Patterned Plywood Tambour Bench

this video is sponsored by mirka   hey everyone welcome back to the workshop 
michael alm here this week i'm working on   possibly my most challenging 
piece of furniture to date   this was a a project that i planned without 
really knowing a whole bunch of the skill sets and   um and i've learned them either doing this or i 
did some some practices before in other videos   things like tambour making pattern plywood making 
kerf bending and veneering all these things are   going to come into play in this one project 
and i'm super excited to share it with you as you may notice i am borrowing some footage 
from a previous video that i put out i put out a   video on the shaper origin which is the tool that 
i have in my hands right here it's a handheld cnc   machine and i go through in detail how 
i made these tracks in that video for   this video we're gonna start with the tracks 
already made and we're gonna go from there with the tracks all routed out from 
the shaper origin i could cut the   boards into individual pieces and then i just 
used that middle section for the vertical supports i used the crosscut sled on my table saw with 
a stop block to make sure all of the vertical   supports were exactly the same size then after 
that they could just slot right into place   once i had the cabinets all dry fitted 
and i knew everything was the right size i   sanded down the inside of the 
cabinet with my mirka sander and   applied a coat of finish sometimes i like 
to finish the inside the cabinets early just   because uh it protects it while i'm 
doing the build and also it can be kind   of awkward to get into all the little nooks 
and crannies after you have it all glued up so now we're moving on to the tambor section so 
tambour is is what you see in roll top desks it's   uh basically a bunch of wood slots that are glued 
together and they have a fabric backer on the back   of them they're super cool i'm still experimenting 
with tambour this is my only only my second   project with tambour but i'm i'm really enjoying 
working with it so i'm also making the tambour   into patterned plywood which if you've been on 
this channel before you've seen lots of pattern   plywood videos this is the chevron pattern that 
i've used multiple times basically you just glue   up a whole bunch of plywood strips on a 45 degree 
angle and then you cut them into smaller strips   with the plywood out of the clamps i can scrape 
off all the excess glue and prepare to sand   i get a lot of questions whether you can 
put it through a thickness planer or not   it's really tough on planer knives so 
i prefer to sand it and that brings us   to the sponsor of this video which is mirka 
thank you america i've been using their deros   five 5.0 for months now and i absolutely love 
it it just it cuts through that plywood even in   grain plywood really really nicely and mirka has 
a whole sanding system including an extractor it's   a dustless system and they also have this amazing 
sandpaper called abernet uh i've got an offer code   to get free ab renet if you pick up adero sander 
so go check that out in the description down below   for this tambour i have to make a lot 
of strips and uh and so i just i think   i made four panels and i just stacked them 
up against each other to make the first   45 degree cut and then i can go to my table 
saw with a special push stick this has a 45   degree angle on it and i can just batch 
out a whole bunch of strips from there so i got a lot of questions the last time 
i made patterned plywood tambour on this   channel about why i made the slats so thick 
most tambour you don't need very thick slats   maybe only a quarter inch or so but the thing 
is plywood glued up like this just isn't very   strong when you glue it up into a panel it gets 
a lot stronger but with these individual strips   they just don't have a lot of structural integrity 
so the thicker they are the stronger they are   and then what i do is i cut a rabbet 
underneath them so the track doesn't   have to be as wide and also that reduces the 
radius of the turn i should also point out that   these are only nine inches tall if they were 
something like 15 or 20 inches tall for the tambor   i would probably back them with a piece 
of quarter inch plywood on each strip so in the comments from the last video i 
asked people about finishing this stuff   because i hadn't had any experience making 
tambour and most people said that you apply   finish before you apply the fabric backer and so 
that's what i decided to do i applied finish on   all the sides beforehand but in order to do that 
i wanted to keep the side that gets the fabric   backer nice and clear of the finish so i have a 
nice glue surface in order to do that i just taped   blue tape on the back of each one and then i 
was ready to apply the finish to the fronts   i'm using general finishes armor seal on this 
bench and i'm using it on every element in   the in the entire build it's a super consistent 
finish for me i use it a ton and i like it a lot   while waiting for the tambour to dry i went over 
to shaper origin and milled out some handles   the handle design for this sort of mimics the 
tambour as it wraps around and i wanted to do a   little bit of inlay in them so i can actually 
inlay the handles they'll be nice and strong   and so i just used this solid chunk of walnut and 
i made both handles in one piece so all i have   to do is separate them and then i have the two 
handles and i know that they match up perfectly in order to tie the handles into the rest of 
the design i decided to add a little bit of   pattern plywood as like a 
trim around the outside edges   i set up a makeshift fence on my bandsaw and 
was able to rip a whole bunch of these out since these strips were super fragile i decided 
to make a little jig for my hand saw so i didn't   have to put them through my table saw i think the 
