Is Plain/Flat Sawn Plywood Veneer Worth It?

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I'm building some Shaker style cabinet doors and I'll be using 1/4" plywood for the panels.
I REALLY hate the look of normal rotary cut veneer and will NOT use it. So that leaves me with quarter sawn, rift sawn, and plain/flat sawn.
I can get 1/4" CherryAA, plain, mdf core for about $70/sheet, locally. I don't know where I can find quarter or rift sawn plywood anywhere local, so I would have to have it shipped or drive however many hours to get it.
I'm not really concerned with the price. If I'll pay $70, I'll pay $100+. It's not enough sheets to worry about. Given that these will be our kitchen cabinet doors, I want them to look great.
I've seen some pictures on the internet and the flat sawn definitely looks much better than rotary cut, to me. So, in your opinions, does rift and quarter sawn veneer look *that* much better than flat sawn? Is it night and day to you? Is it worth the extra hassle and $$?
AND... does anyone have any pictures of cabinet doors or any other project on which they used flat sawn plywood?
--

-MIKE-

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On 3/17/2010 8:48 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

If money is no object, why not forgo the plywood and use solid Cherry to make your panels? That way you can sift through the available boards and choose the look you want. I agree with you about rotary cut plywood, but other than that I think Cherry looks gorgeous no matter what the cut; flat, rift, or quarter. That said, if you go with flat sawn, try to look for boards with some quilting in them; that just about makes up for what you miss when you have quarter-sawn wood with lots of ray flecks (which is DAMN gorgeous).
What color are you going to paint them? :-)
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On 3/17/10 9:18 PM, Steve Turner wrote:

>
Because plywood is so darn easy and stable. Besides, I'm using flat panels, not raised. The groove is 1/4"-6mm on my bits. Do people make solid 1/4" panels? Or do the make them thicker and rabbet out the slot in the back?

That's good to hear. I'll see if they let me... ehem!... cherry-pick through the pile.

Walnut. :-)
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-MIKE-

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-MIKE- wrote:

Easy, yes; stable, not necessarily. If you don't believe me, come look at the cabinets I made a year or so ago for my wife's laundry room using 1/4" birch ply for the panels. The four doors on the lower cabinet are fine; the four doors (about the same size as the lowers) are warped beyond belief...one corner on each is standing out 1-2"!! And yes, they were flat originally. One of these days - when I can conquer my urge to just destroy them - I'll make new ones. And I won't be using 1/4" ply (or *any* ply) for the panels.
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dadiOH
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On 3/18/10 8:38 AM, dadiOH wrote:

Help me understand this. Are these just panels, or did you use rail and stiles? I don't see the proverbial snow ball's chance in he!! of a 1/4" plywood panel warping solid wood rails and stiles.
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-MIKE-

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On 3/18/2010 11:43 AM, -MIKE- wrote:

Chances are they were not frame and panel. It warping at all, it would have been from the frames, IME.

Agreed ... I've made literally hundreds of frame and panel doors with 1/4 plywood panels and never had one warp from the panel.
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-MIKE- wrote:

Well, they did.
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On 3/18/10 2:35 PM, dadiOH wrote:

I'm not going to question that you experienced this problem, just your diagnosis of it. :-)
If those were made of solid wood rails and stiles with 1/4" plywood panels, there is no way on this planet that the 1/4" plywood warped, causing the rails and stile to warp, as well. It's a simple matter of reversed cause and effect, here. The rails/stiles, for whatever reason, warped and pulled the plywood with them.
Now, if you're saying the doors are made only from a rectangle of 1/4" plywood, then yes, with all that humidity, I can see an unsupported piece of 1/4" plywood curling up like a ribbon, in no time.
--

-MIKE-

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-MIKE- wrote:

Wrong _____________
1. I cut a bunch of softwood lumber into uniform pieces - about 3/4" x 1 3/4" - for use as frames for various utility type doors I needed to make for both my shop and house. I still have a bunch in the shop, all flat as pancakes.
2. For the shop doors I used hardboard as the panels. None warped. Humidity in the shop is high in the summer.
3. I used 1/4" (nominal) birch ply for the doors in the house. Made eight doors. All were nice and flat. Four warped. The humidity in the laundry is no higher than anywhere else.
4. I used the same 1/4" ply for some smallish (12" x 18" more or less) sliding doors for a utility cabinet also in the laundry. They just slide in grooves, grooves were made sloppy wide because I know from past experience that ply warps and if the grooves are a nice fit the doors will wind up binding so much they are hard to move. Initially, the butted edges of two doors were nicely lined up when closed. They no longer are.
5. I just looked in my shop to see if I had any of the ply used for the warped doors. I found a piece about 12" x 12" (door panels are about 12" x 36"). With one corner and two adjacent sides flat, the opposite corner is warped by about 3/8". Extend that warp (wind, actually) to 36" and it would be better than an inch. Here's a photo...
http://mysite.verizon.net/xico/pix/warped_ply.jpg
6. The ply warped, not the frame.
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The ply warping by itself is irrelevant.
You said the ply warping, is what pushed the rails and stiles out 2 inches. I just don't think that is physically possible.
Of course, I assumed you were talking hardwood, but I still don't buy it with softwood.
But hey, it's not worth arguing about.
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-MIKE-

