Making a Curved Table Skirt

Methods and materials for making up skirt pieces for a round Mahogany table. October 26, 2005

We're about to build a circular mahogany table for a customer. The skirt is obviously also circular and divided into four sections by the legs. Our plan for the skirt is to laminate three plys of 1/4" birch plywood behind a single ply of 1/8 mahogany with a veneer on the exposed edge. Im wondering if anyone has experience with this type of project and/or if there are better options.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
If you use the 1/4" birch run it through the planer first just to skim off the first layer of veneer and it'll bend better. You might go with a layer of mahogany on the back face also as it makes for a better job. Have you ever tried bending plywood? It's pretty cool stuff. We get it about 3/8" thick. 2 layers of ply, and front and back veneer and you've got a good piece of wood.

From contributor L:
My distributor also has a product that is a thin face over veneer and kerfed MDF. You would apply a veneer to the kerfed side and put it in a jig to dry. After that it is pretty ridged. Then you only have to cover the edge.

From contributor M:
When you talk about veneering front and back do you mean you apply the veneer in a vacuum press, or do you glue up the whole thing together in one go with a solid wood front and back?

From contributor L:
Since I don't have a vacuum press I would end up making a male and female curve clamping jig. I would glue up all my layers at one time and put them in the jig and apply clamping pressure. I would suggest that you definitely do it in one try. You would have to do it 4 times to make your four pieces. Or make 4 jigs, but that's silly unless you planning on making a bunch of these tables. I would let the glue (Tite Bond II) dry at least 2 full hours (above 75F) before you remove them from your clamps. Overnight would be best. Remember to wax your jig up before you glue your pieces into it.

From contributor D:
I agree with what Contributor L said. Expect a little bit of spring when you take the clamps off. It shouldn't be a big problem. One other thing- don't waste a bunch of material making your forms. By waste I mean don't cut up a sheet of plywood for a one time use. Take the material you would use and make yourself some 90 degree blocks (the more the better) for your inside curve form, that can be attached to a table (or something flat) in the shape of your curve. Make them tall enough so they'll work for the next project too.

This should work for table aprons 5" or 6". Then you need blocks that you'll use to clamp the stock to your form, or if you're low on clamps, clamp the blocks together then screw them down and take your clamp on to the next block. If my post makes sense to you you'll have a versatile reusable laminated curve clamping system. Also, leave everything in the form at least a couple of hours then put a c-clamp or similar on each end and you can remove the piece and then set it aside and do another. I like to wait at least overnight before working with the piece.