One of the most popular types of wood for woodworking projects is the all important plywood. Plywood is an interesting and immensely useful wood constructed from thin wood veneer layers, sometimes called “plies.”
Plywood is sold in sheets that have several layers glued together. Their wood grains are purposefully rotated 90 degrees to create the look of striated wood grain. Now that you know what plywood is, learning to use it in woodworking projects might become a necessity.
How to Choose Plywood for Woodworking
Plywood is sold at lumber mills and home improvement stores. When you purchase plywood, take note of its composition. Certain plywood is thinner or may be lower in quality.
The type of plywood for woodworking depends on the specific use. For example, to build an outdoor, freestanding garden box, choose higher quality, thicker plywood that offers more durability.
Don’t be afraid to be creative with plywood. Use a table or band saw to cut plywood for larger project pieces, like table tops and outdoor furniture like Adirondack style chairs. Plywood can be easily cut into slats for decorative designs for fences.
Plywood for Fine Furniture
Use plywood for fine furniture projects. These woodworking projects generally require a table saw or circular saw for cutting. Ideally, plywood in large sheets needs to be cut into smaller sizes in order to make them workable.
One tip is to save all unused sheets of cut plywood in a cool, dry place for future projects. Certain types of furniture may require a router that has an edging guide to finish cutting and shaping plywood.
You may want to consider using thinner plywood for some furniture projects. Where applicable, two thinner pieces of plywood can be glued together. Try smoothing the finished edges of the plywood with light grain sanding paper to avoid splintering.
Much Ado about Plywood for Woodworking
If you can dream it, you can find many ways to use plywood in woodworking projects by studying its properties. For example, plywood made from spruce lumber tends to be soft. Some types of plywood are overlaid with other woods like birch, teak or rosewood to give woodworking projects a professional appearance.
Plywood is usually sold in large 4 ft. by 8 ft. sheets and comes in a thickness of one-eighth, one-quarter, three-eighths, one-half and three-quarter inch thicknesses. Ash, birch, and oak are the most popular plywood veneers.
Plywood Bookcases and Cabinets
Depending on the size you choose, two fairly simple woodworking projects using plywood are bookcases and cabinets. Children’s toy chests are another easy woodworking project. Bookcases and cabinets can be built from two or three four by eight-foot sheets of plywood cut to design size.
Bookcases are composed of two side panels and as many shelves as preferred, usually, two to four shelves, depending on height and width planned. Add two plywood doors to prevent dust buildup, if desired. Finish with a dark or light wood stain or these can also be painted.
To make a child’s toy chest, you’ll need two plywood side panels, a plywood bottom and two long front and back panels. The size of the plywood panels depends on the size of the toy chest.
Kids always love whimsical shapes. Cut plywood into a small table and chair set in fun shapes using your lathe or router.
Use plywood to make a storage cabinet for your woodworking tools or an outdoor garden shed to stool gardening tools. These projects require several four by eight-foot sheets of plywood to complete.
Choose a basic construction design in hard copy blueprint or use a laptop to access “How To” videos online.
More from Plywood in Woodworking
Woodworking hobbyists rarely run out of ideas for using plywood in woodworking projects. Beginners can start with plywood scraps to make bird houses and handmade, woodwork weather vanes.
Don’t forget that woodworking projects also make great gifts for any season of the year.
Author: Paul Moore