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Old 02-14-2013, 11:19 AM
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How do I bend/form luan plywood?

I did a search-it's probably here but i missed it-

I have found some 1/8" luan plywood (as opposed to PVC foam board) that I would like to use for the interior panels in my Model A (to be covered with vinyl). I am going to need to bend and form them to match the curvature at the rear corners of the cab. What's the best way to form them and to get them to stay formed?

Thanks

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Old 02-14-2013, 11:50 AM
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The way to bend plywood is to steam it, but you need to make a form to hold it in place til it dries. Another way to bend it is to cut saw kerfs in the back side about half way through from top to bottom about 1/4" apart. I wouldn't trust it to keep its shape given the temperature changes a car goes through.

If I were you, I'd forget about 1/8" luan plywood and use 1/8" PVC foamboard. It will bend easily and stay in the shape you want after heating it with an industrial heat gun. That will be 10 times easier than trying to bend the plywood.

The picture is 1/8" PVC foamboard that I bent without even using any heat. It took me less than a minute to do that.

You could also use waterproof panel board. Anything would be better than trying to bend plywood.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:04 PM
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Do you know that you can buy a set of rear panel boards for your model "A"? What model car do you have? This is a 1930 tudor.

I am a dealer for Mac's Antique Auto Parts, and can get you anything you need. PM me if you're interested.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:00 PM
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Thanks for both replies. I've looked at the posts for ABS/PVC foamboard and luan. The plywood would be available 3 miles from my home-50+ for the closest plastics supplier.

My '31 coupe has a 3.5" chop so I am not sure how Mac's preformed panels would work.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5window View Post
My '31 coupe has a 3.5" chop so I am not sure how Mac's preformed panels would work.
I'm sure you'd only have to cut them down 3.5"

Don't you have a sign shop near you? PVC foamboard (Sintra, Komatex, CelTec, or Palight) would be standard stuff for a sign shop.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:08 PM
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Todays luan is very hard to bend. Steam will most likely de-laminate it (from personal experience) and even with kerf cuts it wants to crack and break. You used to be able to get bendable plywood (still available but extremely hard to find). You could use masonite but you will need to make a form so it holds its shape, it warps very easily, making it very hard to work with. I too use PVC foam board. Like Dan said, its easy to bend and hold its shape. I also get mine from a sign shop.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:17 PM
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Don't use Masonite for a car interior, it's too susceptible to water damage, it is very brittle, and there are just a lot of things better to use in your car than Masonite.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes View Post
Don't use Masonite for a car interior, it's too susceptible to water damage, it is very brittle, and there are just a lot of things better to use in your car than Masonite.
I agree, just throwing it out there as an option.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:47 AM
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bending wood

In the 70's I built 4 model t speedsters, I had access to a school metal shop, so I made mine from sheetmetal, At the same time when I was in N Calif a guy was bending 1/2 in boat plywood enough to make the curved seats , Idon't know where you can get the material today, but as Dan said you need a good form. My nephew in calif was making skim boards that kids use at the beach, he had forms and a big frame made from 4 X 4's and glued and laminated the thin ply and a 12 ton Hyd jack to press them.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timothale View Post
In the 70's I built 4 model t speedsters, I had access to a school metal shop, so I made mine from sheetmetal, At the same time when I was in N Calif a guy was bending 1/2 in boat plywood enough to make the curved seats , Idon't know where you can get the material today, but as Dan said you need a good form. My nephew in calif was making skim boards that kids use at the beach, he had forms and a big frame made from 4 X 4's and glued and laminated the thin ply and a 12 ton Hyd jack to press them.
That sounds like an awful lot of work/equipment to form a couple of curved panels to fit the rear corners of a chopped A coupe. but,thanks.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:28 AM
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About equal to bending 1/8" plywood and getting the correct curves on the first try. No matter how much you save by using something that doesn't bend easily, you will lose it in the time and effort you use to find out how difficult the process actually is.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:36 PM
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I bend Luan all the time, this is how I do it, not necessarily the best or only way, just my way. I found that if I set the board in place, with the grain opposite of what "looks right" as far as bending, I sand the backside of the board with a 36 grit flap disc, sanding a single layer from the back side. The board will now bend more than 90 degrees. It is very fragile at this point, but you can mix up some fiberglass resin, apply it to the board in place, and should have a pretty solid panel. Hope my explanation makes sense. May not work for this scenario, but may help someone else on a future project
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:56 PM
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I have used this method many times when building a buck for fiberglass pieces, and I have also used it for building bucks for foamboard items. It's a fast way to get a template made. Compound curves can be accomplished by laminating a couple of pieces together, a little filler, and you are all set. Landau foam makes a good body filler for interior panels, in some situations.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:07 AM
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Wiggle Wood
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:55 AM
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try Bend-Ply

this bends well, but needs to be formed against bulkheads and stringers or some sort of light structure underneath.

Columbia Forest Products : Radius Bending Plywood

I used it for this
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