LJ Challenges #10: >>>>>FREE DRAW!!!! <<<<< deadline Jan. 17/14

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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 01-10-2014 10:50 AM 3896 reads 0 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: >>>>>FREE DRAW!!!! <<<<< deadline Jan. 3/14 Part 10 of LJ Challenges series Part 11: >>>>>FREE DRAW!!!! <<<<< deadline Jan. 31/14 »

Hendrik Varju is a well known furniture designer/craftsman who operates “Passion for Wood” near Toronto, Canada. He also offers woodworking courses and seminars and has been widely published in woodworking magazines in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. In 2007, Hendrik started producing DVD courses and he has offered to provide some of them as prizes in Lumberjocks contests. You can see the full list of all of Hendrik’s DVD courses here: .

This week, the prize is Hendrik’s third DVD course called “Working with Plywood”.
It is almost 11 1/2 hours long and focuses on how to use plywood effectively in your projects. It also has a long and detailed bonus section with a step-by-step tutorial on building a stopped dado router jig, one of the most important jigs Hendrik uses in his workshop for working with plywood. You can read more about this 5-DVD set here: It is valued at Cdn. $94.95 + taxes and shipping.

To enter to win this contest, just post a comment giving your answer to this question: “What is the biggest difference, in your mind, between working with plywood and working with solid wood?” Post a comment before January 17th and Hendrik will choose his favourite answer. Then we’ll let you know how to claim your prize. Hendrik will ship it directly to your home at no cost to you.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

38 comments so far

View Roger's profile


21051 posts in 3812 days

#1 posted 01-10-2014 11:39 AM

I would say plywood is kind of affordable, and very stable if you get a good plywood. However, in my opinion, plywood will never “out-do” a good hardwood. That’s my 2-cents.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View jdmaher's profile


472 posts in 3587 days

#2 posted 01-10-2014 12:06 PM

On the plus side, the number one advantage is width – easy, affordable width. Its hard to find wide hardwood boards, and quality glue-ups are hard to achieve. Add to that stability (no bow, cup, warp, twist, etc.) as a close second.

On the minus side, the edges need to be covered and thickness cannot be changed.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1982 posts in 2977 days

#3 posted 01-10-2014 12:33 PM

The biggest difference to me is the accessories for the tools that are used, such as blades, bits, etc.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4050 days

#4 posted 01-10-2014 01:42 PM

None, I use ply wood as needed on a project. Or I can make the entire project out of it. It’s just a different type of wood to me.

Ms. Debbie you were up far to early posting this.

View SFDCapt's profile


82 posts in 2709 days

#5 posted 01-10-2014 01:47 PM

The stability and strength afford by the multiple layers of cross grain.

-- Making dust and taking names!

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


402 posts in 4922 days

#6 posted 01-10-2014 01:59 PM

Plywood certainly has its uses in many projects, My biggest beef with plywood is the varying thickness for sheet to sheet. When using hardwood I can control the thickness of my workpiece, with plywood you get what you get and must compensate for the variations. Bruce

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce)

View MTMan2's profile


47 posts in 3700 days

#7 posted 01-10-2014 02:36 PM

“What is the biggest difference, in your mind, between working with plywood and working with solid wood?”

Joinery… no, Movement… no, Joinery… Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

(Monty Python may have impacted my youth a little more than strictly necessary?)

-- - The most recognized name in all of recorded history was worn by a woodworker.

View SirGareth's profile


133 posts in 3208 days

#8 posted 01-10-2014 02:48 PM

For large projects, sheet goods such as plywood can be a real time-saver. Rather than jointing, planing and gluing traditional stock, plywood provides a quick, stable alternative.

-- Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward. - Tim, Southern California

View Mike_from_Buffalo's profile


101 posts in 2893 days

#9 posted 01-10-2014 02:49 PM

With solid wood you have to pay attention to all the details. Were is the project going to be used? How much will the humidity swing? How should I design my joints to allow for expansion and contraction. Plywood is much simpler in that sense. The beauty of plywood is in its ability to be used in creative designs not possible with solid wood.

