Bonding exotic wood to plywood

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Forum topic by ThistleDown posted 07-04-2016 05:59 PM 785 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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49 posts in 1390 days

07-04-2016 05:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak purpleheart mahogany zebrawood wenge cocobolo bubinga bandsaw planer router milling shaping veneering tip padauk

I make big thick stuff; beds, dressers, dining room … I would like to offer exotic wood in say a bed but the cost would be prohibitive to make it out of solid wood.

Has anyone taken plywood, resawn solid wood and laminated it to the ply to make a ‘beam’ to work with? What I mean is a piece of 3/4” ply, 7’ or so feet long, then ‘wrapped’ in a solid wood.

Did it look like a solid piece of wood on all 4 sides; (not the ends)?

How did you deal with the edges where the solid wood met; 45 degree miter or lock miter or something else? I want it to look like one piece of wood, not four pieces glued together on their faces.

Stickley would use 4 pieces glued together using a 45 degree miter with a core of poplar to get a quarter sawn look on all four sides for legs, but if you are not PERFECT on the edges it looks like glued up wood, and I think that would be hard to do on a 7’ beam.

If you have done this, let me know how it went and how you did it.


-- My biggest fear is that when I am gone, my wife will sell my tools for what I told her I paid for them.

4 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


13117 posts in 3053 days

#1 posted 07-06-2016 03:37 AM

Commonly done to make faux beams. Also look into veneer. Just remember wood movement, solid wood expands and contracts across the grain. A thin piece bonded to ply will be fine but a thicker piece will break itself loose or cup the plywood.

-- Rick M,

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5579 posts in 2982 days

#2 posted 07-06-2016 04:05 AM

You can not glue something that moves (exotic woods) to something that doesn’t move (plywood) unless it is very thin. This pretty much mean you need to study up on veneering. The most typical answer I read is about 3/32 thickness for veneering.

Pretty much what Rick M said.

Disclaimer, I have done very little veneering so what do I know.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Ger21's profile


1090 posts in 3804 days

#3 posted 07-07-2016 01:29 AM

The rails on my bed are 1-3/4” x 10” walnut.
Core is 3/4” plywood, with a layer of 1/2” MDF on each side. Top and bottom are 3/4” x 1-3/4” walnut, and the faces are veneered. All edges have a 1/4” chamfer. It’s dyed black, and looks like a solid wood beam.

-- Gerry,

View ThistleDown's profile


49 posts in 1390 days

#4 posted 07-07-2016 08:59 PM

Thanks guys. Veneer is a choice but I was thinking juuuuust a bit bigger.

@Ger21, so the beams top and bottom haven’t moved like stated above. I figure in a steady temperature environment indoors it would not be so extreme. Your cuts are thicker than what I was thinking, more like 1/4” to 3/8”.

-- My biggest fear is that when I am gone, my wife will sell my tools for what I told her I paid for them.

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