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On Thu, 18 Mar 2010 14:35:54 -0500, the infamous "dadiOH"

Remind the little woman that she shouldn't store wet clothes in the cabinets. ;)
-- No matter how cynical you are, it is impossible to keep up. --Lily Tomlin
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I'd say the question, Mike, is whether or not it's worth it to you. Why would you give a rat's ass about what someone else thinks?
John Martin
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Well, John, we're all here because we give a rat's ass what others think. Otherwise nobody would ask ask questions, right?
Is this tool any good? Does this technique work? Does this finish look any good on this wood? And my question....
Does quarter or rift sawn look *that* much than flat sawn. And... does anyone have any pictures of flat sawn on their work?
But thanks for that wonderful insight. :-p
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-MIKE-

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Is this tool any good? Does this technique work? Good questions, which should yield some meaningful answers.
Does this finish look any good on this wood? Might, or might not. Depends on the viewer, doesn't it?
You've already told us how much you hate rotary cut veneers. Others may think the rotary cut veneers are fine. You didn't ask about stability, availability or cost differences. All you care about is how it looks. And, as it turns out, you don't even know which wood species you want to use. For all that, Mike, yours is the only opinion that matters.
I'm thinking of buying a new car. Maybe it will be a truck. My problem is that I can't decide between red and blue. Can you help me decide? Would you send me some pictures of red or blue cars or trucks to help me? Oh, sorry - this is a woodworking group. I'll ask in an automotive group instead.
They say there is no such thing as a stupid question. They are wrong.
John Martin
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On 3/18/10 3:53 PM, John Martin wrote:

Why didn't you just say that in the first place? That's obviously what you meant by your first post, but you didn't have the stones to just say it.
Next time, either keep your convoluted insults to yourself, or grow a pair and say what you really think. :-)
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-MIKE-

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If you have seen my comments and pictures on my "towers" bedroom project you will have seen 1/4 sawn oak plywood panels.
Something to watch out for,
All of the quarter sawn plywood that I have seen and purchased is made up of book matched slices. Some times there are 8, some times there are 12 slices to cover a sheet of plywood. This can look strange if you are using more than one sheet and you want everything to look symetrical. Under certain lighting conditions you can plainly see each strip. IMHO you want to hand pick the sheets you get.
Notice here, that the slices are obvious in the foot and head boards, under a flash exposure. Notice that the slices are not noticeable on the towers. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/4243010840 /
Fortunately the obvious slices do not show up under "my" normal lighting conditions. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/4275428546 /
And finally the finished project. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/4436686012 /
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On 3/18/10 8:41 AM, Leon wrote:

This is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. Thanks, Leon.

Yes, I see. Definitely a color difference, but the grain is fine in my book. (pun)

So, just to be clear, all the panels on that project are flat sawn veneer?
Great work, by the way!
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-MIKE-

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Quarter sawn. You can see the that a little more eaisly on the pics where the bookmatches are not so obvious.

Thank you.
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-MIKE- wrote:

I didn't know they even made rotary cut cherry.
It's not so much that they look better, just different. Some - including me - like the normal "cathedral" figure in flat cut wood. AFATG, rotary is OK too depending on the type of wood; rotary cut luan is fine - IMO - for something where one wants wood but not a lot of pattern from the figure, just innocuous wood. _____________

Lot of pix via Google.
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dadiOH
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I vote for flat sawn .
IMO, flat sawn cherry looks nice. I made some bedside tables for a buddy that had cherry riftsawn (solid) tops and drawerfronts. They looked good, different than plainsawn, but not better.
If it were White Oak I would feel differently, but for cherry stick with plain.
Another poster suggested problems with plywood warping. I don't think you will have any problems with MDF core. I did my kitchen in maple using MDF-core flat pannels. It worked out just fine.
-Steve

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