Ready to Apply Yourself?

Denver author Philip Schmidt put out a call to designers to submit their best DIY ply designs, and the results are in. Ply Design is how-to heaven, a compilation Philip put together that’s chocked with dozens of ply ideas. This totable volume is ready for you to fold and mark in search of the project that suits your space.

Simply put, plywood is grownup Play-Doh. For designers and creators of beautiful objects worldwide, the uses of this malleable, durable material are seemingly endless. It bends, it bolsters and you can cut it into any shape using something as simple as a fine-blade jigsaw. The main difference between plywood and solid wood is that when creating an object from a solid wood slab, you have to be much more careful. The wood is still alive somewhat, and so it changes shape depending on humidity and stress levels. Hence, 100-year-old furniture made from solid wood cracks, warps and stretches. Besides, if you purchase an expensive piece of wood to create something, you only have one shot. If you mess up a measurement or slip with the saw, game over. Same goes for plywood, but its low cost makes cutting a less intimidating endeavor. Plywood, being wood by nature, also shifts, however because of its criss-crossing construction and multiple layers, it lends itself to flexibility and will stay put once you’ve bent it into shape. In essence, it behaves. It is light, thin, breathes and is easy to mass-produce. Plus, it’s still real wood, so the top and bottom veneer showcase the beautiful organic patterns that allowed wood to captivate us in the first place.

Designs and uses for plywood are practically endless. But for those of us less comfortable with infinity, Colorado writer and plywood enthusiast Philip Schmidt has compiled the perfect book. Ply Design – 73 Distinctive DIY Projects in Plywood (and Other Sheet Goods) is a great place to start for independent creators desiring to dive into ply world. Eight excellent chapters provide you with enough interesting project options that you’re sure to discover something you didn’t know you wanted to make. “Plywood is very versatile and beautiful,” says Philip, who had a series of plywood moments, as he calls them, that led him to view the material as more than just a construction basic. “It’s also perfect for modern design because of the wood grain and the ply edge, which creates a neat stratified look,” he mentions, adding that the distinctive ply edges offer clean, structured lines often found in modern themes. And depending on your version of modern, his new book will have something for you. Philip’s favorite projects are the Florence Table, Revue Magazine Table, Super Shelves and an advanced project featured on page 100 – the Chaise created by Lauren Von Dehsen. Philip’s compilation of straightforward DIY ideas is comprised of concepts from contributors all over the world, including Colorado-based designers Sascha Ayad and Christie Murata.