451 Walnut Buffet Pt 1

February 11, 2011

It’s time to get back to some serious content…or at least as close as I’ll come to it. Today we start the construction of the Walnut Buffet.

This is part 1 of a multi-part series and it begins with the rough construction of the buffet’s body. The majority of components for this project were constructed from a premium walnut plywood with its edges wrapped by solid walnut stock.

The beauty of working with a premium plywood of any species is how well it cuts, how well it can be machined (including holding mechanical fasteners) and especially how well it can stand up to sanding, scraping and finishing.

Just to help demonstrate the differences between premium plywood and “not-so” premium, I’ll test the thickness of the veneers with a nicely sharpened card scraper to see how long it takes to get through the face layer. Can you guess how many scrapes it takes to get the center core of a “not-so” premium piece of plywood Mr. Owl?

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Comments (6)

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  1. Sandhill says:

    Hey Matt,
    Good job pointing out the difference in plywood grades. Something I like to do when the inside of something don’t show is use 1/4″ premium grade sliced cut then gluing it to 1/2″ birch with no voids, thus cutting the price down buy around 30% depending on where and what you buy. Can’t wait for part #2.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the tip! I’ve often toyed with the idea of “making” my own plywood using 1/4″ sheets of a more expensive species and adding it to either 1/2″ MDF or shop grade birch ply.

      Might be worth a little experimenting on the show to see how it turns out. Sounds like it’s been a winner for you!

  2. Ken F says:

    Absolutely fantastic!
    This is the type of project that both I and your fans have been waiting for from Matts Basement Workshop; “Not finally building furniture but building fine furniture”.
    I’m excited; I am going to be watching all of the series.
    Is It because of your balance of handtool and powertool techniques used in a small basement shop? Using both traditional and non-traditional techniques with creatively?
    It’s watching you get that buffet up them stairs.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Ken, I really appreciate hearing you’re enjoying it. Hopefully I’ll cover enough of it to make it a teaching event and everyone will get something from the build…no promises LOL.

      I hope you won’t be too upset, but I didn’t get any footage of us taking it out of the basement and up the stairs. The whole thing would’ve been laced with obscenity, so it would’ve been one long series of bleeps LOL.

      Thanks for watching.

  3. Jim Brennan says:

    Hi Matt
    I really enjoy your show

    For plywood I had planned to do something similar for a new wooden sole fore a 30′ sailboat. I was originally going to use a Baltic birch substrate, but have decided to use luan mahogany (flooring underlay). As you know boats don’t have too many square corners or straight edges .

    The plan is first to cut the 6 or so pieces and fit them to the cabin sole. When they are fine tuned I will take them home and glue 1/4 or so hardwood to them. I am thinking of combining walnut edges with A cherry field/

    To clamp the cherry to the plywood I will use staples from the bottom of the plywood similar to how cold moulded boats are fashioned. Using strips of cardboard between the staples and the ply wood makes for easier removal with a flat bladed screwdriver, minimizing the scarring of the bottom of the ply

    After the glue up of the hardwood is complete, I will use a router edge trimmer using the plywood base as the template guide (hoping this will give the perfect custom fit.)

    The only detail I have not worked out is, it would be nice to gave a lap joint where the plywood edges mate. Have you any ideas how to do this.

    If you decide to make plywood in the future. IIt would be worth considering using 1/4 birch ply and the stapling technique for clamping, and then gluing a second piece of 1/4 ply after the fact as a substrate which would hide the staple holes

    The final step in my process after the hood side is completed ids to seal the bottom of the plywood and all the exposed edge grain and end grain with west epoxy to inhibit moisture migration in a marine environment

    • Matt says:

      Hi Jim

      Have you checked out Andy Miller’s blog and podcast “Boatworks Today” http://boatworkstoday.com/ ? I have a feeling he’d be able to really give you some great ideas for your plan.

      Andy had a recent podcast episode where he replaced a teak detail using a method almost identical to what you’re describing.

      As for creating a half lap joint with the plywood edges, it would be very similar to what I’ve done in the past with the boxes I’ve been making.

      I set it up on my table saw, but it could easily be done with a router and rabbiting bit. You only need to remove about 1/8″ of depth on both pieces.

      Definitely do a couple of test cuts to make sure you have the right depth, but once it’s dialed in, one pass on the first edge and face then second pass on the mating edge and face.

      To avoid coming up short in width, remember to make one of the pieces wider then the other. So for example, if your half lap joint is 1/2″ wide, add an extra 1/2″ to one piece (or 1/4″ to both).

      I hope this makes sense and helps. But definitely checkout Andy’s podcast!

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