View Full Version : Help finding source for really flexable plywood

Michael Hardy
07-22-2009, 4:45 PM
Hi Creekers,
I've been having fun learning about my Zing 24 and at some point, I'll post my impressions and experiences, but for now, I have what has turned into a not so simple job because I can't seem to find the right materials.

I have a friend who is makes jewelry and I am trying to help her with the box to display the jewelry in. The box is a real simple design, but I just cant seem to find a source for the flexible Plywood veneer.

The words wobble wood and Bendy board have been used, but I need it to be about 1.2mm thick, not 1/8 or 1/4 inch.

Her inspiration for the box is from a Eminence Organic Skin Care lotions and creams.

The box (OK, so it's not a box) is a round cylinder 2" in diameter 9 " tall with a really flexible plywood or veneer at just 1.2mm think. The top and bottom are just round medallions or tuits that will be easy to cut and engrave. The cylinder is wrapped with this flexable ply that partially glued to these two medalions so that you can open and close the cylinder.

The cylinder is held closed with a elastic band that hooks onto a small wooden knob that is attached to the material with a brass pin. It's all easily duplicated for the small number she needs if I can just find the right materials.

I have been to Rockler Woodworking and Frost Hardwood here in San Diego and I cant seem to find anything that will work. All of the Veneer I find is rigid and fragile. If I try and wrap it around the 2" diameter, it will crack.

So my question is if anyone knows a source for such a plywood or veneer that will stay flexible for years and is what appears to be a natural finish that I can engrave.

Here is a link to an example of what it looks like.


Peter Meacham
07-22-2009, 5:03 PM

There are some very thin veneer sheets on this site:



Michael Kowalczyk
07-22-2009, 5:07 PM
Hey Michael,
Welcome to the Creek. We carry 3mm AKA 1/8" Baltic Birch and can get 1.5mm (1/16") but I rarely get requests for it and I would have to buy a few pallets worth to get the price down. But who knows, if I get enough requests, I may start stocking it for biz cards and etc... but in the mean time you can go to a hobby shop that has RC planes and they typically will have some but it is not cheap.

Let me know if I can help in other ways and ...

Dee Gallo
07-22-2009, 5:59 PM

Maybe you should check in with the guys at Woodworking on this forum - some of them make oval Shaker boxes and could maybe share their techniques for curving wood.

Also, I've always found wetting the wood helps you bend it, then let it dry around form.

cheers, dee

Doug Griffith
07-22-2009, 6:13 PM
Why do you need ply? I would think about a veneer where the grain goes in one direction (in line with the curve). Then spray mount that onto another thin flexible substrate such as canvas or high rag paper.

George M. Perzel
07-22-2009, 6:38 PM
1.2mm is about 1/20"-really about impossible to bend even veneer on a 1" radius-certainly not possible with any type of ply that I know of. There is a very flexible ultra thin veneer which has an adhesive backing which I have purchased on Ebay in 12x12" sheets-in walnut, mahogany, oak. It will easily bend on that diameter.
I do not own Ebay or have any affiliation with Ebay nor have any interest, financial or otherwise, in Ebay or its subordinate operations, etc. etc.
Best regards

Tony Joyce
07-22-2009, 8:21 PM
I believe this is the product you are looking for.
And is available here.
This product will bend as small as 3/4" with the grain.
Or the old standby here.
Which says "The 1.5mm (1/16") will form to a 3" diameter."

Frank Defert
07-22-2009, 9:52 PM

You can use 1.2 mm ( .034 ) 3 layer baltic birch aircraft grade plywood. It can be engraved , cuts easily and is extemely flexible without breaking. It can also be sanded and will take a finish.

The only word of caution, use the lowest power and dpi settings you can to achieve your result to minimize the sooty black edges created by the burning of the glue in the plywood. This will also reduce your edge sanding time.

On the West Coast of Canada it is readily available from specialty hardwood / plywood suppliers.

HTH .... Frank

George D Gabert
07-23-2009, 8:41 AM
You could make your own ply cylinder by using standard venier sheet. The trick is to steam the material prior to wrapping around your mandrel. Roll several cylinders and then trim to length and then glue up. You should alternate the grain direction for strength.


Conrad Fiore
07-23-2009, 9:00 AM
I think Frank has it right, aircraft grade plywood. Most hardwood species are available down to 1/16" (1.6 mm) and the metric birch is available down to 1/32" (.8 mm). This type of plywood is made to bend on fairly tight curved surfaces.

How will you seam it, scarf and glue?

Dave Johnson29
07-23-2009, 10:32 AM
The words wobble wood and Bendy board have been used, but I need it to be about 1.2mm thick, not 1/8 or 1/4 inch.

Hi Mike,

Check out model aircraft supplies. Also my local Ace hardware stocks ply as thin as 1/32" in their model aircraft balsa display.

Robert Ray
07-23-2009, 1:01 PM
I just cant seem to find a source for the flexible Plywood veneer.

Hi Mike, there is a grade of Finish Birch Plywood called Aircraft Grade, that I use a lot of. I use the .4 (1/64") and .8mm (1/32") stuff.

You can get it from Balsa USA, Midwest Products, and National Balsa.

-Robert Ray

Michael Hardy
07-23-2009, 2:39 PM
Thank you everyone.

These are all great sources to see if this material is what she needs.

One requirement is the fact that the bare wood needs to stay flexible.
So the Finnish Baltic-Birch Plywood seems to fit the bill. There will be no l gluing or sealing other than what holds the piece to the medalions on the ends. This wrapped plywood is also the door that is opened to display the Jewelry.

I let you know how it all works out. Thanks again.

James Rambo
07-23-2009, 6:54 PM
Did you do a search for 'flexible wood veneers'? It looks like the items on this page http://www.woodgifts.net/wine-boxes-c-31.html .
(I am not promoting this company but it is a company that I did some work for and they stiffed me for over $400. But it is along the same line as what you pictured)

Michael Hardy
07-24-2009, 10:15 AM
It's funny. You use Google for many years and you try different search phrases and you find different things each time, but I never came across that site.

Thanks,Those are along the idea of the boxes I'm producing, but they are a larger scale, made to hold a Wine Bottle. I'll have to make some along that size as well for gifts.

The price is in the ballpark price range I quoted for the small quantities I will be making as a first run.

Thanks again and I'll update as the project progresses.


Albert Nix
07-24-2009, 1:46 PM
Aircraft grade plywood is what you need because the glue is made to stand moister. I have some 3 ply hoop pine left over from a aircraft project that works great. You can wet this stuff and just about fold it double.