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Thread: Thin Panel Question

  1. #1

    Thin Panel Question

    I am building chest that will use 14" flat panels in a frame on its sides and top. to keep weight down and maximize the use of walnut hardwood, I thought it would make sense to glue up 1/4" thick panels. The first attempt suggested that glue up is difficult with the joint bowing from clamp pressure. I can deal with this by minimizing pressure and using something to hold the joints down; but I am concerned that the glue joint may not be strong enough.

    I am considering moving to 3/8" thinck and trying to add biscuits. Before doing so, I thought I would ask you all first.

    Are 3/8" panels too thin for use in a frame?
    Is there a greater chance of failure from wood movement with thin panels?
    Are there better ways to create the light weight panels?

    Thanks
    Sal
    Sal Cangialosi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,475
    i made 3/8" panels in a hutch, took 5/4 stock resawed it, bookmatched it and glued it up used cauls to keep flat and then sanded down to 3/8" finish thickness. not rouble except for one glue streve spot which i re opened and reglued and it is doing fine been several years now and still lookin good. the panels were around 14" wide and the hutch was 75"tall.oh and the joints were all but joints no biscuts.. just planed to the edges to fit and then glued.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Decatur, Alabama
    Posts
    518
    If you are really worried about movement, you could probably do some panel certs as long as your frame is strong enough by itself.

    As far as glue up, I think it's pretty doable. Use cauls and remember 1/4" wood only need 1/3 the clamping force of 3/4" wood for an equivalently clamped joint. The glue joint should be plenty strong as long as you can get nice flat/true edges.

    As an alternative, the toy box I just build I used 3/8" shiplapped panels all the way around. I put a 1/16" chamfer on the edges by hand so you can't tell that there's a little depth variation between them due to the rabbet not being perfect. The whole panels are actually floating, but I left a snug fit on the panels in the rails so it's hard to tell. I don't think this was any easier than a glue up, it's just the look I wanted to have on the chest.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Toy Box.jpg  
    Last edited by Jeb Taylor; 06-18-2010 at 05:15 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Shorewood, WI
    Posts
    97
    If you want to find a clever way to do almost anything, one good approach is to search this forum (or others) for "Niki". Niki Avrahami is missed by his many friends all over the world who never met him, but nonetheless learned from him.

    Here is an archived version of a post he made describing how to glue up thin panels. They will be plenty strong.

    http://www.cianperez.com/Wood/WoodDo...ThinBoards.htm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,475
    Thanks alan for sharun another of niki's tutorials with us.. and yes he is missed!!! talked with him many times threw pm's
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6

    as always, thanks

    Thanks again for the great help and suggestions. Glued up the first panel. Reasonably OK. I will try Niki's approach next.

    Sal
    Sal Cangialosi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Posts
    5,323
    Niki's approach is a good one.

    As for joint strength, I wouldn't worry. If the joints fit well, almost any of today's glues (except maybe Gorilla) will yield a joint that's stronger than the wood itself. If the panel breaks, it won't be at the glue line.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

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