Hi All, super excited to share with you a few projects I have done recently using timber veneer boards!
After many a year raising kids, using hand me down furniture, building my own furniture or buying some with no thought at all as to how co-ordinated it all looked, my wife and I decided it was time to get co-ordinated.
I think I can add to my posts as we go so thought I would start out with the planning stage and some tips and tricks I have picked up and continued to learn over the years in some of the practical aspects before I get to the finished products.
So first things first, what did we want to build? We started out with the basic plans of what the units would look like in the end, 1 a TV unit the other a display wall unit. After drawing multiple plans out, we settled on the two pictured plans (and a 3rd and 4th not pictured). We planned out the depths and size of shelves, drawers - had to hold BluRays and game cases, records had to be stored etc, occasionally heading to a furniture shop with a tape measure to help visualise the dimensions of what we were planning. Below are the two plans with a lot of scribbled working out, it might be a disturbing insight into how my minds works haha.
Once we decided on the what, we worked on the material to build it with. For us, we already had a big American Walnut table that we wanted to match so that solved the question of the timber veneer we would use. I got it on an MDF substrate. I like working with Veneer boards on MDF as it is way cheaper than solid timber, especially in different timbers (none pine), being on MDF it is very stable so warping, bowing etc is not an issue and finally when it is edged nicely you are hard pressed to tell it is not solid timber.
I then spent far too long sitting down trying to work out how many boards of each size I would need. I have done this over the years manually but thought I would try again to find a piece of software that could plan this for me and the heavens opened, angels sung and I saved myself a ridiculous amount of time finding an online board cutting planner. You put in all the boards you need in their finished sizes, tell it how many boards you have to cut and their size and it works out all the cuts for you. You can tell it you want to do the least amount of cuts or the least wastage and it works it all out even labelling each board for you as well so you can mark your boards (this is key in projects like this). The free version gives you 5 calculations a day. An absolute game changer. Would've been nice to find about 15 years ago!
The below pic is of one of the boards and on it is a print out of one of the cut plans (my scribble is for routing lines which I'll get to later). A word of caution on the planner, be sure you are confident in the boards you need, it is really hard to readjust it on the fly if you change your mind.
So I had the plans, the cutting list, the boards and the time. One last thing for this post, you are cutting MDF which has a lot of glues in it and creates a lot of dust when cut. At the very least I bought a really good respirator (good ones allow plenty of airflow so you don't feel closed in), safety glasses and ear protection (the ones below). I also have a shopvac with attachments to suck up dust (worth it for the cleanup alone).
Happy to answer questions as we go, Cheers for now!
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @MarkeD. I'm looking forward to following along with your furniture builds. It sounds like you have a lot of knowledge and experience to share with other members so it's great to have you join us.
Please let me know if you ever need a hand getting the most from the site. I trust you'll get as much advice and inspiration from the rest of the community as they will receive from you.