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Bending Luan Plywood?

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Bending Luan Plywood?

Postby Bryan Bear » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:37 am

This is kind of a silly question/project but I need to make a stage prop (arch topish guitar)for a show for my daughter's elementary school. It doesn't have to look good but be passable from 40 feet away. I don't want to invest much time or money into it as it is not a big part of the show. I want it to be lightweight; I would just cut the body out of solid wood and do a rough arch shape to the top but I feel like I should hollow it out to keep it light. I thought about cutting a rim out of some scrap softwood lumber with 1/4" side thickness then putting a top and back on but I worry about all the shortgrain sections I would have in the rim. The other option is to make a proper rim but I don't want to put in the effort or materials to thickness sides and linings. I was thinking about just getting some of that 1/8" luan plywood (it is actually more like 0.108" thick) and bending it to one of my acoustic shapes and put in a double cutaway section on the hot pipe. Then just use strips of the same plywood for linings.

Has anyone tried to Bend this stuff? Am I wasting my time trying? Would the tight radius get me in trouble?

Or, better yet: Am I worrying over nothing about the short grain situation if I cut a rim out of scrap?
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Re: Bending Luan Plywood?

Postby Bob Gramann » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:12 pm

I wouldn't expect luan plywood to bend very well at all. It's pretty splintery. Why not use corrugated cardboard, the kind that comes on a roll? It will easily form to any curve you need and you can glue layers together for strength. If it has to show wood grain, you can glue veneer to the surface.
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Re: Bending Luan Plywood?

Postby Bill Raymond » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:59 pm

Bob's suggestion is a good one. I've bent lauan plywood to make a guitar case, so it can be done, but I think you'd have trouble with tight bends.
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Re: Bending Luan Plywood?

Postby Bryan Bear » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:52 pm

Thanks guys! It is funny, I never even thought about non-wood options. Had I been making any other type of object, cardboard probably would have popped in my head. Now I have a third option to consider.
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Re: Bending Luan Plywood?

Postby JC Whitney » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:58 pm

How about rigid insulation? Lightweight, and should be easy to attach a "neck" to. Paint on a couple of f holes and you're in business.
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Re: Bending Luan Plywood?

Postby David King » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:32 pm

Good god if it's just a prop that seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to if it doesn't get played and isn't the focus of the audience's attention. If it has to look real then a random surplus body and neck from Subway guitars or http://www.guitarfetish.com/Factory-Buy ... c_410.html would get you a real, playable guitar that could be used again for some other play if the school has storage for props.
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