table saw would have just destroyed these things   in a second so uh didn't take any time at all 
put this little little jig together and it worked great with small parts like this i find that just 
gluing some sandpaper to a sheet of plywood   is the best way to sand these things and make 
sure they're nice and flat and once they were   flat i could uh then trim away the little 
excess bits that are there on that rabbet so the handles were almost done at this point but 
i realized that i needed to add a little stop in   there when i routed out the track i left a little 
section in there to act as a stop so all i needed   to do now was trim out the rabbet deep enough 
so that the handles mat perfectly in the center so i will save you all of the finish application 
on these these uh tambour slats because it it took   a while it was it was four coats on each slot 
um and that's a lot of surface area anyway all   that was done and now it's time to prep to put the 
fabric backer on i used the same jig that i used   in the previous video it's just made out of some 
regular framing lumber that i cut down to the same   thickness as the slats and then i have this this 
little cap on the end that holds it nice and tight i gave the back of the slats a fresh sanding 
just to make sure everything was nice and level   and then i taped out the track area i didn't 
want any of the fabric to be inside the tracks   because i thought that would cause sort 
of abrasion on the fabric and wear it   down over time the fabric that i'm using is 
a drop cloth just bought at a big box store   this is painters drop cloth nothing expensive 
but it's kind of a perfect material for this with plenty of glue applied to the back of it 
and i have to stress that you need a lot of   glue because the fabric absorbs a lot of glue 
and the pattern plywood absorbs a lot of glue   with that glue applied i was able to iron it 
out nice and flat and then trim off the excess so the next step was to remove the jig from around 
the tambour and i don't want to let the tambour   sit in there for too long because there's a 
potential that one of the slots can glue to   another slot and even though i put finish on it 
i just want to make sure that that doesn't happen   so i removed this hand bore and flexed all the 
pieces individually to make sure that i could   get it to a point where i could run my finger 
underneath it and none of them stuck together   after letting both tambour panels dry 
overnight i came back and peeled up   that blue tape section that i added before 
removed the excess and then rolled them up   i will admit to being pretty nervous to put these 
in the tracks for the first time there was a whole   bunch of planning that went into this but there 
wasn't a whole lot of proof of concept until   they were actually made so this is my first 
trial and um i would say it went pretty well   it looks pretty promising this is 
without wax and without any tuning   and they they did move in the track for sure 
but they were not super smooth and in order   to smooth them out i figured out that some of the 
rabbits were just a little bit thicker than others   and in order to fix that i just marked those 
sections with blue tape where it was sticking   and took a chisel and shaved them down until 
they would move nice and smoothly in the tracks with the tambour running smoothly i could 
now glue in all the elements that make up the   center section of this of this bench   so i'm gluing in all the elements of this 
cabinet except for the top i'm going to   leave that just dry fitted for now so 
it holds everything nice and square i   want to be able to remove that down the 
line in case i ever need to service the tambour with the cabinet all dry i could remove the top 
and add hardwood edge banding this is just 8 inch   edge banding that i cut on my table saw and i like 
to hold that down with my rockler bandy clamps with the center cabinet done i could start working 
on two side cabinets in order to do that i need to   make four molds so found four pieces of plywood 
in my shop and cut them all down the same size   taped them together and then rounded that 
corner the purpose of this is as a mold for   kerf bending which this is my second 
project doing kerf bending you may have   seen the project where i built the the tambour 
cabinet for my shop and um this is going to be   my second attempt that was actually kind 
of a bit of a test for this whole build i'm still a little new to kerf 
bending but i'm pretty excited   to have it in my arsenal of things that i can do 
in the shop so i've drilled out these holes with   a hole saw just to make room for clamps to go in 
once i have the actual curves made so once the   molds are done i can prep the walnut plywood 
that will make up the sides of the cabinets with the panels cut to rough size i lined the area 
where the kerfs were going to be cut with blue   tape the logic of this was to prevent tear out 
but it didn't end up being necessary in the end in terms of the spacing of the kerfs themselves 
i just spaced it out my blade width so it's an   eighth inch blade width with an eighth inch space 
in between there's no math involved this i just   kind of picked that because it'll give me the 
most gradual curve debated for a long time about   what glue to use inside of these curves i read 
a whole bunch of stuff and i just ended up going   with regular wood glue uh if this panel didn't 
have a back on it and didn't have a top on it i   i probably would be more concerned about the 
strength of the wood glue but because it's   going to be reinforced i figured this was the 
easiest option one downside to it was because   the wood glue was so thick it took probably four 
or five days for it to dry which was not great   while i waited for the kerfs to dry i prepped 
the tops and the doors for the two cabinets and   i wanted to make those out of solid wood because i 
