Ply thickness RANT

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Well, that's all well and good, if all of your pieces are the same size (but just not all 1/2" or 15/32" or whatever). When you're making a cabinet, it's really tedious if all your dadoes have to be sized individually. DAMHIKT.
todd
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If you've got different thicknesses of stock - ply or otherwise - the only way to make good fitting dados is to cut them (or shim them to) slightly different widths. Even if you have different thicknesses of ply, this little jig will allow you to cut snug dados - of varying sizes, if necessary - very quickly. Try doing that with a dado stack or special sized router bit...
I know it would be easier if ply was of consistent thickness, but sometimes it just isn't. There can be thickness variations within a single sheet!
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If you ask nicely, I would bet Leon will send you plans for his jig. Fast, easy setup, and accommodates various sizes easily. Pat Warner does the same thing with two pieces of wood and a couple of clamps.

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On Sun, 24 Apr 2005 23:44:53 GMT, "John Moorhead"

I feel your pain... How about putting a rabbet on the edge of the ply to get it to a consistant thickness as a technique? Not only makes takes the guesswork out of the dado width, but the shoulders cover up any little nicks the router might happen to make if you get a little shaky at the wrong moment.

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I also feel your pain. I bought a set of "plywood" bits. Tried the "1/4"" on a scrap. Worked great. On my latest project--I was furious. I assumed the plywood would fit nice and tight. But no, no, no, loose as hell.
Just make a fricken standard. How hard is that.
David

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"John Moorhead" wrote in message

For the past few years I've found it necessary to make two trips to the lumber yard when I buy multiple sheets for a large project. A digital caliper goes along on the first trip when I pick out the grade, grain, etc, and even note which stack the plywood I want is in.
Back at the shop I cut a dado in sample FF material based on the caliper measurement (being sure to make project notes on the number, size, and position of the cutters and spacers in the dado stack). Then it's back to the lumber yard, using that sample dado, to check the fit, and select _each_ individual sheet of plywood.
The piece of dadoed FF stays on the dashboard of my truck until the project is finished.
A necessary PITA these days if you work to any kind of tolerances where multiple units must have the same measurement, and things like drawer slides must fit drawers made long before a cabinet is put together.
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This is your business right? Isn't there any way you can negotiate slightly purchases of plywood that all conform to the same thickness? What a royal pain in the butt.
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"Upscale" wrote in message

No one in the building industry, at least in this area, will guarantee anything regarding material dimensions these days, and if they did, it has been my experience that you would do well to verify it yourself in any event.
Since I am one of those who does FF's first on cabinets, it saves time, not to mention peace of mind, in the long run to insure that I don't have to re-cut dadoes in FF's.
I do a good deal of pre-planning, and since I order on a purchase order before delivery, I generally make two trips in any event. The first to check color, grade, grain, price, etc, the second to take delivery.
In between is when I take the extra step to cut a dado as a "thickness guide" for individual sheets when I pick up the order.
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Your dado thickness guide is a keeper. I like that. Thank you sir.
I do some metal work. Mostly fabrications out of squate tubing. Although there is far less size discrepancies in metal than wood, it is an increasing problem there too. Particularly in the corner shape. Which changes the time and skill required to do the fabrication.
Like you, I bring samples to the yard to check them against what they give me. And I submit samples each time I order. Even then, they screw up the order now and then.
So I have already been doing this. I just did not think to apply it to wood. <smacks forehead>
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On Mon, 25 Apr 2005 09:57:55 -0400, "Lee Michaels"

You're not kidding there- we've got three or four steel suppliers at work, and every single one of them has a different corner shape. Doesn't matter all that much to the operations I'm performing, but it sure does piss off the plasma cutter operators and the welders.

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I also ran into this problem with metal 1"x1" square tubing. Even though all the pieces were 1/16" wall, some had corners that were more rounded than others. When the pieces were welded, the guy had to fiddle around with the beads on some of them to get the edge flat and square.
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And it is a problem if appearance is important. I was welding up gym equipment. And a machine that has different tubing profiles within it looks like it was put together by a back yard welder with recycled metal. It doesn't look professional at all.
Another problem. As the wall thickness gets thicker, the corner gets more rounded. Which means if you want to make part of the machine stronger, you have to use the heavier gauge tube throughout. Otherwise, it looks crappy. Which makes the machine much heavier and more expensive.
And talking to your metal supplier gets all kinds of protests that they have no control over what the manufacturerr sends to them.
We settled on a fix to make the joints look good with the rounded profile. We just stuck a peice of flat stock in the hole. Then weld as usual. The flat stock was thick enough to fill the hole. When the weld was applied, it just melted together with everything else. Not all that elegant, but it looked good and was strong.
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John Moorhead wrote:

Welcome to the wonderful world of imports.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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dadiOH wrote:

Nothing restricted to imports, either...
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dadiOH says...

I'm wondering if you get more consistency with Appleply or real Baltic birch. You know, the expensive stuff. I'm not surprised it would be a problem with home center quality materials. But in their defense, these materials are intended for construction, not precision woodworking.
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First, it's my supposition that the BB has a tighter tolerance. As for the rest of your comment, I believe most of us are talking about hardwood ply from our local hardwood supplier. At least I was in my case.
todd
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Hax Planx wrote:

It's been my experience with BB that the tolerances are very good.
I just experienced this problem a couple of weekends ago with a birch veneer core plywood from Menards. I bought 4 sheets of 3/4" plywood (from a stack that I had them open) and two of the four sheets were 24/32 and two were 23/32. I've never had this issue with BB (5x5 sheets).
Jeff
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wrote:

You need to consider the source... If you're in the Eau Claire area (and I have no idea just how far the Menard's epidemic extends,) try Pigeon Creek Hardwoods on Hwy 12- cheaper than Menard's by at least 150%, and a whole lot higher quality. If you're in the Twin Cities, try Youngblood's.
Menard's is nothing but trouble.
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23/32nds? You mean 15/32nds, right?
Anyway - it is nuts...
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On Sun, 24 Apr 2005 23:44:53 GMT, "John Moorhead"

I figure that the 23/32 was actually 23/64. Excepting that, my experience is pretty much the same as yours.
Even buying from the same supplier, who is using the same manufacturer, and where the pieces are coming from the same unit - doesn't get you all the way home.
The usual solution is to not use a full dado but to create a dado/groove of 1/4" or 5/16" in width and then machine a tongue that is sized to fit that width.
This goes pretty quick with a good dado blade.
Tom Watson - WoodDorker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/ (website)
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