Sunday, January 31, 2010

On wood.

It would indeed be a foolish (not to say churlish) fellow who ignored the sage advice of friends, and I am grateful to David and Vally for their warnings about my piece of plywood. At the same time it would be a wimp who lets his ideas get blown about like a straw in the wind, so I haven't capitulated just yet :-)

The photos make the piece of wood look worse than it actually is, and the loads upon the hinge screws will be very small as the table is supported fore and aft and will only be carrying the odd plate of pasta and bottle of wine. So while I search for a nicer piece of wood I'm going to continue with the ply do some more tests of how well it holds screws. I don't fear water damage really as it will always be in the dry and will be well varnished and edged with hardwood trim. I have to keep reminding myself that it is replacing an old table made from 9mm ply (probably better quality) which is still perfectly good - just too small and too fiddly to erect. The seats upon which we will sit are also made of the same stuff.

On the subject of wood, visits to local suppliers have confirmed my suspicion that quality is going down fast. I haven't seen a "good" piece of ply anywhere, and the hardwood trim is hard in name only. I suppose its all to do with protecting endangered forests so I mustn't complain.

When I bought my best guitar 15 years ago the difference in cost between an Indian rosewood back and sides and Brazilian rosewood was £300, and good Indian rosewood isn't cheap! I can only speculate about the difference would be today. It would have to be very old Brazilian, because they haven't been allowed to cut it for years.

If you want to see some lovely wood, anoraks might like to follow this link to the great Stefan Sobell who made my guitar and click on his page about wood and the efforts he goes to to find it. Then you can look at the other pages about his instruments and drool.


Simon said...

curiously I'd be wondering about this myself, as I'm thinking of building a doll's house for a friend's child (did consider a boat to scale, but a model of her own home would make more sense), and most ply I've seen has been pretty ropey, yet children's toys need something a little more robust. The internet tells me birch ply is the answer; I'll be talking to the lovely Graham at Fraser's Timber in Brentford about getting me some...

Neil Corbett said...

Yes, Kath's dulcimer top is of birch ply. Very good quality but not cheap. The trouble with my project is that I'm only building the equivalent of a camping table, not a piece of furniture and the cost is already well over £50.

VallyP said...

Hi Neil, I don't know what prices are like in the UK of course, but over here, pretty decent pine is actually no more expensive than say Meranti ply wood. I have in fact used 15mm Meranti ply wood for my entrance hatch to my barge, but it is always kept well oiled and covered with the brown tarpaulin that I use for the rest of the top. Even so, I've had to replace the screws for the hinges and make new holes because the old ones crumbled and became loose after a few years. Still it can be just fine.

Anonymous said...

You'll be pleased to know that Jannock's original plywood cratch tabletop lasted 6 years before it started de-laminating so you'll have plenty of time to find that right piece of wood for the replacement.