oak veneered ply or solid oak

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I'm planning to make a small bookcase in oak to match our existing Scandinavian style dining room furniture. Approx 800 long x 800 high x 235 deep (front to back) - all mm obviously! As I see it I have 2 options for the main carcase construction. Oak veneered ply suitably edged with solid wood, or solid oak boards. The boards for the base, sides, top and shelf would be approx 235mm wide by 18mm thick or possibly 25mm thick for the top.
The last time I made something similar was 2 small occasional tables, again in oak, with the top s about 380mm square. I made the tops from 3 edge jointed solid oak boards, each about 130mm wide and 18mm thick. I had tremendous problems with warping of these comparitively narrow boards during construction even though I alternated the end grain pattern. Just moving the jointed tops from my garage where I do my woodwork into the house (central heated) fro a few hours seemed to make the boards move.
A further complication is that I can only get oak veneered ply in a 2.4m x 1.2m sheet for about GBP40 - 50 and I would only need about half the sheet, the rest would be waste. I have a local source for solid oak sawn/planed to my requirements but I've not costed it yet.
Any advice on the best way to proceed?
Thanks in advance
Pete K.
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Ok, the Oak veneer plywood woud be a stable idea and work well for a surface that will not be prone to getting dings.
Solid Oak would be preferred as far a durability.
BUT you mention that your solid oak warped ,,, about 3/4" x 5.5" in inches IIRC.
I thnk you warping problem was caused from the "3" edge jointed boards. I am not entirely sure what that means but if you are saying that the edges were joined to make a wider panel and you jointed/surfaced the top for a smooth top surface that may very well have been your problem.
Oak will tend to warp if you do not evenly surface the top and bottom. I suggest you surface the top and bottom faces evenly until you have the correct thickness. Surfave one side then the other then the first again and so on.
Properly surfaced on each sface you should no have to worry about end grain orientation. I work with LOTS of oak and do not worry with grain orientation when glueing up panels.
Good Luck

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I did indeed join 3 boards, each about 3/4" x 5.5" as you say, to give a panel about 16.5" wide. I bought the oak planed to thickness and routed grooves in each to take a plywood tongue. Then I glued and cramped the 3 boards together. After 24 hrs or so, I removed the clamps and because the surface was not exactly level I tried to hand plane it flat. In short, I did not do a very good job, so I took the jointed panel back to where I bought the oak and asked them to put it through their thicknesser to remove as little as possible to obtain a flat surface. They did this but by the time I got them home and left them in the house for a few hours, the jointed panels had warped a bit. I took them into the garage (unheated) and left them there for another few hours and the panels had moved again!
Should I have bought the boards oversize on thickness, jointed them and then machined them to final thickness? I take it, that you are recommending they are thicknessed by the same amount each side.
I think I could buy a solid oak board in approx 12" width. Would this be preferable to edge joining narrower boards?
Regards Pete K.
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wrote in message

I did indeed join 3 boards, each about 3/4" x 5.5" as you say, to give a panel about 16.5" wide. I bought the oak planed to thickness and routed grooves in each to take a plywood tongue. Then I glued and cramped the 3 boards together. After 24 hrs or so, I removed the clamps and because the surface was not exactly level I tried to hand plane it flat. In short, I did not do a very good job, so I took the jointed panel back to where I bought the oak and asked them to put it through their thicknesser to remove as little as possible to obtain a flat surface. They did this but by the time I got them home and left them in the house for a few hours, the jointed panels had warped a bit. I took them into the garage (unheated) and left them there for another few hours and the panels had moved again!
Should I have bought the boards oversize on thickness, jointed them and then machined them to final thickness? I take it, that you are recommending they are thicknessed by the same amount each side.
I think I could buy a solid oak board in approx 12" width. Would this be preferable to edge joining narrower boards?
No, sorry you seem to be on the right track. I misunderstood. I was under the impression that the bottoms of your glued up panel were still rough cut ot had not been evenly planed/surfaced top and bottom as I had mentioned.
If you were comfortable with the thickness that you bought and all surfaces are smooth you should not have problems. However if your supplier is surfacing one side with a joiner and then planing/surfacing the opposite side untill the board is the proper thickness when you buy this too can cause warping. Both shdes should be equally planed to the desired thickness.
I would not advise buying a wider board, cutting it up and reglueing.
Regards Pete K.
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petek wrote:

