Tuesday, 31 October 2017

To Quote My Old Man, "Boy, What the Hell Were You Thinking"...

To say I'm surprised by the lack of comments regarding my experiment with Bondo and veneer would be an understatement. In fact, I have been mildly shocked by the lack of comments raking me over the coals for doing something that isn't considered a normal way to do things. The only thing I can think of that would keep the, "you-can't-do-it-that-way" boys from ripping me a new one is that they think I'm beyond help.

So what the hell was I thinking...

  Why Construction Grade ply?
This is mainly to do with price, but also to do with convenience. 
One sheet of 11mm Good One Side Fir Sanded Plywood at Lowe's or Home Depot is less than $50 a sheet. Included in that price is up to five cuts to the sheet, so getting the stock into the trunk of my wife's Fusion to take home was never a problem. 
  Why two layers of 11mm fir ply?
I wanted the material thickness to be in the same scale as the cabinet it defines. This is a fair-sized cabinet so its components should reflect that. I didn't need a full 1" thick. All I needed was material that was obviously thicker than 3/4", hence the laminated 11mm ply, which, when veneered on both sides, ends up being a very thin hair thinner than 1".
By laminating two 11mm pieces I could ensure they were dead flat during glue-up and they would stay that way after they came out of the clamps (ok, when the screws were removed - don't be so picky).
  Why not use pre-veneered ply?
I wanted White Oak veneer, not Red. The box stores only sell Red Oak Veneered ply, so I would have to purchase what I needed at a hardwood lumber yard, rent a truck to get it home, and fight with it to cut it up as I do not own a panel saw.
Price!  
Also, I have never done any veneering before and I wanted to try it. 
  Why veneer before assembly? 
Every component included in this cabinet is flat-slabbed. There isn't a curved surface on it. Believe me, I tried to add a curve or two, but when I did, I lost a lot of storage room where the corners once were. Because it is just flat panels, I guessed that fitting the veneer would be far easier if I had to trim 1" thick stock than it would be if I had to deal with stock that was 0.8mm thick.
  Why use Bondo? 
You can't be a car-guy who grew up in the '50s and '60s and not know about Bondo. 3M makes Bondo, and they also make a slightly heavier two-part filler called White Lightnin'. They recommend both for metal and wood, but I have found that the Bondo is quicker to work with for lighter applications, such as fairing my plywood slabs.
Peace,

Mitchell