How to Work With Bendable Plywood

Written by scott knickelbine
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How to Work With Bendable Plywood
Bendable plywood is a special thin stock that covers rounded corners. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Bendable plywood is a special type of thin plywood that has one surface face and core layers with grains running perpendicular to the face veneer. This construction lets you bend the plywood to as little as a five-inch radius without cracking or breaking it. This plywood is ideal for finishing cabinets and other kinds of furniture with rounded corners.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Sheet of bendable plywood
  • Cabinet or furniture frame with rounded corners
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Table saw
  • Wood clamps
  • Wood glue or wood fasteners (screws or nails)
  • Hammer or screwdriver (for nails or screws)
  • Sandpaper

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the linear dimensions of the area of the frame to be covered.

  2. 2

    Set the table saw so that the blade extends about 1/4-inch above the cutting surface and cut the plywood to size.

  3. 3

    Mark the vertical centre line of the plywood with a pencil.

  4. 4

    Apply glue to the edges of the frame, if wood glue is used to fasten the plywood.

  5. 5

    Clamp all sides of the plywood to the frame, starting from the centre of the plywood and working toward the outside edges. Space the clamps about one to two inches apart. Make sure the finish surface of the plywood faces away from the frame.

  6. 6

    Drive nails or screws through the plywood into the frame, if using fasteners to fasten the plywood.

  7. 7

    Allow the glue to completely cure, which takes about 12 hours, if using wood glue.

  8. 8

    Remove the clamps and sand excess plywood extending over the edge of the frame.

Tips and warnings

  • Bendable plywood usually has a finished exterior surface ply, so it's ready for staining, or varnishing right away.
  • If you cover a broad curve with bendable plywood, the frame must supported it in multiple locations so that it will not bend inward or dimple. You can clamp the plywood against these interior framing pieces by placing heavy objects, like books, on top of the plywood, over the frame.
  • While bendable plywood can accommodate tight curves, there is a bending limit. Never try to bend it around right angles or curves that are too tight.
  • As with any thin plywood stock, be careful when sanding the surface veneer. Bendable plywood has a thin surface, so excessive sanding will reveal the underlying plies.

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