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  • Plywood verses solid wood

    For many projects plywood and solid wood, either hard or softwoods, can be used interchangably.
    I know some of it is related to cost and some to durability.
    How do scrollers feel about the selection of materials for a project?
    Is it ok to use plywood when building shelves or fancy boxes?
    Does the edge of a baltic birch panel detract from the finished project, or can it be used to augment the pattern?
    Do you avoid sheet products like ply or MDF, and if so why?
    CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

  • #2
    Plywood vs Solid Wood

    I like the look of solid wood; I do not care to see the edges of ply. This is just my opinion.

    Greg
    Greg H.
    In Houston

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    • #3
      Plywood Vs solid wood

      I actually prefer using solid wood for small projects. I would resaw on my 12" band saw, it does work pretty good for me. On some larger projects like suncathers I use the plywood, it is light but have trouble with fuzzy's. Bob
      Be the good,
      you want to see in the world...

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      • #4
        I'm fairly new at this and haven't done a lot of scrolling, but the things I have done were with solids (usually cherry or walnut). Some of my queued up projects would be a lot easier using ply. Question is, what do you do to hide the edges. I imagine with darker woods like walnut you could cover the edges with color and it would blend away, but what do you all do with lighter colored woods (ie maple)? Hope some of you 'vets' can help out.

        Bruce
        Bruce
        . . . because each piece will be someone's heirloom someday.
        visit sometime
        Hawk 220VS, Delta 40-570

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        • #5
          It depends on the project. For ornaments, clocks, shelves, I prefer solid woods. For portraits and such where the edges don't show I'll use plywoods. For some of my furniture projects, I'll use HVHC plys with a solid wood edging. I just don't like the look of the ply edges showing, I think they cheapen the look of the project (just my opinion).

          Kevin
          Kevin
          Scrollsaw Patterns Online
          Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671

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          • #6
            I get almost no requests for plywood any more, so I quit selling it.
            -Dirk
            Need some thin wood?
            www.ThinBoards.com

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            • #7
              I use BB for most of my fretwork portraits/scenes and "solids" for segmentation, intarsia, puzzles, and any "stand alone" (without framing) piece.
              Moon
              Old Mooner

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              • #8
                ply wood or hard wood

                Hi , I like ply wood. as long as it is good ply wood,. as a beggener, it is cheaper to practice on. but I have had my probleams with ply wood. like sometimes the core has holes in it. an the vener is so thin. finding the good stuff is hard unless I go to the magazine selers. which I can not afford right now. I do prefer hard woods but then that can be exspensive. an then you get it home an it warps. drats,( wood lock time.) so does ply wood. I have made some great projects out of 1/4 inch oak plywood. and some xmas ornements out of stacked 1/8 oak ply wood. it is easyer to cut. an gives me satisfaction right away without, the $$$$. yes there are alot of frezzies. but not when I use the right blade. the one thing I do like about ply wood is, on little fret work. it has some cross grain that wont break so easly, maybe if I sold my stuff , I would only use hard woods.In one of the cwwc magazeans, there was a guy , (sorry can't remember the month or year.) who had a hole lot of projecks made of only ply wood. clocks shelves etc, rely inpressed me. but for now . I just make things for my house an to give to friends an others. well thats my 2 cnts worth Evie

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                • #9
                  Bruce

                  There was a question in there and would like to answer but if you read most of the other posts it sort of sums it up. But What most people use plywood for is 2 things. One is for portraits and things that will get frames so the edges arent seen. Two is for the strength purposes. especially when using 1/8" plywood. There is no better plywood then to use either Baltic birch, Finnish birch or even pear plywood. These do not have the voids and more layers are used to give it the strength. Good to use for ornaments because of the thinness and strength is needed here. People have made large clocks and clocks of any size. It is a matter of taste for there is nothing wrong with seeing the edges. I myself like the look of hard woods but have used plywoods on occasion. So to sum it up it is a matter of preference and availability to either plywoods or hardwoods.
                  John T.

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                  • #10
                    JT
                    Did you really mean 'Pear" plywood? Made from the fruit trees? If you did, what is it like, and where is it available?? How is it priced (like - compared to bb ply, etc)
                    Thanks already
                    Sandy

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                    • #11
                      Evie,
                      I'm with you on using the less expensive easily available plywoods for those things you're learning on - I use the birch plywood (1/4") from Home Depot for ornaments, and also for a lot of woodburning practice, and some of the finished projects that will be framed. Sometimes I run a bit of stain just on the edges to disguise the plies, and occasionally there is a void that is visible - some sort of wood filler can help with that. If you use good blades and sandwich the whole thing between some cereal box-type cardboard while cutting, you avoid most of those dreaded fuzzies. The birch plywood at Lowes is darker. Also the whole sheets at Home Depot are darker - but the cut pieces (2' x 4') are often light and clear. (easier to transport, too!)
                      By the way, Welcome to the group!! You will really get hooked now!
                      Sandy

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                      • #12
                        Plywood verses solid woods

                        Sandy , good advise. I think i will try the cardbord .I have had bad exsperincs with Home Depot and lows ply woods . but I found some rely nice plywood at peatersons lumber. about $19.00 a 4by 8 sheet. the bb ply wood has a great core.cuts like butter and no voids. but the vinere is rely thin, and blows out in small fretwork. Im not to in love with the stained look eather. for the inner core is very dark compared to the bb. vener. so i went back to their oak ply wood. same price, and the core is still good and it stains great.I love the look of oak.the back is ok not oak but stains good . on a shelv it looks great on both sides , at least for me hahah. nothing looks better than real solid hard wood, but just can't afford it all the time. when i am making a real nice piece , that i wont to give away or hand down to my kids. I do get hard wood , resicaling the wood some times and milling it my self. WITH MY HUSBONDS HELP hahah. but i do think there is some great looking pieces made of ply wood , and I rely don't mind the edges. some times it adds to the defantion. thanks for you input . I will try your ideas .Evie Ps sorry about my spelling don't know where spell check is haha better on my saw , than spelling .

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                        • #13
                          John,
                          If you're cutting a portrait out of ply and the edges are covered by the frame, do you worry about the inside cuts? Or is it that the ply is thin enough not to matter? One I have planned will have a light face and a black background. Do you think it would look better to darken the inside cuts or leave them alone?

                          Bruce
                          Bruce
                          . . . because each piece will be someone's heirloom someday.
                          visit sometime
                          Hawk 220VS, Delta 40-570

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Millwab....If you're not concerned about the wood grain showing in the finished product you can spray the finished portrait with white appliance enamel. Use several light coats and it will cover plys on the edges. The finished piece will almost look as if it was cut from porcelain. If you look in my album in the gallery, I have an indian chief portrait there that I did that with. I tried it because the baltic birch panel I used had a soiled surface and I needed to hide it. Worked great!!! Just a suggestion....so I don't want you to ruin your project because of my advice???
                            If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!

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                            • #15
                              Do not do anything with the inside cuts. The plys are thin enough not to notice. With a framed edge it gives it a more finished professional look. Dark background is necessary to highlight the fret work. Post picture when done.
                              John T.

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