was gonna have exposed sides so i just picked out   of my collection of off cuts of walnut i picked 
ones that matched up really well that was the the   main consideration for this because i didn't want 
to see the divisions between the different boards so four to five days later i came back to the 
kerfs and i really don't recommend lining these   cuts with blue tape i mean it prevented the 
tear out probably but it also left tons of   blue tape in the little nooks and crannies of 
it i was hoping that the inside kerfs would be   good enough to be acceptable for inside the 
cabinet but they just really weren't so i   decided to veneer the inside of the cabinet 
this is only my second time doing any sort of   veneering but from what i read it's it's pretty 
common to use bondo as a filler so this is   a flexible auto body filler and a lot of other 
veneering people that i talked to use it a ton   so i sanded that up made sure it was nice and 
flat and then i could prepare the veneer itself   with the veneer cut to size i could 
use contact cement to get it to adhere   you apply this to both surfaces and you want to 
make sure that it it has time to dry before you   introduce the surfaces to each other i basically 
just followed the instructions on the can   you can see here i've put a box over the back 
side of it because i was really scared that i   was get i would get the back side to contact 
before i rolled it up inside that inside curve   uh this stuff once it touches you just 
can't remove it so i took my time with it   the box worked great i also had a little scrap 
piece of plywood that i ran on the inside to   burnish that edge into place make sure it 
was nice and tight and had a lot of contact i intentionally made these sides a 
little bit longer than they needed to be   and that way if anything went weird 
with the veneering if it got off at all   i could i could just trim 
it down to the correct width so now i've made basically the top 
the bottom and one of the sides   in order to complete this rectangle i 
took the tops set it up and measured   out what size plywood i needed and 
then i just cut it on my table saw   with all those elements made i could 
then work on the joinery and for this   i'm just using a domino joiner 
you'll notice that i'm only putting   two dominoes in per side this is because there's 
going to be more dominoes in to connect the   cabinet and i didn't want to conflict with those 
this should be plenty strong for this application   in order to make sure that the two side cabinets 
squared up perfectly to the center cabinet   i put on a piece of tape on the bottom 
corner where there might be glue squeeze out   and then i set them against the main cabinet   and clamp them to it so as it dried i 
knew that it would stay nice and square while i waited for those two side cabinets 
to dry i could start making the edge banding   with those thin strips cut i could at 
least glue up one of the sides but the   problem is i had that curve in there 
and i thought about this for a while   thought about doing a segment or a whole 
bunch of different ideas but what i came   up with was just cut a piece of wood that 
was wide enough to cover that whole radius   and then i could trace it out on the cabinet 
itself and then rough cup that on the bandsaw   i cut this piece with plenty of excess on 
the sides and then just made sure that it   was nice and square on the bottom after that 
all i had to do was fill in the remaining gap   with a straight piece and it was ready to 
go over to the router to be flush trimmed you're gonna start to notice a theme with all 
these parts that i've made and and that is that   i've made them a little bit too big and then 
i'm gonna trim them to fit something that i've   learned from years and years of doing woodworking 
where you don't want to make everything exactly   the right size because you'll end up in the 
end as you've sanded things or shaped things   you'll end up short by like a 16th of an inch and 
it's really frustrating so it's good to save a   little extra length so that you can cut it right 
to fit when you're ready to glue it into place   i used my domino jointer once again to join 
the top to the body of the cabinet and i've   just dry fitted it for now um because i want to 
be able to remove it while i work on the hinges   for the door panels and speaking of 
which these are the door panels and   right now i'm just going to trace it out and make 
sure it's exactly the same size as the opening   all again i'll trim that up later 
once i have the hinges in place   to get the radius i just 
rough cut it on the bandsaw   and then took it over to my sander 
and refined that to the line   with both doors fitted up i could start working 
on the hinges and you may have noticed that i   put out a whole video on how to install these 
hinges i felt like there was too much detail to   go into for this video but the hinges that i'm 
installing are called sauce invisible hinges   they're really beautiful they're great 
for this application and i built my own   jig to install them and again that video goes 
into full detail so i'll leave a link right here so now you see those beautiful sauce hinges they 
look so good and this is kind of a dry fit as i   mentioned before i made the door panels snug so 
once the hinges were in they it didn't close but   that was kind of intentional i i want to trim it 
to fit and since these cabinets aren't perfectly   square and um just the style of making them makes 
them a little bit a little bit wonky so i decided   to set up the reveals and and cut them with my 
track saw instead and that worked like a charm   the doors were feeling a little disconnected from 
the rest of the cabinet and in order to sort of   visually connect them i decided to add a little 
bit more of that pattern plywood inlay basically   matching the handles that i'd made for the tambour 
