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post #1 of 14 Old 06-27-2017, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Top for a desk

I recently posted here some plans for my desk build, all is going well and the leg mortise and tenons are all cut and fit. I do however have a question on the top, in my other post i received a recommendation to use a 3/4 oak plywood top with either edge banding or solid oak border, i would like some more opinions on this as i have never done it before? which is the better way and why? Solid jointed wooden top or plywood with solid oak frame. Also what jointing method is recommended for the plywood top to the solid wood frame?


pictures of finished products would help me also
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-27-2017, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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I recently posted here some plans for my desk build, all is going well and the leg mortise and tenons are all cut and fit. I do however have a question on the top, in my other post i received a recommendation to use a 3/4 oak plywood top with either edge banding or solid oak border, i would like some more opinions on this as i have never done it before? which is the better way and why? Solid jointed wooden top or plywood with solid oak frame. Also what jointing method is recommended for the plywood top to the solid wood frame?


pictures of finished products would help me also
sorry forgot the picture (if i was to use plywood and a frame)
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post #3 of 14 Old 06-27-2017, 07:11 PM
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It all comes down to personal preference and what you have tools to do. A plywood top with edge banding is quick, cheap, and only needs an iron to apply. Putting a hardwood edge on plywood is more involved, but it gives the illusion of a full hardwood top and you can router it and do all sorts of cool things.

To apply hardwood around plywood, you could get away with just glue but I recommend you use dowels, biscuits, or tongue and groove.

Be careful when sanding hardwood that's up against plywood. It's very easy to burn through the plywood veneer.
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-28-2017, 10:35 AM
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Build a frame that actually fits under the plywood. Your glue joints will be that much stronger.
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-28-2017, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Masterofnone View Post
It all comes down to personal preference and what you have tools to do. A plywood top with edge banding is quick, cheap, and only needs an iron to apply. Putting a hardwood edge on plywood is more involved, but it gives the illusion of a full hardwood top and you can router it and do all sorts of cool things.

To apply hardwood around plywood, you could get away with just glue but I recommend you use dowels, biscuits, or tongue and groove.

Be careful when sanding hardwood that's up against plywood. It's very easy to burn through the plywood veneer.
Ok great thank you, i am all too familiar with burning thru veneer, most of my speakers are veneered MDF

Would you recommend the groove be on the ply and the tongue on the oak? or vice versa?
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-28-2017, 06:58 PM
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It seems you would prefer to put a solid hardwood edge on your desk rather than using veneer tape. Good choice. Unless you have matching router bits to make a tongue and groove joint I would not do it. There are several ways to apply a hardwood edge that is easier, faster and strong.
Before recommending the best way to do it, it will best if you know how wide you want your front hardwood edge.
Your front edge can be 3/4" or up to 4" wide. If only 3/4", I would use a butt joint with glue only. If the edge is over 1" wide I would use a spline or a biscuit.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-29-2017, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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It seems you would prefer to put a solid hardwood edge on your desk rather than using veneer tape. Good choice. Unless you have matching router bits to make a tongue and groove joint I would not do it. There are several ways to apply a hardwood edge that is easier, faster and strong.
Before recommending the best way to do it, it will best if you know how wide you want your front hardwood edge.
Your front edge can be 3/4" or up to 4" wide. If only 3/4", I would use a butt joint with glue only. If the edge is over 1" wide I would use a spline or a biscuit.
Yeah i definitely want to use hardwood instead of edge banding, i was playing with the look and i like a 1x2 for this purpose, i have never done biscuits or spline maybe dowels?
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-29-2017, 09:17 AM
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I would have to agree to use the solid wood to band it with. You might joint the solid wood with a spline or use biscuits. Just be sure when you assemble the solid wood to the edge the solid wood is partially sanded and make sure the top side is perfectly flush. The plywood made today the veneer is so thin it really leaves nothing to sand so after the edge is applied only minor sanding is done.
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-29-2017, 06:04 PM
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Yeah i definitely want to use hardwood instead of edge banding, i was playing with the look and i like a 1x2 for this purpose, i have never done biscuits or spline maybe dowels?
If you have a router, a 1/4" spline cutter is a great investment if you continue your woodwork. Very strong. Very quick. And unlike a dowel, it's hidden.
your front edge will most likely be mitered on each end to join the edge boards on the left and right sides of the desk. Fit the front edge first. Move in 2" from each end and make a mark on the back side of the board. Start your spline at the mark and stop the spline at the mark. Use 1/4" plywood cut 7/8" wide for the spline.

The spline bit is sold with a roller bearing. Just eyeball the middle and set your height on the router. The depth is pre-set. Easy to use. Either 1/4" or 1/2" shank will work.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-29-2017, 08:01 PM
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If a spline cutter is purchased if at all possible I would recommend a 1/2" shank. The 1/4" shank bits are easily bent ruining them.
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post #11 of 14 Old 06-30-2017, 02:05 PM
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MLCS sells router bits to hide the edge of the plywood


https://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shop...d_flush_anchor
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post #12 of 14 Old 07-01-2017, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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MLCS sells router bits to hide the edge of the plywood


https://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shop...d_flush_anchor
wow these are neat, thank you for the link!
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post #13 of 14 Old 07-01-2017, 09:35 AM
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I'm a big fan of laminating several strips, example, 20 1x1 strips to make 1 20" wide piece..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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post #14 of 14 Old 07-01-2017, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Deanr View Post
MLCS sells router bits to hide the edge of the plywood


https://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shop...d_flush_anchor


I have used the 90 degree edge banding bits (from Whiteside, not MLCS) and didn't like using it because the low cut angle leaves the plywood edge very fragile with a tendency to chip, making it hard to hide the seam. I might try the second set listed in the future since the angle isn't as extreme and hopefully, not as fragile.


Enjoy yourself, life is short
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