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Plywood source for 41 Ford


41woodie
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Hello, I went through this about a year ago. In a nutshell, what I wanted did not exist so I had it custom made. I ordered high quality marine plywood from Menards, a big box chain in the midwest. I ordered mahogany veneer from www.certainlywood.com. I hired a local veneer company to install it on the plywood. Mahogany on one side and birch on the other. As you can imagine all this was expensive. But I got exactly what I wanted and it is beautiful. See pictures of my 1940 Lasalle on this forum in this category. You should consult a veneer/plywood fabricator first before buying plywood and veneer to ensure you get the right stuff. I looked all over the internet and there is very little out there premade that would be suitable for a woodie. I think there might have been a marine supply place that had plywood with mahogany veneer. Also, check with the woodie builders/restorers in the NWC Woodie Times about what they use. Also, I found "Mahogany" is a vague term. True mahogany on antique furniture is Cuban Mahogany. Those trees are gone and that does not exist anymore commercially. A very similar species, Honduran Mahogany is now considered true mahogany. That is what I used. There are some African species of trees whose wood is very similar to Honduran Mahogany. Most commercially available "mahogany" today is African. I admit I can't tell the difference. I could not even determine for sure whether the original on woodies was South American or African. 

Varnish.  After a lot of research I used/use Pettit Captains Varnish on the framework and Pettit Flagship on the panels. 

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Tom, Not what I was wanting to hear but after spending several hours scouting the internet I was afraid that this was the case.  The plywood on my front doors is not the problem as they are separate pieces for the exterior and interior.  On the rear doors however the door is only one panel thick and it appears to be mahogany plywood with a veneer of birch applied to the inside.

I live in the Oklahoma City area and will start looking for someone capable of properly laminating the necessary pieces.  As to varnish, I purchased Epifanes and Interlux Schooner 96.  I played around with both of them and settled on the Schooner, I'm pleased with my results to date.  Your plywood panel looks great, I assume you used filler/stain on it to create a level surface? Thanks for the info. Mike Higbee

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Hello Mike, It seemed like the few premade panels I was seeing on the internet either did not have birch on one side or had interior grade cores I thought would not hold up. I did not use a filler stain. I applied about 7 coats of varnish and wet sanded the 5th or 6th coat. That was enough to fill up the grain. I do not want the red in the mahogany to fade so I want to get enough coats on the panels. That is why I used Flagship on the panels because it has more UV protection. I used Captains on the framing because I like the color. It was "golden brown" not yellow or amber. I did not experiment with Schooner but it seems to be among the top brands. Also I live in New Albany Indiana which is across the Ohio river from Louisville Kentucky. I had my panels made up at Superior Veneer and Plywood in New Albany. www.superiorveneer.com.  For some reason, New Albany is historically a hub for veneer and plywood companies. 

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The wood on my car is the original with the exception of two frame pieces.  Over the years the finish had darkened to the point of nearly obscuring the grain,  the darkening as well as the general deterioration of the finish prompted me to strip and refinish.  A couple of the door panels have delaminated and need to be replaced which started the search for plywood.

I'm surprised that you were able to fill in the mahogany grain without filler, it looks great in your photo.  Interlux is reddish amber but with the original wood that was the color I wanted.  I found your project photos and my hat goes off to you, I'm not sure I would have started on that much of a project. With the scarcity of your car it will be a standout wherever you go. I appreciate your tips.

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