Whether you are an experienced woodworker or a do-it-yourself novice, working with plywood and plywood furniture plans makes it easy for you to build beautiful pieces of furniture for your home or yard.
The Advantages of Making Plywood Furniture
Many people enjoy building furniture using plywood instead of hardwood because it is inexpensive and easy to work with. Plywood is a strong material making it an excellent choice for furniture. Its strength is due to the way the layers are put together, with the direction of the grains facing in alternating directions. The following are additional advantages of making furniture from plywood:
- The large sheets are easily cut to form the sides and bottoms of drawers, the backs of the book cases and the tops of tables
- Hardware is easy to attach
- Screws are held securely
- The stability of plywood makes it easy to add your own veneer
- Exterior plywood is water resistant
Choosing the Right Plywood for Your Furniture Plans
Plywood is available in several thicknesses which are nominal dimensions. Nominal dimensions are the dimensions of the wood before being dried and planed. The measurement are:
- Nominal 1/4 inch is typically 15/64 inch
- Nominal 3/8 inch is typically 13/32 inch
- Nominal½ inch is typically 31/64 inch
- Nominal 5/8 inch is typically 19/32 inch
- Nominal 3/4 inch is typically 23/32 inch
- Full 3/4 inch - Hardwood veneer plywood actually measures 3/4 inch and is described as "full thickness"
Although most plans for making plywood furniture include recommendations for the type of plywood to use, there are some plans where that information is not given. Generally, woodworkers choose 3/4 inch thick plywood for most of their furniture building projects.
Types and Grades of Plywood
Plywood is graded using a system of letters from A through D. Grade A plywood is the best quality and is well sanded with few, if any, blemishes. Grade D plywood is generally roughly sanded contains a large number of blemishes. Most plywood usually has two grade letters. For example, a sheet of plywood with the letters A-C means one side, called the face, is the highest grade while the other side is a lower grade of plywood.
The layers of the plywood are bonded together using different types of glue. There are four common types of plywood bonding resulting in four distinct kinds of plywood.
- Interior plywood is used for making furniture that is not often exposed to moisture.
- Exterior plywood is a good choice for furniture that is exposed to moisture.
- Marine plywood, typically graded A-A, is moisture resistant.
- Structural plywood, graded CDX, is strongly bonded with little visual appeal.
Both hard and soft woods are used in the manufacture of plywood. Various kinds of wood used include:
Finding Plywood Furniture Plans Online
Many websites offer furniture plans online for free or for a nominal fee. The following is a sampling of these websites:
Canply Canadian Plywood
Free plywood plans are offered from Canply Canadian Plywood including plans for the following:
- Blanket box
- Media center
- Wine rack
- Wave shelf
- Modular storage unit
- Study center
- Trestle table
- Bunk bed
- Chuck wagon desk
- Western motif flower cart
- Decorative wheelbarrow
Books Available at Amazon
- Simply Fabulous Plywood Projects by Jeanne Stauffer includes instructions for making everything from kitchen cabinets to beautiful decorative trays and bowls.
- Building Real Furniture for Everyday Life by Chris Gleason provides detailed plans for many types of furniture including futons, night stands and dressers.
- Quick and Easy Weekend Woodworking Projects from the editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine includes an Arts and Crafts bookcase, tables and shelving units.
There are plywood furniture plans available for many different types and styles of furniture.