Repairing Separated Plywood

I am about to begin restoration on a cocktail video game cabinet to whatever extent is possible, and was wondering if anyone here can tell me what is the best way to repair separated plywood, or at least what process would be recommended to retard further deterioration of the plywood edges.
Bottom of cabinet: http://s290.photobucket.com/albums/ll257/Statenislander/Woodworking%20Projects /
Any advice would be apppreciated.
Thanks a lot.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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Searcher7 wrote:

After looking at your pics, my answer would be "replace the plywood". I say that because I didn't see any decals on the panels, but of course there might be some farther up. That plywood looks to be in pretty bad shape, not worth trying to fix IMO.
Jason Buckler Marietta, GA
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The veneered plywood I repaired was in a little better condition than what yours appears to be, but I had a similar separation in one of the vertical panels that I moved to accommodate an LCD TV. All I did was separate it as much as possible while trying not to crack it any further and then used a plastering spatula covered both sides with carpenter's glue and slathered it in. Clamped it overnight and it was good as new in the morning. Any thin, flat, wide bladed knife should allow you to do the same thing.
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Bondo works great for repairing arcade machines. For damage to the bottom edges your better off replacing the plywood. Bondo sticks really well but I've had it break off and that sucks after you've finished a nice paint job. Use a router with a spiral or dado bit to cut off the bottom 6-8 inches and then replace it with new plywood. Screw and glue in the new plywood and fill the crack with bondo. Go easy on the bondo because it's hard to sand and gums up sandpaper real quick. A good tip for sanding bondo is to spread a light coat of mineral spirits over it (I use my hand but I'd suggest a rag) and then sand immediately with a ROS. The bondo still gums up the paper but it's more of a slurry than a thick chuck. It makes better use of the sand paper and gives you a smoother finish. The paper will will also separate from its backing at some point as the mineral spirits eats through it quickly. Go lighter on the mineral spirits and accept that you'll need a lot of paper if you put a lot of bondo on there.
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Yes, I know everyone raves about Bondo on the arcade newsgroups, but if youlook at the pics, you'll notice that the cabinet is on it's side and the pics were taken of the bottom. There is only about 1-1/2" to work with there.
I was hoping there w as a way to clamp all four bottom panels and then fill, file, and sand to spec.(But I assume this is not plausible, correct?).
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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when you buy your "bondo" that is a trade name but I assume you use it generically for other brands of body fillers. Try asking for the polyester filler instead of the old style bondo. it is much easier to sand and doesn't have that sticky problem.
If you already have bondo and want to use it, try not to add more hardener than you need, and when it is still a bit soft , rough it out with a serated plane , this will remove that top surface.
I am not sure if the newer type of filler is actually polyester or if I made that up, ( maybe it was bondo that was polyester? ) but my point is that the newer type of fillers are much easier to sand. also they sell different weights. the "light weight " one is the easiest to sand and probably less durable , like on a corner where it will get knocked.
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wrote:

Your pictures show not only delamination but some of the intermediate middle core ply's have eroded losing mass also. On top of that, there are corners involved which is probably were it all started to work it's way apart. I would seriously consider a epoxy based 2 part wood restoration system. My favorite in that arena by far is "CPES" (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer) made by Smith & Co. in California.
The reason I think it is a head and shoulders above the others is due to the formulation's curing characteristics. It is a relatively low viscosity liquid, and will soak into the wood fibers almost like a sponge, this restores the strength of the wood and encapsulates any additional damage that may be lurking within the laminations further back than is readily visible. The pot life of the product is longer than any epoxy based system I have ever used. It is workable for 3+ hours even in 75-85 degree F weather. There is also a variant that will cure below 40 degrees F so the product has a unusually broad operating spectrum making it possible to use in all kinds of situations and climates.
Since the top and bottom plies appear in reasonable shape you could treat it with the stuff from the inside and let it wick to the outer surfaces. Probably need to do some clamping to insure the ply's being restored end up the same thickness as the undamaged plywood. Here is a ad for their formulation for warmer environments:
http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid 68&familyName=Smiths+Warm+CPES+Epoxy
Good Luck! Hope this has helped, regards, Joe.
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m> wrote:

Thanks.
The cocktail game came without leg levelers which obviously is the reason for the extent of the damage.
Both sides, which are 21-1/2" long, will have to be repaired, so I guess the best way would be to turn the game upside down and clamp before using CPES and/or Bondo.
My main concern is filling out the corner where the plywood has deteriorated away.
But first I'll have to strip the veneer, then repair the damage before putting new veneer on the side of the game.
Thanks.
Darren Harris Staten Island, New York.
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If it's just a little corner, try putting a little white glue in the crack with a brush, then, after it dries, go over the plywood with a hot iron. It'll flatten the veneer by hot-melting the white glue... and you can get fairly good control of the process. Use a layer of aluminum foil to protect the iron from any glue runout...
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I presume that the leveling foot has been removed for the photo.
Regardless, the best way to prevent further deterioration is to use feet so that the plywood is high enough off the floor to not get wet when the floor is mopped or the carpet cleaned, which is probably what caused most of the damage in the first place.
Yes--that's obvious but sometimes people miss the obvious.
--
FF



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