Carcass help solid wood or ply - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-02-2016, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Carcass help solid wood or ply

I have a few questions regarding the carcass I'm building for a tv stand. It will be 4'6" long by 2'6" high by 2' deep. It will be split into three sections, a door on each end and and open area in middle with shelf going across. I was thinking of making everything from solid wood panels except I was worried about expansion and contraction issues. The shelf will fit into a rabbet or dovetail rabbet but was worried about the shelf expanding and contracting and causing issues. Also I want this to be a solid quality piece of furniture that's why I was thinking of using solid wood, is that the way you guys would suggest to build it to achieve that or should I do carcass out of plywood ( would it be just as authentic/quality) and apply wood face frame and some edging. Do most furniture makers make everything from solid wood glued up panels? I am aware and have made raised panel doors and factored in the expansion and contraction, didn't know if it was something to worry about with this. Thank you, this site is very inspirational!

Last edited by Firewood furniture; 01-02-2016 at 11:42 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-02-2016, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a idea/ sketch of what I plan. **** length and width will be adjusted and the open area on top won't be there.




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post #3 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firewood furniture View Post
I have a few questions regarding the carcass I'm building for a tv stand. It will be 4'6" long by 2'6" high by 2' deep. It will be split into three sections, a door on each end and and open area in middle with shelf going across.

I was thinking of making everything from solid wood panels except I was worried about expansion and contraction issues. The shelf will fit into a rabbet or dovetail rabbet but was worried about the shelf expanding and contracting and causing issues.

Also I want this to be a solid quality piece of furniture that's why I was thinking of using solid wood, is that the way you guys would suggest to build it to achieve that or should I do carcass out of plywood ( would it be just as authentic/quality) and apply wood face frame and some edging.

Do most furniture makers make everything from solid wood glued up panels? I am aware and have made raised panel doors and factored in the expansion and contraction, didn't know if it was something to worry about with this.

Thank you, this site is very inspirational!
I too think that "solid wood" furniture is the thing that I prefer. However, I count plywood as solid wood for working purposes.

Except for small items like coffee tables, end tables, etc that do not have solid sides I only use glued up solid wood on the tops. Even then I will sometimes use edged plywood.

I think you would have a difficult time finding any furniture that has a carcass made of solid wood.

George
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 08:51 AM
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here's the "secret"

Just make all the horizontal and vertical panels which are at 90 degrees like shelves and the top and bottom from the glued up panels. This way all the widths will be cross grain and will expand and contract at the same rate.

If you add back panel it should be plywood or if it's glued up, it will need room to expand and should not be glued in. Doors can be glued up panels since they are "attached" not glued in.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 11:21 AM
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I'm also in the process of making a tv stand and I'm using solid wood although most of my builds have used furniture grade plywood in the past. Like woodnthings states - wood at 90 degree will move at the same rate.

The reason I have chosen solid wood for this build is I'm interested in learning more. I'm joining the stand using mortise and tenon joints and making the joints about 1 1/2 inches wide placed in the middle of the adjoining sides leaving the rest of the panels free floating. The idea is that the wood moves out from the center which I believe is stable enough to glue up the 1 1/2 inch. I believe this will work out just fine but if I'm mistaken (wouldn't be the 1st time), please jump back in woodnthings and advise me. There are lots of other folks on this site with lots more experience then myself and I'm always learning from them... so all are welcome to advise me.

So thank you Firewood furniture for starting this post we can both learn from. Hope you don't mind me jumping in

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 12:36 PM
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Generally, I am a plywood person but have made solid wood furniture at customers requests. Both types of construction have their benefits and draw-backs. If you go plywood, find a reputable, non-box store exotic hardwoods supplier for your furniture grade plywood. If all you have is Home Depot, Lowes and other big box stores, I wish you luck. I usually had to drive an hour or so each way to a REAL hardwood lumber yard. It is worth the trip.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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By all means the more discussion generated by this the better so anyone jump in! I have a premium ply wood dealer local so that's not an issue. I'm not sure I understand what u mean by 90 degree panels. Do you guys mean all the horizontal panels like top, bottom, and shelf do solid wood and the carcass sides and partitions ply? so all wood would be oriented the same way letting the piece expand and contract all together instead of every which way? Also do you lose " value " by using some plywood? I planned on doing it out of walnut and mahogany which the ply wood place sells both in ply.
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 06:36 PM
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I have built two of these podiums for teachers. One was for my niece when she graduated from college. The other was for a friend of ours that teaches Texas History at the local junior high.

