How Do You Bend Plywood?

With growing worldwide interest in contemporary furniture, designers are again experimenting with wood-forming technologies to give their furniture lines a uniqueness to combat the leveling forces of globalization. The sizes of the most commonly used plywood sheets are 4 by 8 feet (1.2 by 2.4 m), which was first used by the Portland Manufacturing Company, who developed what we know of as modern veneer core plywood for the 1905 Portland World Fair. Things like making bent lamination furniture unfortunatly seem to come about pretty rarely, so it was fun to take a break from building boxes, and do some curves. Due to this industrial production process, the main opportunities of plywood – bending and joining – can be rooted and found in this manufacturing process.

In his patent applications, he described the concept of laminating several layers of veneer with glue to form a thicker piece – the first description of what we now call plywood. Though this process appears similar to making plywood, and in a way it is, the result does not look like plywood because the veneers are cut from the same piece of wood and glued in sequence so the end result looks like the solid wood it came from. Kerfing allows for bending all sorts of thicknesses of stock, and is especially useful for bending plywood Note here how I kerfed just the areas that were going to be curved, leaving the flat areas to be attached conventionally.

MDF’s smooth surface makes it ideal for simple interior design pieces that will be painted, while plywood adds some durability to those pieces that need to be stronger. Once you know the method of bending wood that you want to use, simply type the items you need into the search bar. Though plywood is more water resistant than MDF, it is still porous and susceptible to damage when exposed to water over time. For the primary structure, the plywood was cut and joined to long pieces and finally bended into the trees. Let the piece dry overnight, then use a sander to straighten the edges and remove any glue that squeezed out while bending.


The beautiful and durable UV-cured pre-finishing option certified by the Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association (SEFA). Citation needed The American designers Charles and Ray Eames are known for their plywood-based furniture, as is Finnish Architect Alvar Aalto and his firm Artek , while Phil Bolger has designed a wide range of boats built primarily of plywood. Any DIY jobs that require cutting MDF or plywood should take place outside with proper protective equipment. In contrast, the cross graining of plywood slightly reduces its tendency to split when nailed at its edges.

Flexible plywood is designed for making curved parts, a practice which dates back to the 1850s in furniture making. I’ve seen homemade acrylic bending jigs that use a small heating element and work pretty well. Marine plywood is manufactured from durable face and core veneers, with few defects so it performs longer in both humid and wet conditions and resists delaminating and fungal attack.

The plywood should be facing up, with the grain of the plywood parallel with the blade. Plywood is also used as an engineering material for stressed-skin applications. The Eameses experimented with emerging technology, incorporating processes such as steam-bending plywood into their designs. Learn an easy technique for bending thin strips of wood to virtually any shape. Not only is he in control of temperature and RH, but also can he change the placing of the furniture every once in a while. The developed joints interlocked to the plywood as well as to the brick tunnel.

For more information, see Wood Bending Handbook (part A), Bending Solid Wood to Form by Edward Peck and this YouTube video. Push the plywood over the blade with your right hand while holding it tight against the fence with your left hand. Also sometimes commonly known as ‘aircraft plywood’, this thin birch plywood can be supplied with a standard glueline or a special clear ‘flexfilm’ compound that offers much more flexibility, to accomodate designs that mean you will be bending plywood to an extremely small radius. Then, take the plywood off and glue the strips together and clamp them back on the form.

The shaped chairs are often made in a mold/jig were the thin ply layers are seperatly glued around a form/jig & then clamped until they dry. The principal reason for this is that much of the wood used for oak furniture was quatersawn, so that the width of the board followed the radius of the log along the medullary rays, at right angles to the annual rings. Depending on the grade of plywood , it may or may not be smooth and useful for visually pleasing interior wood pieces. Continue adding warm, wet towels until you have saturated and warmed the plywood.