Is Plain/Flat Sawn Plywood Veneer Worth It?

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On 3/18/10 9:02 AM, StephenM wrote:

I guess I confused people with the cherry thing. I just used that as an example of the price difference. I haven't settled on a wood, yet. I'll definitely go with cherry, if I can, since we like a natural finish.
I'm not a big fan of oak for cabinets, anyway.
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On 3/18/2010 11:51 AM, -MIKE- wrote:

Mu personal preference is cherry, but I build more oak cabinets than anything else.
As far as plywood, I almost always go with rift sawn for kitchens where I make the call ... and, for my own A&C furniture projects, I use QS for door panels.
Rift sawn makes for a much less "slap you in the face" grain when stained.
Although many folks like the wild grain look.
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I don't think the striping problem depends on the way the wood is sawn. In my kitchen they used flat sawn oak plywood for the doors and you can clearly see dramatic contrasts in the color that result from the book matching. The contrast is visible in the normal kitchen lighting. I recently worked on a cabinet where when I went to arrange the wood (quarter sawn cherry) I discovered that if I turned a board end for end the color would change dramatically. To get the colors to match I had to keep the boards oriented the same direction they were in the tree. If I flipped one over (book match) I would get a color contrast unless I also turned it end for end. I suspect that all non-rotary plywood is book matched, so it'll all have this problem.
The ray fleck pattern in quarter sawn cherry is really pretty. Do they sell plywood with that kind of veneer on it? I'd probably favor that over plain sawn cherry, though plain sawn cherry would look nice too. Seems like quarter sawn without the ray fleck pattern wouldn't be worth paying more for. If you were to choose maple I wouldn't see any point in using quarter sawn. A note about maple, though: I got some non-rotary maple plywood recently and it had dark blotches (ambrosia?). Worked out fine in my project as a nice accent, but might not be what you were hoping for in a set of kitchen doors.
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On 3/18/10 1:14 PM, snipped-for-privacy@cam.cornell.edu wrote:

Thanks for the insight. I'm not so concerned with the book-matching, although if I have any control over picking, I'll definitely take what you said into account.
The way I see it, at least flat sawn book-matched looks like wood... looks like cut boards. I've seen solid panels doors that weren't exactly color matched, you know?
And I haven't committed to any species, yet.
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This problem mostly exists because of the way light reflects back off off and or out of the grain. Typically book matched pieces have the grain pointing in mirrored dirrections also. Actually you can often see regular hard woods change from light to dark and back again if you spin the wood 360 degrees and or walk around the piece. I have found that if you stain the pieces the light and dark is much less dramatic if noticeable at all. Clear unobstructive finishes that do not stain the wood tend to exagerate the light and dark patterns.
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On 03/18/2010 01:14 PM, snipped-for-privacy@cam.cornell.edu wrote:

Very.
That depends. Quarter-sawn maple (sugar maple, in my experience) can have some _very_ nice looking ray fleck, and in my opinion it's worth the effort to seek it out if you have the lumber at your disposal.
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On 3/18/2010 12:51 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

maple for the drawer fronts and doors. I am looking for the relatively straight grain that qtr gives you vs the cathedral grain of flat sawn. It just has to do with what look you are after and your budget. I guess I am paying about $50 more per sheet to get the qtr and I am having to have it made up special. Plain sawn is stocked.
Neither is better than the other. Which do you want to use is the question.
JMHO Harvey
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My only real experience is with QS white oak and I have found the QS ply to be very underwhelming in terms of figure. Not sure why that is but never really had much impressive figure and there is no stability enhancments since it is ply so the extra money for QS, which looked like rift wasn't worth it in my opinion.

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On 3/18/2010 1:59 PM, SonomaProducts.com wrote:

I've always been able to find QSWO plywood with nice figure here on the Gulf Coast:
The bottom doors in this corner cabinet I build a few years back are frame and panel doors with 1/4" QSWO plywood panels.
Here they are with just one coat of stain:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/corncab21.jpg
And here are the doors after spraying with amber shellac and the piece was put into service:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/QSPlydoors.jpg
I thought the QSWO ply ended up matching quite nicely with the QSWO stock used for the rest of the piece after all was said and done.
The two back panels of the case are 3/4" QSWO ply, and they have a nice figure also, although you can't tell by the archaic digital photo.
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Well, I can't see any figure on the forst pic, I guess maybe my monitor is not so great and the second pic kind of makes my point. It has a few nice flakes on the right panel but nothing I can see on the right and compared to the fantastic rays on the rails\stiles the ply look boring.
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On 3/19/2010 12:48 PM, SonomaProducts.com wrote:

"Boring"? Dayum, Bubba ... you sound like that guy in the recording studio that wants everything louder than everything else. :)
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Hey, I guess you have heard my mixes. ;^)
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My only real experience is with QS white oak and I have found the QS ply to be very underwhelming in terms of figure. Not sure why that is but never really had much impressive figure and there is no stability enhancments since it is ply so the extra money for QS, which looked like rift wasn't worth it in my opinion.
That can be true, however if you have the time and patients to look through a quantity of quarter sawn plywood you will in deed find those pieces that have pretty impressive patterns. If you look at the foot board on the link below you will see the more exagerated quarter sawn pattern in the 1/2" plywood panels. The towers are also made with quarter sawn plywood but more closely resemble what you have come to expect, a rift sawn look.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/4275428546/sizes/l/
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Oops, make that 1/4" QS plywood panels.
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Yes those few lower panels have some nice figure. Not too common in my experience. For me, I usually order ply delivered and don't get to pick through the sheets and even though I can return stuff it isn't really fair to like order 10 sheets so I can find the one or two with good figure and return the others when the real expectation is that QS ply is going to be hit and miss in terms of figure.
Figure can be a very elusive thing. I have selected some great pieces of solid stock for projects only to plane away the great figure with the removal of just 1/32" off the surface. So I can image why it is difficult to get good slices for veenering ply.
One of my big hopes is to get my kit business up and running and start buying custom milled QS WO by the truck load. That is my nirvana!
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Yes those few lower panels have some nice figure. Not too common in my experience. For me, I usually order ply delivered and don't get to pick through the sheets and even though I can return stuff it isn't really fair to like order 10 sheets so I can find the one or two with good figure and return the others when the real expectation is that QS ply is going to be hit and miss in terms of figure.
As one of the owners of a supplier I use put it, if I pull the order they get what every one else picks through. We don't just throw the that stuff away, if they don't care enough to pick it out themselves they must not care what it looks like.
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.
Well for me, the bigger suppliers don't allow anyone in their warehouse. I do have a place I can go and look at anything I want but not as convenient and not so easy to look through stacks of ply that have to be pulled down from racks, etc.
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Well for me, the bigger suppliers don't allow anyone in their warehouse. I do have a place I can go and look at anything I want but not as convenient and not so easy to look through stacks of ply that have to be pulled down from racks, etc.
I hear you, fortunately I only had to look through 1/4" stacks. ;~)
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