I am making classic flower presses with children.

We'll be sandwiching from top to bottom: a plywood sheet, cardboard, paper, flowers, paper, cardboard, and a plywood sheet.

Each corner of the plywood will be bolted and tightened with wing nuts, to press the flowers for drying.

All the samples I see use at least 1/2" thick wood at the thinnest. But it's pricey for a group of kids, and also heavy. 1/8" thick wood squares are easy to find and much less expensive. But I'm worried they might crack.

Do you think 1/8" thick wood is strong enough for this type of application?

Thanks in advance! Kate

  • 2
    My 2c, you should make a sample one, test it rigorously and find out empirically. General consensus amongst woodworkers would I bet be that 1/8" wouldn't be strong or robust enough (raw ply edges are prone to splintering) and this was my first thought too, but it's really impossible to say for sure because it depends on the quality of the plywood and that's an unknown. Plywood varies enormously in quality now, but in general if it's cheap it won't be good, however, unfortunately the reverse can't be relied upon to be the case.
    – Graphus
    Feb 11 '19 at 8:03
  • Thanks for the suggestion. I wish I had time to test different types of wood, but the 1/8" would have been ordered online, and I wouldn't have had the time to order a second, thicker set if it failed. I went with 1/4" and it did splinter a bit. Watching the kids work with it, I'm pretty sure you're right that the 1/8" would have been too fragile. Thanks!
    – user480029
    Mar 11 '19 at 23:00
  • Welcome! 1/4" would probably have been the minimum thickness I'd have gone with.
    – Graphus
    Mar 12 '19 at 6:20

I'd suggest drilling more holes at regular intervals across the boards and adding clamping points. At least where I come from, flowers aren't all that big, and you can work around the holes. Also, get some fender washers to increase the actual clamping areas around the bolts.

You would make a wood/cardboard/cardboard/wood sandwich, then drill. Make sure you make index marks on all pieces so the the holes will line up properly when you go to clamp. Letting the kids try to assemble and clamp without paying attention to the indexing, then showing them how to arrange things and how easily it goes would also be a great, quick lesson in paying attention to detail.

  • Excellent added value in the second paragraph *thumbsup*
    – Graphus
    Feb 12 '19 at 8:18
  • 1
    Thanks for all the ideas! The kids did learn a lot about lining up the holes and paying attention to the setup. Even with keeping everything lined up, each corner wasn't drilled in the same exact position. So, the kids had to experiment and rotate the top board to get a clean assembly. I wish we had enough time to do multiple trials and let them experiment with the process more. But we were at least able to break it down after and talk about changes they would make. Thanks again!
    – user480029
    Mar 11 '19 at 23:09

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