Bent laminate plywood banquette

joeboldtDecember 20, 2012

I'm looking for a bit of a reality check.

I'm planning a semicircular booth. For the seat back, I was planning on glue laminating, using 2 layers of 1/4" birch plywood followed by one layer of 1/4" alder. The radius is 4'. Below the seat, the radius is about 2 1/2'. I am now thinking that maybe three layers of birch followed by 1/8" MDF and then alder veneer would be better.

For a frame, I am using 3/4" plywood as a template for the seat, back and kick plate. For the seat back, the lamination would span about 1'-2" (see attached - I hope)

Couple of questions.
I find conflicting information of whether or not I can dry bend 1/4" birch to those radii. Only the seat back holds any weight (when people lean back.)

Secondly, which method would you use, or would you do something different?


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Trying the image again

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 6:08PM
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So the bottom section below the seat is bent in two directions? I'd like to see how that works out.
Single bends: tricky but doable; compound bends: your last name better be Belter or Maloof...
To build-up from laminated layers your 4' radius will be easy, but will require a fully-supportive form (caul) because wood will have harder and softer zones, which will make unsupported bends uneven. Uneven bends are hard to get glued up.
Making the form (caul) takes longer than the bending itself. You should be able to dry-bend 1/4" stuff to a 4' radius. Quartersawn stuff bends the best with least chance of splitting out. Flat sawn is most prone to failure.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Thanks for the help. I've reconsidered the double bend in the bottom. Do you have any opinion about using MDF and alder veneer for the last layer or going with alder plywood?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 2:10PM
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Why not use bending luan or wiggleboard then Alder veeer?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 8:10PM
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I've thought about that, but I'm not sure that those would provide enough structural support for this application. Do you think they would? It sure sounds easier to work with.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 1:36PM
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No idea I have no idea how far apart the bracing would be. You could possibly run some stiffeners lengthwise.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 2:18PM
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