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Plywood vs real wood


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So I got another project request yesterday from the wife. An I’m trying to figure out if I should build most of it out of plywood. It’s going to be a bench with some built ins cubbies under it for shoes. I know it’s a simple an straight forward build with plywood an I know that would be the economic way to do it. I hate plywood. I know some places it’s the best choice for wood movement or whatever reason. Of course this will painted so color match isn’t a issue.  So how do you guys make the decision on to use plywood or real wood?  

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9 minutes ago, Tmize said:

So I got another project request yesterday from the wife. An I’m trying to figure out if I should build most of it out of plywood. It’s going to be a bench with some built ins cubbies under it for shoes. I know it’s a simple an straight forward build with plywood an I know that would be the economic way to do it. I hate plywood. I know some places it’s the best choice for wood movement or whatever reason. Of course this will painted so color match isn’t a issue.  So how do you guys make the decision on to use plywood or real wood?  

Just my 2..  If it's going to be painted, go with the ply where you can.  Now, the bench portion probably lends itself better to hardwood for strength and shape-ability.

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29 minutes ago, Kev said:

Just my 2..  If it's going to be painted, go with the ply where you can.  Now, the bench portion probably lends itself better to hardwood for strength and shape-ability.

Yes the top will be solid wood. Based on the size of the piece I’m think a full 4/4 to 5/4 thick. It will have a frame also so I guess I can at least get to do some m&t ?

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2 minutes ago, Tmize said:

Yes the top will be solid wood. Based on the size of the piece I’m think a full 4/4 to 5/4 thick. It will have a frame also so I guess I can at least get to do some m&t ?

Well.....  You could certainly do the M&T and it wouldn't be considered wrong but, it's also probably not needed for a face frame.  Especially on a painted project.

With that said, I'll also admit that I tend to think in terms of the quickest way to complete a project because of filming.  Certainly nothing wrong with enjoying the journey and practicing some skills

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8 minutes ago, Kev said:

Well.....  You could certainly do the M&T and it wouldn't be considered wrong but, it's also probably not needed for a face frame.  Especially on a painted project.

With that said, I'll also admit that I tend to think in terms of the quickest way to complete a project because of filming.  Certainly nothing wrong with enjoying the journey and practicing some skills

See that’s kinda where I am now. I work production speed at work. Do it the fast most cost efficient way that will turn out a good product. An when I got into woodworking I wanted a way to slow down so that I didn’t have to think about man hours an profit.  I already do that all day long. Not that it is a bad thing I do it for the process not the end result necessarily. But I have a very impatient wife so I tend to do her quick out of the blue project faster just to keep her happy. So I’m torn I may just go ahead an do plywood sure will save a lot of edge glue ups considering I need 15” wide panels. 

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1 hour ago, Tmize said:

I got into woodworking I wanted a way to slow down

T, this is my thinking most times when it comes to woodworking.

 I would build the face frame first, this way you can practice your mortise and tenons and then use it as a template for sizing the plywood box portion of the cubbie bench, fit the box to the face frame, not the other way around.  I think I would try to encourage my wife to go with a natural wood seat/top, that would really dress it up.

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“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  John Wooden

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That’s strange I normally build it the other way around. I build the case first then build the face frame a fuss bigger then flush trim or sand flush. The reason I do that is it easilier to pull my marks straight from the case for the frame. It helps with any dado shelve alignment you can adjust the frame instead of having to re dado a shelve to line up. 

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20 minutes ago, Tmize said:

That’s strange I normally build it the other way around. I build the case first then build the face frame a fuss bigger then flush trim or sand flush. The reason I do that is it easilier to pull my marks straight from the case for the frame. It helps with any dado shelve alignment you can adjust the frame instead of having to re dado a shelve to line up. 

This method works well if you're not having to fit it into a particular spot..  Typically, cabinet makers make the frame first to fit the opening and then make the case.

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12 minutes ago, Kev said:

 Typically, cabinet makers make the frame first to fit the opening and then make the case.

Yup, I took a cabinet building class back in the 90's and thats were learned the technique.

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“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  John Wooden

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7 hours ago, Tmize said:

That’s strange I normally build it the other way around. I build the case first then build the face frame a fuss bigger then flush trim or sand flush. The reason I do that is it easilier to pull my marks straight from the case for the frame. It helps with any dado shelve alignment you can adjust the frame instead of having to re dado a shelve to line up. 

 I have always done it this way as well until I mentioned on a project like yours and it was suggested otherwise. I have only done one other project since and it was a “makeup table” for my young niece that had drawers to the right of the knee space. I did build the face frame last on this. Chet and Kev, would you have done the same in this case? Didn’t mean to hj you Tmize. 

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3 minutes ago, Coop said:

 I have always done it this way as well until I mentioned on a project like yours and it was suggested otherwise. I have only done one other project since and it was a “makeup table” for my young niece that had drawers to the right of the knee space. I did build the face frame last on this. Chet and Kev, would you have done the same in this case? Didn’t mean to hj you Tmize. 

I prefer to build the FF after but, if I were doing a project where the fit had to be perfect, I'd start with the frame..  It's a lot easier to rebuild/trim a frame than it is a carcass.

 

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7 hours ago, Kev said:

This method works well if you're not having to fit it into a particular spot..  Typically, cabinet makers make the frame first to fit the opening and then make the case.

 

36 minutes ago, Kev said:

I prefer to build the FF after but, if I were doing a project where the fit had to be perfect, I'd start with the frame..  It's a lot easier to rebuild/trim a frame than it is a carcass.

 

No offense bud, but unless I read this wrong, you contradict yourself? If I were to build a unit, regardless of drawers, doors etc, I would build the carcass first, due to it’s mass. Gotta get that mother in it’s space. Then I would build the face frame and scribe the outside edges to fit the space. I can sand the edges of the ff easier than trying to sand the sides of a piece of ply to thickness. I bet I am missing something, somewhere? 

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2 minutes ago, Coop said:

 

No offense bud, but unless I read this wrong, you contradict yourself? If I were to build a unit, regardless of drawers, doors etc, I would build the carcass first, due to it’s mass. Gotta get that mother in it’s space. Then I would build the face frame and scribe the outside edges to fit the space. I can sand the edges of the ff easier than trying to sand the sides of a piece of ply to thickness. I bet I am missing something, somewhere? 

No contradiction..

If I were building to fit a particular space, I would start with the frame.  I prefer to build the case first but, if I were building to fit a particular space, I'd start with the frame.  Again, it's much easier to rebuild a frame that doesn't fit than it is a case.

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I have nothing againest pocket screws an will use them from time to time. I just enjoy doing joinery is the only reason I do m&t face frames. 

On 12/21/2020 at 10:05 PM, Jamie said:

I’m a face frame first guy. Quick easy way is dare I say pocket holes. You never see the back of a face frame unless you are guys like us who stick their heads inside if cabinets. 

 

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