Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Laminating Cherry to Maple

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,448

    Laminating Cherry to Maple

    Long story why, but I want to laminate cherry drawer fronts with shaker type overlay to maple dovetail drawer bodies. This is not the common "screw the separate drawer front to the drawer box" but an approximation of the traditional shaker 3/8" overlay with rounded front, with the back 3/8" of the drawer front holding the half blind dovetails.

    My concern is laminating 3/8 inch thick wood of different species together...maple and cherry. Are the coefficients of expansion, etc., with temperature and humidity close enough that they won't split apart or warp? Or am I asking for trouble? (I do it a lot with veneer, but in that case the veneer isn't strong enough to split the underlying wood. I have also done it with nice figured walnut laminated to not-pretty walnut without problem, but this time I want to mix species)

    If I do go ahead with it, would you suggest PVA "yellow" glue to allow a little creep, or plastic resin glue for a harder glue line - the kind of glue I would use with bent laminations or veneer.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,020
    Charlie, my experience gluing cherry and maple is primarily from making cutting boards out of 3/4" stock, but I haven't seen a marked difference in the amount of movement between the two species. (Glued edge grain with face grain showing.) I've also made a few thicker end grain boards with the two, and again, the movement wasn't any more noticeable than the movement I might get between to pieces of maple glued to each other.

    With cutting boards, I've seen less movement when I used plastic resin glue, but I think PVA might make more sense for your application because of the flexibility.

    But take my experience with a grain of salt, since it's not gluing face grain to face grain.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Does it have to be Cherry and Maple? I read someplace that hardwood laminated to 1/4 inch MDF works. I like to try 1/4 African Mahogany to 1/4 MDF myself, so I'm interested what other people have to say on this topic.

    DKT

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,448
    Quote Originally Posted by Dietrich Trenner View Post
    Does it have to be Cherry and Maple? I read someplace that hardwood laminated to 1/4 inch MDF works. I like to try 1/4 African Mahogany to 1/4 MDF myself, so I'm interested what other people have to say on this topic.

    DKT
    I would NOT try 1/4 inch mahogany to 1/4 inch MDF myself. MDF is very stable, minimal expansion and contraction. A mahogany veneer applied to 1/2 inch MDF will work great, where the MDF controls the size, and the mahogany is thin enough that it does not try to move the substrate. By the time you have 1/4 inch mahogany, it will try to have a mind of its own.

    I was debating whether to use a plywood top or MDF on a work table, so I tried to get the best of both - laminated the smooth MDF on top of the strong plywood. Boy was that dumb. Since the expansion/contraction of the plywood is different than the MDF, my work table is sometimes convex, sometimes concave, depending on the weather.

    When I teach veneering, if you have a cranky bandsaw, I recommend starting at 1/8 inch or less, then remove a lot of that through sanding or planing. If you have a good bandsaw, try starting at 1/16 inch or less. Commercial veneers (sliced, not sawn) are generally 1/42 inch thick.

    I have a furniture project that requires about 30 drawers in all different sizes. I can buy maple drawer boxes at a very reasonable price (cheaper than I can mill the material and cut the dovetails myself). But most of the drawers require a shaker front with a rounded 3/8" overlay out of cherry wood. A screw on drawer front, like used in many kitchens, is not acceptable. Therefore I was considering buying the maple drawers, milling the front down to close to the dovetails, and laminating cherry with the proper profile to the maple. If it were cherry onto cherry or maple onto maple, I wouldn't hesitate for an instant. Cherry onto maple was the question... When I look at the expansion tables, it depending on which maple, the charts vary from identical to cherry to quite different, and I don't get to control which maple I get. I don't know if the difference in the numbers in the charts are significantly different when it gets to the real world. The problem may go away - "bargain cherry" drawer boxes (with lots of sap wood) are about the same price as maple, so if the customer accepts it, I will be laminating premium cherry to bargain cherry.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  5. #5
    Okay, I stand corrected about laminating hardwood to MDF. In fact after reading more on the topic at several web sites I am now questioning the use of MDF for veneering no matter what the thickness of the MDF. But I also question the use of plywood since it can warp.

    DKT

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,448
    Quote Originally Posted by Dietrich Trenner View Post
    Okay, I stand corrected about laminating hardwood to MDF. In fact after reading more on the topic at several web sites I am now questioning the use of MDF for veneering no matter what the thickness of the MDF. But I also question the use of plywood since it can warp.

    DKT
    Laminating, meaning gluing a wood of significant thickness - enough thickness that the movement of the added wood can impact the substrate - is scary stuff. I only routinely do it if the species match (and raised the question since I was considering cherry on maple). That is no longer an option for my next project.

    My definition of veneering is adding a layer of thin wood. How thin? There is no magic number - thinner than 0.xxx and it will always be okay, thicker than that and it will always fail. Most commercial veneer is 1/42 inch, or 0.024 thick, and practically never gives problems. That seems terribly thin to many people, but it can be sanded substantially, and as an experiment, I have tried to plane through it with a hand plane, and it takes 15-20 passes to cut through it. I cut shop veneers at 1/16 or 0.0625, but those require more sanding - probably leaving the veneer about 1/32 or 0.0312. If your bandsaw resaws rough, I suggest you start at 1/8 inch, but then plane at least half of it off. Bottom line, I won't use a veneer as thick as 0.1 inches, but I feel comfortable under 0.05 inches. Plenty of appearance and wear surface, but thin enough that it doesn't have enough strength to bend the substrate.

    What substrate to use? My first choice is plywood. Adding another ply to furniture grade plywood (that often starts with 9-15 plies) works great, and I rarely veneer the back but the plywood isn't as smooth to start as I would like. My second choice is MDF because of the super flat surface. The challenge with MDF is the edge - no problem gluing a strip of hardwood to the edge of the plywood, but I have less confidence of the hardwood glued to the edge of MDF. Sometimes I don't bother veneering the back since the MDF has very little movement.

    By far, my LAST choice of a substrate for veneer is hardwood. Once you have put a veneer on one side, even though the wood is thin enough to not "pull" the substrate, it does change the rate at which moisture enters/leaves the hardwood, and so (in my experience) ALWAYS warps. Therefore I always veneer the back side of hardwood as well as the show side.

    See www.plesums.com/wood/livingroom/diningtable.html for an example of a table veneered with commercial veneer on one side of 3/4 inch plywood, with hardwood strips glued to the edge of the plywood. The apron and base were bending plywood and veneer.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

Similar Threads

  1. WTB walnut, cherry and maple
    By John Moore in forum Classified Ads
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-20-2012, 08:11 PM
  2. Spalted Maple and Cherry Bowls
    By Jon Lanier in forum Lathe Project Showcase
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 07-05-2008, 04:44 PM
  3. Birdseye maple and cherry bookcase......done!
    By Steve Ash in forum Flatwork Project Showcase
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 12-01-2007, 04:30 PM
  4. Maple/Cherry Hybrid Hollow Form
    By Vaughn McMillan in forum Lathe Project Showcase
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-04-2007, 02:06 PM
  5. HF #13 - Curly Maple/Cherry Hybrid
    By Vaughn McMillan in forum Lathe Project Showcase
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 04-19-2007, 01:45 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •