Woodworking Tips Cards – Laminated Wood

This Woodworking Tips Card is about laminated wood. A well designed and laminated stack of wood is a thing of beauty. The mix of wood species and colors creates interest, depth, and complexity. Thankfully, you can incorporate laminated wood fairly easily. Here is how.

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Laminated Wood and Building Things

woodworking tips cards laminated woodThe secret to laminated wood is that it is really no different to use than solid wood. The milling will be the same, and so will the assembly. For all intents and purposes, if your eyes were closed you would have no idea if the piece was solid or laminated.

Note: If your eyes are closed you may have no idea where your fingers went either.

The only hard part about using laminated wood is not really in using it at all. It’s in making it. Once you decide to use laminated wood in your project, you need to design the look, and then make the pieces.

If you have the tools, then making laminated wood is not really hard, it’s more time consuming. You have to mill the pieces, arrange them, glue them, and then let the stack dry. After that, you have to mill the lamination again to trim it even on all sides before it can be used. Here is the trick for making great looking and easy wood lamination…

Beginner Level Trick

The beginner level trick is to buy boards that are already faced, and use them in your lamination designs. These are available from hardwood and woodworking stores. Simply look for boards that are already thin, and have smooth faces.

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On a well made lamination, the glue lines are nearly invisible. This only happens with really flat faces on the boards. Make sure to pay extra attention, and only buy wood with nice flat faces.

Also, pick out pieces that are as close to final size as you need so that you do not create too much waste. The less drop you have from the table saw or band saw the better. It will cost less money too.

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Advanced Level Lamination Trick

Once you are established as a woodworker, you need to own a thickness planer. This was a tool that I wished I bought long before I finally did. It’s not about planing down long rough boards. It’s about making smooth faces on smaller boards.

When you start with a flat board, you increase your chances of success. Using poorly milled lumber is a chore. On the other hand, using well milled lumber makes projects seem to fly together like magic.

As you decide to laminate wood, you can now flatten the faces yourself. This means that you are now open to far more choices than before you owned a planer. For example, I use my planer to make Laminated Guitar Necks in my shop.

Putting it All Together

The first step is to design your lamination. Then, cut the pieces to size on the table saw. Leave a little extra for stock removal on the planer. When you flatten the faces, you will always remove a little wood. Plan this into your thicknesses.

Pass the pieces that will be milled to the same thickness through the planer at the same time. As long as these pieces are starting about the same, and ending the exact same, you can pass them all through in sequence.

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If you are making very thin pieces, making a Planer Riser can help you.

Once they all fit through at the thickness setting you want, then you are done with those pieces. Move on to the next sizes, and you will have your stock ready.

Apply glue to all of the mating faces, and press the pieces together with clamps. Use good even pressure, and allow the laminate to dry over night. Pop the clamps in the morning, and you can trim down the edges on the table saw to make the board look cleaner.

Using Laminated Wood

Using the wood is no different than using a single species. You can cut it, turn it, sand it, and carve it. The only difference in the project has been the time making the blank.

Take a look at the projects you already do and see if laminated wood can make a difference in the look. I would imagine that it can. To someone that does not know much about woodworking, seeing something made with a lamination can make it appear much more difficult than it actually was.

Especially in cases where the normal product is nearly always made from single pieces, using a lamination can really agitate the standard for the design. This lets you be different than everyone else, and sometimes that’s better.

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2 thoughts on “Woodworking Tips Cards – Laminated Wood”

  1. I enjoy the fact you send one e-mail a week. This gives me time to read it leisurely. I cannot stand 37 e-mails a week. Thank you.

  2. You are welcome John. I use the email for people just like you that would rather just check their email than keep going back to the site to see what’s new. Once a week seems to make the most people happy, and it’s easy for everyone to decide which posts they want to read and which they can skip. Thank you, and happy building.

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