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Thread: Need input on constructing top for credenza to prevent movement.....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    DFW, Texas

    Need input on constructing top for credenza to prevent movement.....

    I'm building a top for an office credenza and would like to get some input. You can see from the sketchup below that the plan is 3 panels that are framed with mitered corners on the perimeter. I've built similar ones in the past using plywood for the panels out of fear that wood movement would break the miters eventually. However, this time around, I would really like the look of using solid wood (inconsistent color/grain patterns....). So's, here's the question - could I mill hardwood down to 1/4", then glue that to 1/2" ply, or 1/2" wood on 1/4" ply? Would that prevent the lateral movement? Any other thoughts? Thanks in advance!

    Clark Harbaugh

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    You can saw solid lumber down to something thin, and glue it to plywood. I do it all the time. If the veneer is thin enough, it is held in place by the plywood. If it is too thick, the veneer's movement is a problem. The usual advice is that the veneer should be under 3/32" thick when applied to 3/4" plywood. Your idea of gluing 1/4" hardwood on to plywood is likely to fail over time.

    If you don't have a saw capable of slicing veneer like that, you could make your panels of solid lumber. They'd be captured in dados around the inner edges of the frame. They'd float, unglued. There would be a little gap around the edges of the panels which would allow for wood expansion. These gaps would likely be unacceptable in a dining table or a desk, but could be okay on a credenza.

  3. #3
    I think gluing 1/4" thick wood to plywood will fail. Why not just use solid wood panels and allow for the seasonal moisture changes. With more than normal overlap between the panels along the long grain sides and the rails or stiles. You should be able to calculate the maximum shrink/expansion and make design allowances. Sealing both sides of the wood with equal amounts of finish will reduce the variation to some degree. Pin or glue each panel in the center of the span along the end grain sides so the panel stays centered in the opening.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Sawn veneer will be the best way to do this. Solid panels will cause you grief. Either pay for ply with a top grade veneer or lay up your own. Make the veneer about 2mm thick as already commented. Do it this way and it will be indistinguishable from solid timber. Cheers
    Every construction obeys the laws of physics. Whether we like or understand the result is of no interest to the universe.

  5. #5
    The panels should float just like any typical, proven frame and panel construction. If the top is to be smooth and pretty seamless like most would want a credenza, I would use veneer.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”

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