Had the sales rep in yesterday taking up a product called Pluma ply. Two HDF faces with a poplar core. Anyone use this stuff? I've got a couple sheets on the way for a small project to check it out, but figured I'd check in here as well for any feedback. Likes dislikes or comments on it in general?
We just used some for veneered countertop substrates on a job where we would otherwise have used mdf. The weight advantage was considerable on the large sections we built, and machining was much less dusty. We also used it for a cantilevered shelf unit where its strength was a real plus over mdf. The European poplar inner plies were free of voids, so trimming the veneer was troublefree. The hdf faces were rather waxy to the feel and non-absorbent, so we ran the blanks through the widebelt prior to layup. A test panel showed a real difference in bond strength relative to an unsanded blank.Overall, it's a good product if the job can absorb the extra cost.
The generic term for that product is "combination core" and it is widely available today. There are definite advantages to using it (especially in thickness tolerance and surface smoothness), but it does cost a little more. The company I work for uses it on a daily basis and we love it. The extra cost is made up for in increased efficiency (less rework) and decreased scrap.
I have never used the PLUMA ply brand, so I can't specifically comment on their quality, but in order to compete in that market, they would have to offer the same quality as their competitors, which is quite good.
Thanks guys, this stuff is imported from Spain and supposedly "void free". I'm using it on a painted project where I need 1" thickness and would normally have to choose between ply or mdf. With ply I always worry about the grain telegraphing through the finish. With 1" mdf I worry about how heavy the project is going to get. This could be a good solution.
Kevin, do you think a quick once over with the ROS would be enough to get a good clean bond? Or is running through the wide belt and removing some "meat" necessary?
Well, the surface will be void free because of the hdf outer. Don't count on it being void free throughout, but it doesn't sound like that will be an issue in your application.
You don't need to take any "meat" off the hdf, just rough it up and you will be good to go. My concern with using a random orbital is that you might put swirls and divots in the surface which could show up in the painted surface. For painted surfaces, a smooth, even sanding is best and the best way to get that is with a wide belt.
The panels we got were indeed free of voids in the core.
I think you could probably improve the glue or paint adhesion by just roughing the surface with a da or hand block, but I only tried the wide belt method as it was the quickest and most consistent method at hand. A test panel or two might be in order.
Well yeah, I never really questioned if the surface would be void free…..that would have to be some crappy material if it weren't? The core is supposed to be void free which is a good think when using thinner bandings and such.
I'll do a couple test panels when I get it. I have an old Timesaver with no platen which is great on solid wood, but not the best for real fine sanding. If the ROS is good enough for stain grade work it ought to be fine on paint grade.
I need to start off by saying I am biased as I am the sales representative in North America for Garnica Plywood, the manufacturer of PLUMA-PLY™. I have worked in the plywood industry in the USA for over 20 years and I started working with Garnica Plywood in January of this year. Garnica has 5 manufacturing plants in Europe, 1 in Southern France and 4 in Northern Spain. The company is headquartered in Spain and specializes in poplar veneer core plywood made from plantation poplar grown in Europe. I've spent the last 9 months developing products for North America and we are just now getting material introduced into most regions.
The PLUMA-PLY™ HDF product has 2mm HDF outer layers on a European poplar core. While I do not represent the product as "Void Free" it is a very sound core and is made up of single piece layers of core veneer throughout the entire panel (no butt jointed core or pieced together core layers). The core is also lighter in weight, more stable, less abrasive on tooling, has better thickness tolerances and better surface quality than most other alternatives in the market. I spent this week visiting customers around the country and getting feedback on the HDF panel as well as our hardwood plywood, poplar platforms, marine grade plywood, Class A fire rated poplar VC and UV finished plywood and I am happy to report the products are being very well received.
I am interested in your experiences and feedback on the products. Specifically the question regarding the surface sanding is interesting to me. We are not sanding the HDF panels at the factory as I never know what end use the panels will go into and the HDF surface is very smooth and case hardened from the hot press when it leaves our factory. If sanding the panel will be beneficial for most applications we can make that change and we have a Heesemann segmented pad sanding line that will do a great job of preparing the surface for paint or lamination. I appreciate your suggestions on this and any other information you can give me. If you send me an email I will send you more information on our products and make sure one our distributors contacts you. Thanks for trying PLUMA-PLY™!
(541) 525-2508 cell phone
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OK so I started spraying the first couple batches of parts today and the Pluma is being funny. For some reason the primer, (Clawlock), is taking forever to dry? I had parts that were still damp after 3 hours! I know it's not the primer as other parts of the job out of maple ply flashed off normally. Can't figure out why the hdf would affect the dry time of the primer though?
For now I've resorted to spraying very light coats which although still slower than normal to dry, are drying within about a half hour.
Thank you for the feedback. I can't say I have a great answer. I'm not sure how the HDF surface was prepped prior to the primer being applied? As we discussed before the surface of the PLUMA-PLY™ HDF is not sanded in our factory. I am assuming that if it is not sanded well before finishing then very little of the primer will be absorbed by the substrate which could prolong drying time. The other maple surfaces of the project will likely absorb more of the finishing materials. I am not a finishing expert by any means but that's my best guess about how the different surfaces could affect the dry time.
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Surfaces were sanded with 120 grit to give the finish something to "bite" into. I'm sure the porosity of the maple would help absorb some of the primer, but it still seems odd at the extreme dry time for the hdf. Especially since subsequent coats dry normally? At which point the wood substrate shouldn't be absorbing anymore? Or in other words seems like the primer should flash-off almost, (almost!), regardless of porosity??
Everything cured fine overnight and I'm spraying light first coats now. So should be OK, but would still like to know more. I'll talk to my finish supplier next week and see if he has any thoughts as well.
Thanks again for the feedback Jeff. Sounds like your preparation of the HDF surface closely matches what ML Campbell would recommend so I don't have an answer. Also very interesting that subsequent coats dry normally which suggest some interaction with the unfinished HDF surface and the coating but not the coating itself as it dries normally on other surfaces and on top of itself on the HDF. I will be interested to hear what you finish supplier thinks and hopefully we can all learn something. I am at the factories this week and will ask a few questions here as well.
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