FIG. 3: SOLID-WOOD CORNER BLOCKS
Corner blocks let you form an edge, and they protect the corner joint. Biscuits and glue join corner blocks to panels. Extended corner blocks may become cabinet legs.
Solid-wood corner blocks. Biscuits and glue join solid-wood corner blocks to man-made panels for a strong joint. Here, the lengthened corner block will form a cabinet leg.
manageable but oversized picccs, on the tablcsaw or with a portable circular saw. Straighten one edge by sawing a thin slice off it. keeping the bulk of the board between the blade and the tablcsaw fence. Flip the board over and adjust the fence to saw the other edge straight. Flip the board again, and adjust the fence again, to rc-saw the first edge to final size. Make every cut far enough into the board to leave an offcut of !/8 in. to W in. If the blade just kisses the board, the edge will not be square. I follow this routine with plywood as well as with particleboard and MDF.
Making joints in man-made board is almost entirely machine work. Cut the tongues, grooves and miters on the table saw. Rout the mortises and tenons. Locate the solid-wood corner blocks and "lippings," or edge banding, with biscuits, and shape them by routing.
For veneering, the plastic vacuum-bag presses that have come onto the market in the last few years are a real advance. They are efficient, and unlike the screw veneer press, they fold up and store in a small space.
Once the raw parts have been cut to size, the general routine is to edge them with a solid-wood lipping, or edge banding, plane or rout the lipping flush with the board surface, then veneer over both board and lipping. It's important to keep control of the width of the lipping. If it's too wide, its normal movement will show as a line on the surface of the veneered panel. For square-edged panels, '/4-in. lippings are plenty wide enough. If you add lippings after veneering, they will show as a line.
It's not such a great leap to adapt your woodworking techniques to man-made boards. It's well worth the trouble because of the two big advantages you'll gain. First, you'll be able to work with rich veneers and unusual figures that you simply ain't obtain in solid wood. All the best wood gets made into veneer, which is as it should be. because it stretches so much further. Second, since man-made boards are dimensionally stable, you can design furniture without regard to shrinkage or expansion, so you can forget about wood movement. This is totally liberating. A
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