-- Mike from Buffalo "A man spends the first half of his life learning habits that shorten the other half of his life."

View Julian's profile


1620 posts in 3698 days

#10 posted 01-10-2014 03:33 PM

The biggest benefit (for me) to use plywood is stability; no movement due to weather conditions. I often use plywood for veneering projects. A close second is that plywood is much lighter than solid wood which makes larger projects easier to move. The biggest concern I have when using plywood is to not sand through the top veneer layer.

-- Julian

View tyvekboy's profile


2105 posts in 4021 days

#11 posted 01-10-2014 04:17 PM

Depending on the grade of plywood (i.e. – Baltic Birch Plywood VS Cabinet Grade Plywood VS Chinese plywood VS plywood sheathing) I think the biggest difference between plywood and solid wood is the stability of plywood. Also working with the end grain and running into voids in the cheaper plywoods is another difference.

Other than that, plywood is really stable. Also, cutting box joints in plywood with a router jig is not as good as in solid wood. Box joints in plywood really needs to be done on a table saw.

Because of the perpendicular grain laminations, plywood seems to be stronger than hardwood of equal size.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View mmh's profile


3682 posts in 4730 days

#12 posted 01-10-2014 04:36 PM

Although I have seen some interesting and stable work made with plywood, and it is more affordable than solid wood, I focus on solid hardwoods for my creations as I want to show off what Mother Nature has created and bring this out through my designs. I am constantly searching for wood with natural, interesting grain and this is part of the challenge for my work.

This is not to say that I will never want to work with plywood in my cane designs, but not my current goal. I have used plywood for furniture or cabinetry projects and plywood is a very formidable wood product for this type of application.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View hornhunter's profile


21 posts in 4061 days

#13 posted 01-10-2014 07:05 PM

Well, for me here in upstate NY, I have not found any veneer plywood that is two sided with the same species, i.e., say cherry both faces. I have only found one face of desired species and the other always seems to be birch. Both faces are of decent quality, but if you want both faces exposed and the same species showing you need to add your own veneer to it, which I have done with sucess.

And of course (for me anyway) the project needs to be designed to hide end grains, which can be limiting.

The other thing I don’t like about plywood is the difficulty of getting an even stain on it. I generally try and avoid stain and just use clear poly. These are non issues with most solid woods.

-- Dean, Kinderhook, New York

View Francois Vigneron's profile

Francois Vigneron

263 posts in 3327 days

#14 posted 01-11-2014 12:14 AM

When I work with solid wood, I try to buy the slabs from the same tree and use them all for one project. If I mix species, I will try to use only one tree per specie. I like to have that form of intimacy with the tree that will become my project. For example, the walnut coffee table in my living room has an insert of curly maple that comes from the same board than the one I used to carve a little heart Christmas ornament for my dad. I will always remember that connection even when he will be long gone.

When I work with plywood, especially precious ones, I try to remember that each sheet comes from numerous trees and connects me to a whole patch of forest.

Thus, in my mind, working with solid wood is like having coffee with my best friend while working with plywood is like having Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family. It’s a different feeling, but both make me happy.

-- Francois Vigneron, Gif-sur-Yvette, France & Altadena, CA

View elkhunter's profile


16 posts in 5085 days

#15 posted 01-11-2014 06:17 AM

Plywood is easy, but hard at the same time. No worry about expansion or joint lines in glued up panels. Edging is easy enough. Their is a need for some for-thought, about joinery and how to hide the edges. You can find many species of plywood to choose from. You can make a walnut end table, a red oak dresser drawer, cherry kitchen cabinets, or a tiger maple toy box for your child or grandchild and not have to take out a second mortgage on your home to do so! It is easy to use simple joinery, dados and pocket screws, and rabbets.

-- John of Idaho

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