Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Solid Wood!

As you might guess, I love solid wood. I will use solid wood down to the most minor components of a piece. "Solid wood" furniture that is sold on the market today often does not have solid wood drawer bottoms or drawer sides. Generally they are made of plywood.

I thought I would show a bit of construction of my drawers. Each piece for the drawer bottom is resawn from larger stock and tongue and groove routed to fit together. They are held in place by a dado cut within the drawer sides, completely housing the drawer bottom with the exception of the back that is left open to allow for wood movement. Here are a few photos of the drawers parts and their construction.

Why don't I use plywood? There are some advantages to plywood such as very little wood movement which means it is quite stable. A good thing for mass production. However, I have deep concerns over the glues that are used in plywood. Most have formaldehyde to some degree or another in them. These create serious contaminates for indoor air quality. I feel that if you are buying quality custom pieces that are meant to last generations then they should serve those who use them to their benefit including their health. Maybe you agree.


  1. Hi Caleb! What about the products of Columbia (PureBond), formaldehyde-free hardwood plywood technology. I have no access to them, but I would like to know your opinion. Thank you very much.

    1. Martin,

      I don't personally have any experience with that plywood.

      I am sure there is a manufacturer that will eventually or is currently making a plywood that is as safe as could be achieved for a glued together product. I then would want to know what the effect of the glue dust on me while sawing it. I know that wood is bad for your lungs already but how about the glue. Is it comparable? Do I even want it on my skin?

      I use a mask rated for cleaning and removing asbestos while sawing or sanding. I am that concerned with what I breath. I think it is something to consider.

      I kinda think that maybe plywood is best left to the CNC machines and solid wood for the custom furniture makers.

      Don't get me wrong. I really wish their was a product that was ready made and safe in all its forms. Maybe it is already out there and I haven't used it yet.