Arched cabinet top

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Forum topic by willhime posted 05-01-2018 09:47 PM 547 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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146 posts in 2142 days

05-01-2018 09:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource tip trick joining shaping

I need to recreate this arched topped cabinet. I’m wondering how I’m going to do the top arched part which is a 3’ radius curve. I’m thinking I need to make a few mdf template cauls then laminate 5mm plywood across the top, maybe 3 layers. Is there a better way to go about this ?

-- Burn your fire for no witness

4 replies so far

View Luthierman's profile


222 posts in 1690 days

#1 posted 05-01-2018 09:49 PM

You can do bent laminations, one solid piece, or cut it out of segmented bits glued together. Bent lamination is the strongest and most stable.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4251 days

#2 posted 05-01-2018 09:57 PM

A single piece of veneered 1/4” ply can be
bent to that curve and nailed in place I think.

You can buy 3/8” bending plywood (wiggle wood)
which is easy to work with but if you want
the inside veneered you’d have to bend it
to the shape first and then veneer it. The
bending ply doesn’t look terrible if a veneer
match isn’t important.

I’ve made 2 part cauls to glue up plywood
laminations and it’s a lot of work. If you need
the edge of the plywood to look presentable
something like cauls are essential, but for
something like this where just the inside is
visible I wouldn’t go to the trouble personally.

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2045 days

#3 posted 05-01-2018 10:04 PM

That would be a good project for bending ply.

Or, check out Charles Neil’s approach here: Charles Neil Coopered Bonnet Video

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View bondogaposis's profile


5605 posts in 2954 days

#4 posted 05-01-2018 10:16 PM

If it is going to be a built in and inset into a wall like the picture shows, then you only need one layer of 1/4” plywood for the top arch, strength is not an issue. The cabinet strength will come from the sides, back, bottom and face frame. In this instance I would use a full 3/4” back, so you can staple the plywood over the arch. Put a rabbet on the inside of the face frame to staple the plywood to in the front Make sure you can bend the plywood you are going to use to a 3’ radius before building the cabinet. If it fails try the opposite grain orientation on the plywood, sometimes that helps. You could also use a door skin and veneer it to match the rest of the cabinet.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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