Plywood choice for bookcase/entertainment center - Router Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Default Plywood choice for bookcase/entertainment center

I always seem to drag my feet on projects that are in unfamiliar territory, too many decisions. I suffer from paralysis of analysis, but I think i am finally ready to start on this book case that I have been planning for over a year. It is to be a bookcase/entertainment center that hides the plumbing in my basement celling. I would like to use 3/4" plywood with 3/8" dado everywhere because even if you tell them no, children are not much different than monkeys. I'm planning on edge banding on the shelves and doing possibly a fluted molding on the vertical edges. Then come up with some kind of crown molding assembly to cover the 5" gap at the top. My intent was to use red oak veneer plywood($75 a sheet) and use a water soluble stain(red walnut) to darken it. I have not yet decided on a finish or weather to finish before assembly. Someone at the plywood supplier suggested using birch($52 a sheet) but I am uncertain as to how that will look with the stain and I think it will be easier to find oak moldings than birch. It might be more hassle than the $250 savings on 10 sheets is worth. I'm hoping I can get some advice that will help me move forward so I buy plywood and start cutting next week.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 12:14 AM
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welcome to the forum, Bridger. I would use an oil based stain, I'm not to keen on water based stains for something that large. I think the oil based stain will give you a longer working time than the water based. Also check over your plywood real good for scratches before you buy it. The stain will bring out any scratches, be very careful sanding the veneer is very very thin. I found out the hard way last week end. Post some pics as you progress and let us know how it's going.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 12:17 AM
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Welcome to the RouterForums Bridger. Hope you enjoy it.

the "Doctor"

In woodworking there is no scrap, only firewood.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 06:27 AM
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I've used both types of ply. But the question is what kind of look are you after. I can't picture a red walnut stain on oak because I've never seen a red walnut stain. I would think that if you are trying create the look of walnut that the birch would be your best option it doesn't have the grain like oak. I would use an oil stain IMO it just works better. As for molding, I'm asuming you have a router I just make my own (except for crown I don't find it worth the effort)
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 06:43 AM
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For $250 in my pocket, I'd be jumping all over the birch. I went with a little lesser quality (I assume, because mine was only $32/ea) and found it really easy to work with.

I'd also consider instead of having a 5" gap all around, just notch the back where the pipe will be and you can have a bit more options. Almost like a reverse toe kick.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2010, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not after any particular look other that the color doesn't clash with the flooring. I'm hoping for the same tint but darker to compliment the darker grains in the floor. So it was between J.E. MOSER'S Honduras Brown Mahogany and Red Walnut, I just went with the cheaper of the two. I chose(already bought) water soluble dye because I read that it would not be affected by alcohol based finishes and wanted to keep shellac as an option. I want to buy crown molding(seems to cost less than my time) and I have seen it listed as oak or whw(white hard wood?) would whw be close enough/same as birch to dye the same?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-26-2010, 12:31 AM
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I'm no expert finisher but I'll tell you what *I'd* do. You're looking at 10 sheets of either $50/sheet or $75/sheet plywood and investing a bunch of your time to cut, build and finish this project.

If it were me, I'd buy 1 sheet of each. I'd then lay out my cut-pattern and find a place on the sheet that will be scrap on at least 2 sheets and cut it out from both pieces and finish a swatch on each. This will permit you to determine which you like best and also let you confirm you'll like the end result.

What do you do with the rest of the sheet you don't choose? You can either use it for other projects or use it in places where it provides strength but is relatively hidden.

I don't know about you but I'd sure hate to complete a large beautiful project and then wish I'd finished it differently. I call it "risk mitigation"... but actually it helps me with my analysis paralysis...

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