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Old 09-24-2002, 10:53 AM
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Luaun is basically the cheapest clean grain plywood you will likely find. It is basically a soft Philippine mahogany with a fairly strait grain and a bit porous. If you like the look it would be fine stuff. If you need a different harder wood, or can't bend a tight enough curve, the kerf cuts described by dave5113 should work with any plywood or solid wood you choose. If the curve you choose to bend is too tight to bend the wood without splitting, you must use either a thinner piece, or one made thinner by using kerf cuts on the back. Use water or steam to make the wood softer and able to bend without splitting and cracking. For best results, you can slowly bend it over a form and clamp it while it dries. More kerf cuts is better than too few. If you do use the kerf cut method you will likely have some long thin (weak) spots after it is the shape you want. You can spread on some epoxy to partially fill the kerf cuts to regain some strength, and material thickness. In this application, I don't think you need much strength, but you could laminate some additional wood or even fiberglass on the backside after it is the shape you want to add strength. Brandler offered a different but very appropriate solid wood approach. Another expensive approach would be to use veneer, which could be bent and glued to any already bent backing made out of any material including sheet metal or fiberglass. I'd recommend NOT using veneer for you project, and would recommend the kerf cut method with plywood. Veneer is most appropriate on a small item or area, particularly one with a lot of curves that solid wood cannot be used for.
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