Red oak (solid and plywood) was my choice of material. They turned out pretty nice.
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 07:24 PM
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[QUOTE=Firewood furniture;1216490]...... I'm not sure I understand what u mean by 90 degree panels. Do you guys mean all the horizontal panels like top, bottom, and shelf do solid wood and the carcass sides and partitions ply? [QUOTE]

NOPE. Imagine you are wrapping this piece with a striped piece of paper all around and on the insides. You want all the stripes running parallel, just like the long grain on the boards you would glue together. The shelves and top and bottom are 90 degrees to the sides, that's all.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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That looks great MT Stringer! Woodnthings thanks lol I'm a little slow some times. I get it now, now that I really think about how wood expands ( across the grain ) that does make sense. Doing it that way when the wood expands technically the project will get a hair bigger/ smaller front to back, not cracking or ruining any part. Duh!!!! Still what do u guys think about value of a project in terms of selling it, wear and tear, ease/ability of refinishing in future.
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post #11 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 08:23 PM
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If you are not making raised panels, there is no real reason to use solid wood. I suggest you use plywood for your panels. When the plywood is framed with hardwood, the plywood inset panel can be made of 1/4".
Also, IMO, you are making your cabinet too deep. Your 24" depth will make your new cabinet look as big as a refrigerator.
Bookshelves are rarely more than 13" deep and new televisions are less than 3" deep. Unless you have another reason, consider cutting your depth down.
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post #12 of 17 Old 01-03-2016, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Good point haven't ironed out all the dimensions but I totally agree with you. The depth will realistically only be as deep as you need for a cable box/receiver, maybe 18"
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post #13 of 17 Old 01-04-2016, 08:35 PM
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I'm a firm believer in plywood, simply because I cannot, or will not afford solid wood for structural slabs or hidden parts. When I'm building a cherry buffet, I buy high quality cherry veneer plywood and then wrap it with solid woods (quality veneer plywood is certainly not cheap). It's easier to work with (think fewer large glue ups), it is extremely stable (though not impervious), and the veneer finishes exactly like the solid wood wrap, so it all looks identical. Done correctly, furniture made with a combination of quality ply and solid wood can easily be designated heirloom and will last longer than any of us.

Cheers,
Mark
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post #14 of 17 Old 01-06-2016, 10:38 AM
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I'd use ply with 1/4 " solid wood edges/ banding, solid wood doors ( rail and stiles) with with ply center panels.
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post #15 of 17 Old 01-06-2016, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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That's kinda what I was thinking ( in 1/2" though ) but was concerned I would not be building a piece of furniture of value or professional quality if I were to sell it. Maybe I'm overthinking it. Maybe it's not the materials as much as the skill of the craftsman....
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post #16 of 17 Old 01-06-2016, 01:30 PM
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So I have done both. And honestly, for casework I can't see any reason not to use plywood. It's stable, it looks good when you choose the right stuff, and it's much easier to design a piece when you don't have to worry about floating panels and dealing with movement. In my humble opinion, if furniture makers way back when had access to modern plywood, you would see tons of antiques made out of plywood. It is a great product that has a place in furniture construction. Just my $.02. That said, I did enjoy trying to make a piece completely with solid wood. Milled the wood, dried it, and made furniture with it. Something pretty satisfying about taking something from tree to furniture.
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post #17 of 17 Old 01-06-2016, 02:25 PM
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Very few pieces these days are solid wood. I don't think you are making something that will be of less value. I try to educate my clients. When people think of crappy furniture they are usually thinking of MDF or presswood, NOT plywood. There is a gigantic difference in these products and their durability.
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