Reply by RobertStix

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Posted on Plywood vs real wood

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19 posts in 2317 days

#1 posted 05-19-2013 04:29 PM

All really good points and I learned from your question, too. When I’m choosing a material for a project I think about the final use & finish, the joinery method and then the material cost/availability. I do a LOT of salvaging and dumpster-diving so sometimes the process is reversed; “I just found a 4’ x 3’ x 3/4” piece of seven-ply A/C grade maple-veneer stock with two good factory edges. Time to make that shelf & rack for the entryway” or “Hey, half a formica countertop and it’s still dry! Some contact cement and a 2’x2’ sheet of laminate and viola; ROUTER TABLE TOP!”
In general – plywood spans shorter under load (bookcases) than an equivalent thickness piece of hardwood or even double-lam MDF. I have found that plywood, while more “woodlike” in nature than double-lam MDF, has to have the loads equalized or controlled somehow or it will flex. Great if you’re making a snowboard, bad if you’re making bookcase sides.

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