Working with plywood

Dremel 4000 - plywood ring afterAnother day, another ring. Yeah, I’ve been making a few of those. I do have good reasons, though: 1. My girlfriend likes them; B. Round, or at least rounded, things are easier to make with the rotary tool than are those with sharp corners; and 4. I’m still getting comfortable with the Dremel, all its accessories, and various materials.

The different thing about this ring was that I made it out of plywood. We bought 3 sheets of 1m x 1m x 5mm plywood for an upcoming project, and I wanted to do something small to see what it’s like to work with this stuff. Overall – not that different from solid wood. I followed all the same techniques: drill, carve (this was before I destroyed the 191 cutter), sand, cut with cut-off wheel, sand some more, polish. I had expected a plywood anything, let along a ring, to look cheap and not very interesting, but in the end the layers turn out to give it a rather nice pattern that is distinct from what you get with solid wood:

Dremel 4000 - plywood ring before

Another thing that is probably obvious from the above picture is that the plywood veneer yields a very rough finish compared to solid wood [I have no idea what wood(s) this plywood is made of]. This was the result I got after finishing the ring with the 932 grinding stone and the 414 polishing wheel. To take care of this, I used Micro-Mesh. This stuff is like very, very, very fine sandpaper: the sanding discs sold by Dremel top out at 240 grit, the finest sandpaper in my local hardware store was 800 grit, while Micro-Mesh sheets in a typical kit start at 1,500 grit and go up to 12,000 grit (the higher the number, the smoother the sandpaper). Word on the internets is that this stuff was made to polish scratches out of airplane canopies – i.e. it gets things smooth. Here’s the same ring after a quick work-over with 3,600 & 8,000 grit sheets:

Dremel 4000 - plywood ring after

It might not be baby-bottom smooth, but much better than before.

Now, what I need to find is some kind of a coating / sealing solution for all this pretty wooden jewellery…

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4 comments

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