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Making thin plywood (Read 138 times)
 
Robert Hayward
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Making thin plywood
Jun 30th, 2021 at 8:46pm
 
I want to make thin plywood using colored sheets of veneer for a segmented project. How do I laminate the layers? Vacuum?

Ed, I recall you saying you made your own thin plywood, or I think I remember. How do you glue up the layers? I have a vacuum chamber and vacuum pump but do not have a vacuum bag. Do I need one? Or can I clamp my sheets of glued veneer and put than in the vacuum chamber? My plywood ideally will have five or six layers and end up about 1/8" thick.
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robo_hippy
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Re: Making thin plywood
Reply #1 - Jul 1st, 2021 at 9:53am
 
Well, if you can find some one locally who makes skate boards, they may be able to help. There was a guy locally who made his on boards and he used a vacuum press/bag for them. I think you need special glues as well, Titebond doesn't quite stand up to the abuse that a skateboard gets.

For small flat pieces, you could probably get away with a bunch of clamps. One way to find out....

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Jeff Vanden Boogart
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Re: Making thin plywood
Reply #2 - Jul 1st, 2021 at 11:01pm
 
I've clamped the center of a 3' square by using 3/4" square "sticks" sprung in place between the workbench and the ceiling.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Making thin plywood
Reply #3 - Jul 2nd, 2021 at 10:02am
 
How big are you trying to laminate? Long strip, wide sheet?

I've done strips a few inches wide by clamping the layers to a straight edge, I used a piece of steel angle iron.
There is also a common method used by bowers where the use a section of inflated hose (usually fire hose) is used for clamping pressure.

To achieve a 6 layer laminate 1/8 thick your pieces are going to be fragile and they will also transfer ANY imperfection there is in the clamping plate or cauls used. You really don't need much pressure, you really just need enough to evenly distribute the weight.
When I need a wider piece, I've used my granite sharpening plate as a base, add the layers and add a piece of cork on top before adding weight for clamping pressure. This way I know the laminate will be dead flat.
I also suggest using a brayer (roller) for applying the adhesive in a thin layer on both faces of the layer to be glued.
Give me a little more info if you can and I'll see if I can help or provide photos.
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Robert Hayward
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Re: Making thin plywood
Reply #4 - Jul 2nd, 2021 at 3:46pm
 
For my first project using dyed layers of veneer I am going to make Christmas bell ornaments. Doing this as an experiment and learning process. Success with small ornaments will give me the ambition to try the dyed layers of plywood for an accent ring on a vase or some such. Really just looking to try something different.

For the bell ornaments I can use strips 2 1/2" wide X whatever length the veneer sheets come in the colors I choose. For the ornaments I will probably use red, green and white. I think my vacuum chamber will hold a sheet 12" X 12". I do not need 12" wide though.

I also do a little metal working. I have on hand pieces of 1/4 X 3 and 1/4 X 6 plate. Think I even have a piece of 1/4 X 12 out there. These can be cut to a proper length for use as plates to hold the veneers flat.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Making thin plywood
Reply #5 - Jul 2nd, 2021 at 4:25pm
 
so long as it's flat and true it should work.
Also, since you work with metal, you can always use a piece of aluminum or copper flashing to add some metallic pop to ornaments.
Here is a photo of a pen I did using aluminum.
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Robert Hayward
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Re: Making thin plywood
Reply #6 - Jul 2nd, 2021 at 7:57pm
 
That is a nice looking job. Did you laminate the metal to whatever the core is?

I have a 12X24X1/8 piece of sign board that is clad with aluminum both sides with a light gray plastic of some sort core. I plan on using that with this plywood experiment.

How is sanding with the metal sandwiched in there? Does the wood sand away faster than the metal leaving ridges?
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« Last Edit: Jul 2nd, 2021 at 8:05pm by Robert Hayward »  
 
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Making thin plywood
Reply #7 - Jul 3rd, 2021 at 8:27am
 
Robert..it's called Dibond.

It's used for signs and in framing we use it for mounting photos and such that you want to be flat.
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Robert Hayward
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Re: Making thin plywood
Reply #8 - Jul 3rd, 2021 at 10:22am
 
Ralph Fahringer wrote on Jul 3rd, 2021 at 8:27am:
Robert..it's called Dibond.


Thank you, I had no idea what it was called. With the word Dibond I was able to find the generic name of Aluminum Composite Material or ACM.

It makes some nice segmented projects... in the hands of someone skilled in using it. Like Ed's pen.
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« Last Edit: Jul 3rd, 2021 at 10:23am by Robert Hayward »  
 
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Ed Weber
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Re: Making thin plywood
Reply #9 - Jul 3rd, 2021 at 10:39am
 
The metal is aluminum, the wood surrounding it is ebony and walnut. It's not really an issue over-sanding if you just use a sanding block to back up your abrasive. This is just a basic 7mm tube pen kit, the aluminum was laminated to the ebony before construction of the knot, nothing fancy here.
Better photos (not so close) of the pen so you can see the effect.
I also posted the ornament so you can see the thin layers in the pin stripe. The stripe is 1/8" total (5 layers) I find it best to use contrasting woods so the thin layers don't get over looked.
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