just enlarging them and applying them to the doors once i got the first section of inlay in 
i could sand it back with my mirka sander   get them nice and flush and 
then trim out those side edges   i intentionally made all of the inlay an eighth 
of an inch so that all i have to do is run my   table saw kerf through it and it's the it's 
the perfect size for all these inlay bits at this point i'd had so much time invested into 
these doors that i was really freaked out to cut   into them but i had to put the inlay into them 
and i was very thankful to have origin in my shop i also decided to cut out the inlay 
handles at the same time i had a piece   of birch laying around in the shop that i've 
had for years and hadn't had a use for it so   it was perfect matches the 
baltic birch pattern plywood   and i think it looks really good to have 
that contrasting wood against the walnut   and of course so that everything 
matched i glued in those birch pieces   into the the tambour sections as well one of the last things to do on these side 
cabinets is to make room for a back panel   and in order to do that i just like using 
a rabbeting bit on my router table it's   got a guide bearing and all i have to do is run 
around the perimeter and then i cut a piece of   half inch plywood to fit into place 
the friends that i'm designing this   this bench for have a toddler in their house and 
they uh they made a request that i don't have   super sharp edges on the furniture and honestly 
that kind of inspired the whole design of this   furniture piece all the curves all the all the 
soft edges are because i thought it would be   an interesting design challenge and i'm so 
happy that they gave me that little element   to design off of because i don't think i would 
have ever built anything quite like this otherwise   as i bring these two cabinet sections 
together you'll notice that i only put   dominoes on the bottom and that's again because 
i'm gonna need to be able to remove this top   the top needs to be secured somehow and i 
decided to use screws on this i know that   people get mad at me whenever i use exposed screws 
but with the track in there and the tambour this   really was the only decent solution that i could 
come up with so we are now on the home stretch and   the last thing to do is to cut out the apron and 
legs and i'm doing all of that out of solid walnut i really love this portion of the build and i 
think it's fun because it's it's like building   a little um toy set or something they just 
come together really nicely i've built this   style leg many times and i really like it 
a lot so to set up for the domino i just   use a three-quarter inch piece of plywood 
and i mark out all the legs and then i also   label all the legs with a b c and d and 
then i can use my joiner to cut into the leg sections since this leg assembly has such 
a wide stance i'm planning for a fifth leg   in the center in order to do that i have to 
dry fit the entire assembly together first   and then i can measure out for that fifth 
leg in order to do this i like to set one   of the legs against the side measure the full 
distance and then i divide that distance in half   i sneak up on this cut i think i cut it 
three or four times just to get it just   right and then once it fits perfectly i can 
then go to the domino joiner and join it up now that all five legs are fitted into the apron 
i can start refining those legs so um i like to   put a taper on each leg on two of the sides 
the center leg will get full all four sides   tapered this is my temporary tapering jig it works 
pretty well definitely a bit more of an advanced   table saw technique but i've used it a number 
times and definitely trust it so you just screw   it down in the center that puts enough tension 
on the leg to hold it in place while it runs   through the table saw the table saw leaves a rough 
finish on these legs and so i like to sand it back   again using a piece of plywood 
with some sandpaper glued to it   so this leg assembly is a bit of a puzzle to 
put together and what i figured out the most   efficient way to do it is to glue up all 
the smaller leg sections first and then go   and attach the apron rail to that it's 
a little bit easier when you have those   other sections already glued up so you're not 
dealing with a whole bunch of individual parts after that everything is made so now it's 
just sanding up all of the individual parts   and just go through the grits 
i think i went all the way up   to 320 grit on all the surfaces 
before i got ready for finish i disassembled all the parts that were 
still together and then i could set all   that stuff out on the tables in my shop 
and apply the armor seal as a top coat after five coats on every surface sanding in 
between at 320 grit is ready for reassembly   this was quite the engineering feat 
to get this thing put together i'm   so happy with how well it works and 
uh yeah i'll just let you guys enjoy   it's it's reassembly and emergence 
as a finished piece of furniture so   you   uh hey everyone thanks so much for watching i 
hope you enjoyed that build i hope you learned   something and uh yeah if you got any questions ask 
in the comments down below also i know i mentioned   a bunch of my other videos just the build up to 
making this one piece of furniture was was a lot   and uh and so i've put together a playlist of all 
those videos that i mentioned i've also got them   linked in the description down below so you can 
find them there also this is my shop dog winston   say hey to winston if you made it to the end of 
the video that's awesome and give winston a shout   out big thank you to my patreon supporters as 
always you guys are the best if you want to join   the patreon there's a link right here thanks 
a lot and i'll catch you in the next one bye

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