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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I'm new to the forum and pretty new to woodworking in general. I have a project that I would like to knock out for my son. I'm trying to build a desk / project table. He builds a ton of legos, so it will start out as a way to organize all of them and give him an area to work/build. If done right, I think it will grow with him. In order to get the "bosses" approval it will have to match the playroom cosmetics. I also want to get it knocked out sooner than later and keep the budget reasonable. Based on those constraints, I was thinking of these basic starting points:

- Mix of hardwood / plywood construction.

- Finish: Oil based finish on the hardwood, with plywood "panels" painted to give the piece some contrast, allow it to blend with the rest of the room better, and be easier to finish in some ways.

So, my main questions...

- I haven't used much plywood so far. Any advice on building with plywood? I am worried about the hardwood frames with plywood in terms of the different rates of expansion/contraction?

- Can I mix the two finish types easily enough? Any suggestions on how to go about this process?

I'd like to get a few inputs, then draw up some sketches. Maybe post my sketches for more advice to finalize the plans.

Thanks for any inputs for a newbie.
 

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Hi welcome to the forums.

I have glued hardwood to plywood T1-11 siding for an outdoor shed. That is the only time I have used plywood and hardwood together and no noticeable issues to date. I know it can be done, but maybe using pocket screws for a joint that allows for movement would be better. I think there will be very minimal (if any) in the ply.

I say go for it, but do a lot of research (joints, techniques) first if you have time. I like to dive right in myself then realize halfway through all the things I could have done better :)

Above all, have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Noek,

Thanks. I was thinking about a hardwood frame then plywood panels. If the panels 'float' then the differences in finishes could be dealt with separately and the expansion rates wouldn't be an issue. I would like to have the panels connected more solidly though to make the whole structure much more stable. Glued in panels would really give the project a more solid feel, I think anyway... Any thoughts on floating vs a more rigid joint?
 

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Scotty D
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Glued in panels would really give the project a more solid feel, I think anyway... Any thoughts on floating vs a more rigid joint?
Plywood panels can be glued in hard wood frames without having movement issues. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
mdntrdr,

Thanks! I would prefer that method for the stability. What are your thoughts on finishing? Can I paint the ply, and finish the hardwood with a natural oil type finish, then do final assembly with the glue? I could mask off the edges of the ply for good glue adhesion and some of the hardwood, too... Is there a better way? Or, is this just a bad finish mix? Opinions?

Thanks!
 

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Scotty D
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mdntrdr,

Thanks! I would prefer that method for the stability. What are your thoughts on finishing? Can I paint the ply, and finish the hardwood with a natural oil type finish, then do final assembly with the glue? I could mask off the edges of the ply for good glue adhesion and some of the hardwood, too... Is there a better way? Or, is this just a bad finish mix? Opinions?

Thanks!
That would be the way I would do it. :thumbsup:
 

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If you're gonna float panels I would just use hardwood all the way around since you might have a better wood selection that way and staining might go smoother.

I wouldn't go through the trouble of making the floating panels for plywood but that's just my opinion. It will be much easier just to glue in the plywood if you go that route, however.
 
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