I made my first piece of layered plywood furniture in my not very well equipped single garage way back in 2007 as a side hobby while my full time job was still site work. I was working as a shopfitter on a conversion from a Woolworths store into a Marks and Spencers and during the demolition phase was able to salvage a massive 1.4 meter by 1.2 meter 25mm thick piece of toughened glass which formed part of a balustrade and I thought this would make an amazing table top.
I like the idea of really heavy and solidly build furniture anyway but didn’t have any choice for this piece of glass, it weighs well in excess of 100kg! so I came up with this idea of cutting organic shaped profiles out of plywood and layering them together to create a heavy lump as a base, so I bought myself a sheet of good quality birch plywood and set to!
It was quite roughly made by my current standards, I had some left over second hand kitchen cabinet doors in Oak so I decided to mix it up a little with two layers of oak in the middle to form stripes which shrunk and cracked after a while, I nailed all the layers together including the outer layers and then filled in the holes with slightly mismatched filler and this stands out like a sore thumb! I only had a basic orbital sander at the time so smoothing out the layers was kept to a minimum so the sides undulate somewhat, little did I know at the time that these were all lessons worth learning.
A new beginning in layered plywood furniture.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2009, I had just finished a long break from work for the Christmas period and during this time I also got married, went on a short honeymoon and then worked from home for a few weeks to finish building a new larger double garage/workshop.
These four or five weeks of absence were all it took to be oblivious to the complete collapse of the construction industry! With no work available I started to put my new workshop to use by making furniture for the house, already having a layered plywood dining table I decided to hone my plywood furniture skills and started by making a small coffee table and chest of drawers in the same style.
Having learned a lot of lessons from my table build and with the benefit of a more spacious workshop I was able to do a much more professional job, so much so that I was confident in listing them on ebay in an attempt to earn some much needed cash! With construction jobs still scarce end enjoying my new hobby I was more than happy to make replacement pieces should they sell.
One major piece of advice I can give anyone thinking of making furniture to sell is this; only make furniture you can use yourself and have space for because that is what will happen to most of it! Im sure I only managed to sell one pre-made piece of furniture on ebay and all the rest remained in use by me, but the listings did lead to some custom commissions including a set of side tables and a coffee table set and this really nice rosewood fronted TV unit and coffee table set.
The most pivotal of these commissions however was a large heavy unit for a high end audiophile hifi system, I learned that these audiophile types like really heavy furniture as it reduces resonance in the system and dampens vibrations, especially important for turntables. This particular customer had seen my heavy layered plywood furniture and knew it would be a perfect platform for housing ultra sensitive hifi equipment! The customer also knew that this layered plywood construction was perfect for making something called turntable plinths, something I had never heard of but it was suggested that I look into branching out into plinth making.
Turntable plinths are another story, needless to say I did look into it and started making them not long after. It was this that really kept my new business afloat and my involvement in the hifi industry lead to a few more commissions in layered plywood furniture, but around late 2011 I was so overwhelmed with the turntable orders I decided the heavy furniture was just too much of a hassle to deal with and stopped taking orders to concentrate on the turntables.
That is until late 2019, I had a regular customer of my hifi work recommend me to one of his customers who really took a liking to the layered plywood furniture style, although reluctant I took the order to break up the now almost unbearable monotony of making one turntable plinth after another! I also thought the construction of this would make a really good video for my new youtube channel, click here to go to the video. I have also written a separate supplemental article to accompany the video. Their are more examples of the layered plywood furniture I have made in the past in the gallery.