Not at all, and very likely worse, depending upon whether the board is flat sawn, or quarter or rift sawn (veritical grain), or in between. I rarely see a 12" wide, flat sawn, board that is perfectly flat and not subject to cupping with changes in relative humidity.
YMMV ...
What's getting you is that, and depending upon how it is cut off the log, solid wood is susceptible to movement ACROSS the grain with changes in relative humidity.
Flat sawn wood generally emphasizes this 'across the grain' dimensional instability to great extent, while rift or quarter sawn, not so much. AAMOF, depending upon the grain, the latter may move more in thickness than across the grain.
The wider the wood, even with glued up panels, the more movement you can expect as it is cumulative, and the overriding factor is width, regardless if it is one board, or many glued up. (there are tables for this that take into account the type of wood, the type of cut, and the expected change in RH)
DAGS ...
And think veneered wood (plywood) for your casework if you are not an accomplished cabinet maker with some deal of experience in wood types, judging grain direction with suitability to mitigate movement, and the methods to deal with the inherent dimensional instability of wood with joinery techniques, etc.
It doesn't sound like you quite fit that bill, yet ... but, that said, being bit in the butt is definitely the way to learn. :)
There is a world of information out there, and a lot of folks here who can answer your questions.
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"petek" wrote: -------------------------------------- Should I have bought the boards oversize on thickness, jointed them and then machined them to final thickness? I take it, that you are recommending they are thicknessed by the same amount each side. --------------------------------------------
SFWIW:
I'm no genius when it comes to woodworking but where possible, try to practice CYA.
When making a top, I start with about 13/16"-7/8" thick stock, 3"-5" wide and jointed with a T/S.
Use these pieces to glue-up top.
Leave the glue-up in the clamps for a couple of days, then head to the drum sanding shop and let them bring the top to 3/4" finish size by sanding on alternate sides with each pass.
Learned a long time ago not to rush things.
YMMV
Have fun.
Lew
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petek wrote:

I'm a big of fan of plywood, or veneered substrate, for this type of case work. The dimensional stability is simply worth any perceived sacrifice, or cachet, of not using solid wood.
Just my tuppence ...
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"Swingman" wrote

Same here. This entertainment center is mostly oak plywood with solid oak in the obvious places.
http://picasaweb.google.com/contrarian32/EntertainmentCenter#5413398146457369778
Max
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Max wrote:

http://picasaweb.google.com/contrarian32/EntertainmentCenter#5413398146457369778
Beautiful! ... like the "cloud lift" design on the rails.
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Thank you , Sir.
Max
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I did a hall table with the same motif. http://picasaweb.google.com/contrarian32/EntertainmentCenter02#5413635817234591538 or http://tinyurl.com/yjptoyv
Max
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Max wrote:

http://picasaweb.google.com/contrarian32/EntertainmentCenter02#5413635817234591538

Really like your stuff ... instead of Greene & Greene's use of the cloud lift motif, your's has a definite SouthWest flavor to my eye. Hope that doesn't offend you, but I really like it.
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We were looking for an entertainment center to match our den furniture (from Autumn Woods in Las Cruces, NM) which is definitely Southwestern. We found one that was acceptable but the price was a shocker. So.............. I spent about $300 for the entertainment center and the table and mirror were made from some Ponderosa Pine that I had left over from other projects. At the time, the center was my most ambitious project and it gave me confidence to attempt more involved pursuits. Thanks for the compliment, it's really appreciated.
Max
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On Wed, 09 Dec 2009 18:38:30 -0600, the infamous Swingman

Huh? That looks more like a Southwestern style to me.
-- To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. -- Robert Louis Stevenson
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Max wrote:

http://picasaweb.google.com/contrarian32/EntertainmentCenter#5413398146457369778

Great looking project, Max!
That looks like one of those hernia TV's. Just when you custom build something really nice, they go and invent big wide screen TVs.
- Doug
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Yes, does look good Max, I did one with the South West persuasion about 10 years ago for the 35" tube TV.
BTY Doug A 37" wide screed fits pretty well in place of a 35" 5to4 ration TV. I had to re do an entertainment system a couple of years to fit in a 37" in place of the big ole 35" tube type I had fitted about 14 years prior.
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That beast weighed a ton. Here's the re-do of the center to accommodate the 52" replacement. http://picasaweb.google.com/contrarian32/EntertainmentCenter02#5413457645484512466 or: http://tinyurl.com/ylp9qjt
Max
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Max wrote:

http://picasaweb.google.com/contrarian32/EntertainmentCenter02#5413457645484512466

The old cabinet stretcher trick - clever :-)
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On Wed, 9 Dec 2009 21:27:12 -0700, the infamous "Max"

You redid that entire center cabinet, didn't you? BTW, do you call that Southwestern or G&G? It doesn't have the (how do the yuppies say it?) "organic liquidity" of G&G to me.
(OL = curves)
-- To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. -- Robert Louis Stevenson
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scrawled the following:

Yep. The center section had to be much wider for the new TV. And the "design" is an attempt at Southwestern to match our den furniture which is definitely SW. (I can post some pictures of the furniture if you're interested)
Max
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