Building a Honeycomb-Core Desk Top

      Advice on materials and construction techniques for high-quality honeycomb-core panels. July 6, 2006

Question
I am having problems with a desktop as shown in the drawing below. The interior of the desktop is a framework of 12 and 15mm MDF with honeycomb paper. It has a 5mm top layer and a 3mm bottom layer.

The problem I have is the edges of the interior framework are showing through my top layer of 5mm MDF, so the top does not look flat. I know I can solve it by using a thicker material but I have to keep the cost and the weight to a minimum.

I did try to run the top through a friend’s thickness sander, but it only solved the problem a little. Has anyone else had this problem? Can you let me know how to solve this?


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Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
We are quite familiar with the challenges you are facing. In all likelihood the frame material is slightly oversized, the Kraft paper may be undersized, or perhaps too much pressure was applied when the panel was laid-up.

Relating to honeycomb - these challenges and the hassle of laying-up purpose-built parts were at the heart of Häfele’s thinking when we recently created connectors for use with honeycomb panels. These connectors allow the honeycomb panel to be made in conventional sheets, cut to size, and finally edged. No internal framing is required. It's not a help for your project today, but if in the future you are building case goods this may be worth investigating.



From contributor S:
Fred I would suggest that you use Plascore for jobs like this. I often build tables for yachts out of this stuff and it is light and strong and does not even buckle in the vacuum bag.


From the original questioner:
I will check out Plascore. But what is the cost like in comparison the paper honeycomb? I have been testing different glues also. It seems the main problem I have is using a water base glue. When it dries is seems to be distorting the surface of the desk top.


From contributor S:
That’s the main reason I don’t use paper. Plascore is more costly but then so is redoing the work. I usually use 1/8 plywood over and under the Plascore. So if I want to make a 3/4" top I use 1/2' Plascore with 1/8" top and bottom. Once it comes out the bag I put the 3/4" wood frame around the top.

I then send the top out for wide belt sanding (usually costs about 15 to 20 dollars). When that is done I laminate the top veneer and bottom veneer onto the top in the bag. After this I cut to size so the top is the correct size with smooth sides.

Get the router and cut the edge thought the veneer into the frame and you can't tell where the veneer ends and frame begins. I have had many people confused as to how the top weighs so little. Also the Plascore allows the top to absorb a blow without showing damage as it simply returns to its original shape.



From contributor A:
To contributor S: Who is selling/manufacturing the Plascore?


From contributor S:
The manufactures can be found at plascore.com. I have yet to find a better material for bent lamination core. This stuff will do amazing curves with no spring back



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