Building Hints

These general hints will help you achieve the best possible results in working with APA wood structural panel products. They apply not only to this plan but to all projects you may undertake using APA trademarked panels. Since building methods and interpretation of suggestions may vary, APA – The Engineered Wood Association cannot accept responsibility for results of an individual’s project efforts.

Before starting, study the plan carefully to make sure you understand all details.

Following the panel layout, draw all parts on the panel using a straightedge and carpenter’s square for accuracy. Use a compass to draw corner radii. Be sure to check the width of your saw cut and allow for saw kerfs when plotting dimensions.

When hand-sawing, support panel firmly with tile best side facing up. Use a 10 to 15 point cross-cut saw. Use a finetoothed coping saw for curves. For inside cuts, start hole with a drill and use a coping or keyhole saw. When power sawing on a radial or table saw, the best side of the panel should be face up. A plywood blade works best but a sharp combination blade may be used. When using a portable power saw, the best side of the panel should be down. For curved cuts, use a jigsaw, bandsaw or saber saw. Be sure the blade enters the face of the panel. Use the finest tooth possible for a smooth and even cut. For prolonged cutting of nonveneer panels and those containing layers of reconstituted wood, a carbide-tipped blade is suggested. Reduce panel to pieces small enough for easy handling with first cuts. Plan to cut matching parts with the same saw setting. Scrap lumber clamped or tacked securely in place beneath the panel prevents splintering on the back side.

Overlaid panels can be worked in the same manner as regular grades with these exceptions: sawing and drilling should always be done with the cutting
edge of the tool entering the panel face. To minimize chipping at the point of tool exit, use a piece of scrap wood as a backup or place tape along the line of the cut.

Support panel firmly. Use brace and bit for larger holes. When point appears through panel, reverse and complete hole from back. Finish slowly to avoid splintering.

Remember, edge grain of the panel runs in alternate directions so plane from ends toward center. Use shallow set blade.

Many APA panels are sanded smooth in manufacture – one of the big time-savers in their use – so only minimum surface sanding is necessary.
You may find it easier to sand cut edges smooth before assembling each unit. Use medium or finer sandpaper before sealer or flat undercoat is applied. Use fine sandpaper after sealing and in direction of grain only.

Construction by section makes final assembly easier. Drawers, cabinet shells and compartments, for example, should be handled as individual units. For strongest possible joints, use glue with screws or nails. Check for a good fit by holding pieces together. Contact should be made at all points for lasting strength. Mark nail location along edge of piece to be nailed. In careful work where nails must be very close to an edge, predrill using a drill bit slightly smaller than nail size. Always predrill for screws. Apply glue to clean surfaces according to manufacturer’s instructions. Press surfaces firmly together until bead appears. Check for square, then nail and apply clamps if possible to maintain pressure until glue sets. For exterior exposure, use resorcinol-type (waterproof) glue; for interior work, use liquid resin (white) or urea resin-type glues. Other glues are available for special gluing needs.

Little, if any, surface preparation is usually required. Sanded panels require only light sanding to remove blemishes or to smooth fillers which might be used to patch any dents or openings in the surface. Sand in the direction of the grain only with fine sandpaper. If an opaque finish is to be used,
cover any knots, pitch streaks, or sap spots with shellac or a stain-resistant sealer. Do not apply finishes over dust, glue or spots of oil. Three types of finishing systems may be used for interior applications: paints, stains and natural finishes.