly large amount of experience with it. I have, however, done quite extensive research on the subject, as I am also looking at plywood for a few projects
     
  5. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    Hmm Ok, well my initial idea was to wrap in in leather but working with leather is very hard and expensive to get nice stuff.

    I think i would try and get a dark slightly glossy finish, but not to the point where it was obviosuly coated in varnish etc
     
  6. 13eightyfour

    13eightyfour Formerly Titanium Angel

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    Sounds like you need phenolic ply tbh, has an awesome surfaces and isnt massively expensive either. http://catalogue.chilterntimber.co.uk/category380625.html toward the bottom of the page.
     
  7. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    Phenolic Ply looks gorgeous.

    [​IMG]

    Really not sure how much I would need, struggling with the idea of making curves on the front, want to kind of mirror the design of a Silverstone TJ 11 and a bitfenix survivor on the frontface [​IMG][​IMG]
    *if anyone can resive them to say 1/4 of size or paste up code I would appreciate it*

    Working with wood is not my fortae, was thinking of getting a cylinder of wood cut and using 1/4's to get the desired curves
     
  8. SuicideNeil

    SuicideNeil What's a Dremel?

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    Forming ply to fit curves like that isn't technically all that hard- you just have to soak or steam it for xx length of time & then you can clamp it to a former or forming jig ( big curved piece of metal or wood etc ) until it dries = permanent bend.

    Examples

    [​IMG]
     
  9. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    Oooo ok, I think id go with multiple thin layers and laminate them one over the top of each other rather than curving a large piece. Read up on this just now seems entirely possible for me to do. just need a stock mould of sorts.

    Without screwing through the laminated sheets what would you say is the best way to stick sheets together, I presume glue but dont think it will be strong enough over the life of the case? Dont really want to scrw through the layers front the front either :(
     
  10. SuicideNeil

    SuicideNeil What's a Dremel?

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    There are various types or formulas of wood glue around that are stronger than the actual wood, no worries about it coming apart over time I'd say- Elmers is a brand I hear a lot about..
     
  11. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    Awesome, Well im still in the pencil and paper stage at the moment. Will no doubt be at this stage for some months. Atleast now I know ply is much more workable than I previously thought.

    Im also thinking of some kind of display case design for my components, Whilst running obv :) With just a upside T shape frame and a clear glass/plastic cover, ply would be very usefull for this :)
     
  12. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    Ever think of MDF?
     
  13. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    Is MDF not an absolute sponge to paint/seal/coat?
     
  14. barry99705

    barry99705 sudo rm -Rf /

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    Nasty nasty nasty crap.


    Pretty much anything labeled "wood glue" will be stronger than the wood itself. I use titebond.
     
  15. Vetalar

    Vetalar *learning english*

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    plywood is good material. it's relatively cheap and easy to work with. for me it have only one disadvantage - for good "structural rigidity" one have to use at least 10mm sheets where can be used 1mm steel or 3mm alu... or have to create some frame...
     
  16. asura

    asura jack of all trades

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    I've only really worked with ply once (jewellers bench), I've only really worked with MDF once (five mile stretch of the Clyde, Glasgow at 1:2500), and I've only really worked with veneer once (2 models of Golden Square, Aberdeen) so my observations are scant and blunt.

    MDF's a horrid material and should simply be wiped off the face of the planet. Seriously hate the stuff.

    Ply's pretty good, was using a 38mm sheet, cut it in half and glued and screwed it, then a bit of jigsawing, drilling, filing and chiselling. It does splinter more than MDF when drilling, but then mine was at low speed with a brace and bit making 25mm holes, I'm sure a powered drill would have less issues. Jigsaw goes through it just fine - I had a bit of blade warping, but what do you expect from a 76mm cut, it files just like wood, but chiselling was not too good.

    Veneering wasn't too bad at all, if memory serves we were using a .5mm light mahogany in 1200x2400 panels - all the sheets were seconds, so had splits shakes and runs in them (but were a fraction of the cost) since the largest single face was about 200x300mm we had no problem getting what we needed for the project. We cut it with scalpels and stanley knives and were able to cut chamfers on it without too much trouble. We just used cheep evostick adhesive as the model didn't have to last for more than a year or two, but I popped into uni the other day and it's still doing strong 6 years (? Or there abouts) down the line...
     
  17. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    You have filled me some more confidence, Never thought about getting veneer seconds. Although I am tempted now to make a frame out of an old stripped down case so I can go with 3x2mm ply layers
     
  18. Dreamslacker

    Dreamslacker Minimodder

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    Contact adhesive should work well. It's slightly elastic and resists shearing force. This also helps if the wood panel should warp under strain (since the contact adhesive resists shearing force well).

    Another plus is that this is the stuff you would use to apply veneers as well so you can buy bigger tubes/ tins of the stuff (economies of scale).
     
  19. 13eightyfour

    13eightyfour Formerly Titanium Angel

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    Another option for the curves you want would be to cut a series of 'slots' with a fine kerf sawblade on the rear of the ply and then bend it.

    Its essentially how bendy ply is made, but with enough thin cuts close together you should get a nice tight bend.
     
  20. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    Read in quite a few place and based on my own opinion this isnt a great idea, the area where you sliced is most likely to split and either take the rest of the ply with it or leave linear ridges were material below has given way
     

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