plywood end grain end table

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Project by Mark Edmondson posted 02-02-2010 12:31 AM 14438 views 13 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
plywood end grain end table
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It’s all plywood, excepting dowels and glue, and measures 20×20x24.

Here’s the story:

I, presumably like everyone else on this site, have a problem with cheap pressboard furniture. But I also recognize that not everyone can afford a cherry table or desk. So I’ve been experimenting around with different forms of plywood. Instead of disguising the plywood with stains and veneers and pretending it was something else, I wanted to play up the plywood concept.

The design cost me one $18 sheet of plywood. Not too bad.

Basically, I cut all the individual pieces on a table saw, drilled holes for the dowels with a jig on a drill press, then put it all together.

Everything was glued together using glue made from polystyrene dissolved in acetone. That’s it… just packing peanuts and coffee cups dissolved in acetone. It stinks, but it works really well (stronger than the wood) and you get to reuse something that won’t break down until it enters the fossil record.

I’m not sure about a finish yet. The end grain soaks up everything, immediately. So a shiny finish is pretty much out. Plus, I don’t want anything that will cause problems with the factory plywood glue… any ideas?

Thanks for reading!

22 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8648 posts in 4658 days

#1 posted 02-02-2010 12:43 AM

very cool concept, and a very unique look

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Kate's profile


403 posts in 4884 days

#2 posted 02-02-2010 01:08 AM

neat idea. I like the look.

-- Kate,

View JB's profile


53 posts in 4637 days

#3 posted 02-02-2010 01:34 AM

The look of plywood is so under rated : ) I built the legs of my workbench out of it. The endgrain finished out nicely.

Looks really cool.

-- JB

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 4117 days

#4 posted 02-02-2010 01:44 AM

that looks really good, cool with the glue also

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View choppertoo's profile


304 posts in 4322 days

#5 posted 02-02-2010 01:45 AM

packing peanuts and acetone, eh? very interesting I might want to try that just to say I did. Any suggestions on ratios?

I built a table top with exposed Ply edges after filling the voids and sanding I left the edges w/o finish. Still looks fine years later.

I bet you could sell one of those tables for enough to get you several more sheets of the $18 source material.
good job.

-- The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.. Michelangelo

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 4700 days

#6 posted 02-02-2010 01:45 AM

A guy here in UK made his whole kitchen in this way i will have to look it up and show you some pics i love the idea looks very cool

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4586 days

#7 posted 02-02-2010 01:48 AM

It looks too PLY A BLE. LOL a cool Idea and unique design.


View Mark Edmondson's profile

Mark Edmondson

40 posts in 4212 days

#8 posted 02-02-2010 01:58 AM

Wow! Thanks everyone!

@ choppertoo … There’s not really a ratio to be had. The polystyrene and acetone don’t really mix. The acetone just dissolves it into a goo. This goo is glue.

@ pommy … YES. I’d love to see it!

View norwood's profile


303 posts in 4079 days

#9 posted 02-02-2010 07:10 AM

cool table but dont you get dizzy from all the packing peanut fumes and there must be some angry purple elephants out there
Cool idea
and as for the finish a good coat of tung will bring out any natural colour in the wood but its going to be an odd mix because of all the end grain
cant wait to see the rest of the set

-- of all the things Ive lost in life i miss my mind the most

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 4060 days

#10 posted 02-02-2010 07:14 AM

Hey nice job! It’s got a really unique industrial flair to it. Don’t worry about finishing it though, nothing can really harm those factory glues.

I made some end-grain plywood hot pads a few years ago. I just used Minwax Polycrylic.

View brandonsommer's profile


33 posts in 4046 days

#11 posted 02-02-2010 03:12 PM

totally worth the $18 worth of material! I really like the way this turned out. Great job!

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4060 days

#12 posted 02-02-2010 03:35 PM

Nice reuse of discarded materials for the glue.

I like the design and wonder how it would look if you either kept the top square, or also shaped the shelf edges for matching purposes?

Have you used the glue on other projects too?

Recipe ratio for the glue please?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View ZeroThreeQuarter's profile


120 posts in 4066 days

#13 posted 02-02-2010 06:20 PM

very cool, I’m definitely into the idea of using materials differently, or using different materials all together. You might want to check out Cerno Group – – They make some plywood furniture also. None the less, I’m sure you’ll find the tweaks you need to make the project work the way you fully want it to. Nice work!!

-- Your mind, much like a parachute, works best when open.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 4204 days

#14 posted 02-02-2010 10:03 PM

Nice, looks a little like bamboo.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View clieb91's profile


4208 posts in 4944 days

#15 posted 02-03-2010 04:50 AM

Cool use of materials. I like the concept as well as the idea for the glue.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

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