Striated Plywood - Help

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muzeon
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Striated Plywood - Help

Postby muzeon » Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:37 am

Hello,

2 years ago, we bought a house built in 1953, that uses this plywood as the exterior siding. Unfortunately, over the years, the plywood has been cut for plumbing repairs etc, and patched back. So, trying to find more pieces, to restore this house, so that the exterior wouldn't look so 'Frankenstein-ed'.

Striated plywood. Also can be called 'combed', or 'corrugated'? The surface of the plywood has many long, thin grooves, that runn vertically. The grooves are very tight together, and can almost look random, much like as though the wood has been 'combed'.

We tried searching all over, but the manufacturer was bought over a few years ago, and they stopped making these plywood.

Any ideas who still sell them? Who replicates them? Or know anyone who is throwing them away from their house?

Anyone who has some left, or are removing them from your house... please let us know! We are seriously interested to buy it, or haul away at our cost.

Any info, or leads would be deeply appreciated. Thank you!

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Plywood

Postby Josquin » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:10 am

There is a discussion of plywood siding on the Eichler network here:
http://www.eichlernetwork.com/HDsiding2.html

This subject has been discussed on lottaliving before, but I can't find it.

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Postby Dan O. » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:25 am

Is it like this stuff off to the left side of the photo?

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b79/e ... ed/PK1.jpg

Good luck finding that, I'd be interested if you do. I'd imagine you could make you own after a few hours on a router table if you have the time and patience. Chances are those striations were originally made simultaneously across a 4ft width with some sort of crazy milling machine rusting away somewhere.

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Postby muzeon » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:33 pm

Thanks for the links. Nope, it doesn't look like any of those shown on both links. I'll try to take a photo, and post it tomorrow.

Ours is a Rodney Walker house, and we saw those plywood in some of his other houses during a tour in Bel Aire.

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Postby muzeon » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:38 pm

So I have found this link that shows a close up photo of the striated plywood.

Scroll down, and you'll see swatches of photos of diffferent lumber. It is labelled 'Wetdtex', next to the T-111. I think they have mis-typed it. It's actually called 'Weldtex'.

http://www.cabinlogplan.com/cabinlogplan33.php

A search online shows it's been bought by another company.

If anyone has seen the Weldtex striated playwood, please let me know!

Thanks!

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Postby jesgord » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:50 pm

The weldtex is what I thought you were talking about when you first posted. It was used on a great MCM in Piqua Ohio near my in-law's house. On that house, it is painted white and I've always wondered exactly what it is. I know this is of no help to you......but I figured I'd mention it anyway. Good luck on your search!

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Postby SDR » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:03 pm

I knew what it was as soon as you described it. I haven't seen it in years. I hope somebody will have some for you. Have you tried building salvage yards ?

Off the topic, but there were also striated cement or asbestos panels of some sort, I think. There were also vaguely wood-grained ones, like oversized shingles with the grain running vertically. . .

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Postby Dan O. » Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:23 am

I love that stuff, the siding in my picture was no doubt inspired by it but is nonetheless different. Another visual aid with some info in the comments:

http://flickr.com/photos/msatomic/1721234227/

Perhaps not helpful but interesting anyway:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=ZMJDAAAAEBAJ&dq=deskey

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Postby johnnyapollo » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:58 am

I had a 50's house in Atlanta that used fibrous siding with a similar texture - it's also what I had in mind when you first described the plywood. I've never seen it locally in plywood - good luck in your hunt.

Depending on the amount you need, you (or someone else) may be able to approximate the effect using some type of scraping technique. Difficult to get it exactly right, but possible. Some type of metal die would have to be created and the process would require a carefully controlled application to achieve good, parallel grooving. One very low-tech method would be to grind a hand-plane iron to fit the profile, then hand plane along the length of the panel. The trick would be to get the grooves deep enough without penetrating to the underlying layer - plywood that's made today isn't of the same quality as what was made 30 or more years ago - the inner layers often have voids that shows so it's not solid all the way through. Just a thought.

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Postby AlcoaMCM » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:37 am

I've seen it called "combed plywood" too.

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Postby SDR » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:24 am

"I laugh in the face of danger! Then I hide until it goes away." Bender

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Postby Dallasmodern » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:09 am

Sounds like Weldtex panels. Pretty popular during the postwar housing boom. You don't see it much anymore. I believe it had something to do with the production patent held by United States Plywood being challenged by Georgia Pacific. None the less, it's probably going to be hard if not impossible to find.
If it's a small enough area, a custom millworker might be able to fabricate some replacement pieces. However, I'm sure the price will be at a premium as it is with most custom millwork.
Depending on the texture, try looking for some asbestos shingles with a raked finish to fix smaller damaged areas.
I wish you luck in your search. Please keep us posted with what you may find.

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Postby muzeon » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:44 am

Thanks so much for the tips and info.

Only possibiillity I have is from our Historian, who know someone who was ripping it out, but they are small pieces, with holes cut out for shelves. Another is his parents' house, but had water damage.

We need big pieces. of course 4x8 is preferred, but open to any options.

Wonder if the company that bought over Weldtex still have the machinery? If it's for sale? They make T-111 again now, wouldn't it be about time for the 'combed' plywood to make a come back? :)

Yes, finding a piece of plywood nowadays with thick veneer might be tough. From what I read, Weldtex use Douglas Fir panels. Anybody who knows a millworker who figure it out... we might be interested to pay for it.

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Postby muzeon » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:54 am


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Postby SDR » Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:27 pm

The problem with knots is that they are very hard and at the same time vulnerable to chipping away from the panel, especially when scored by the striating process. Even under paint the disturbance is likely to be noticeable. I suppose the knots could be removed first and the voids Bondo'd before the panels were striated. . .

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Postby googieagog » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:21 pm

This stuff was originally called Weldwood when first developed by Donald Desky in the 1930s. His intent was to disguise the very prominent grain of Douglas fir plywood. The company which first made it held a patent. They stopped making it c. 1970, and another unauthorized firm decided to turn out a version. The original company sued and won, thus ensuring that those who need it can no longer get it. Though it has a kitschy connotation for some -- showing up in '50s shadow boxes etc. -- it has a high-tone heritage as well. Weldwood was used by Wright for the ceilings and sofits of the Walker House (1948) as well as non-supporting interior walls of Keck's Spence House (1941) (located directly across the woods from my place).

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Postby SDR » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:40 pm

Image

Walker house soffit detail

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Postby Dan O. » Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:30 pm


muzeon
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Postby muzeon » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:35 pm

Thanks everyone! yes, Dan, I copied some of the milling text in the patent, and emailed to my carpenter. He's going to ask around to see if anyone is up for it... perhaps, like you said, ruining their industrial sized planer kinves?

It's sounding more and more expensive to me now. Anybody in with us, if we find a place to do it? Group discount? Kidding.

And thanks for the first company that stopped making it, and sued the 2nd company... now there's a shortage! Or lack of.

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Postby johnnyapollo » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:19 pm

SDR - that Japanese technique your referencing (jin-di-sugi) actually started out as a burial - wood was selected for its surface figure after dimensioning/drying and buried with various additives to help make the wood decompose - after a certain amount of time, the wood would be pulled up and combed out, exposing some delightful patterning that could still be sanded to a smooth finish but retaining the topographic feel as wood grooving between the grain. In more modern times, furniture builders have been using high-heat torches to scortch the wood (the heat destroys the pulpy grain fibers and hardens the harder grain fibers - but from there they use the same process to get the smooth-to-touch surface). It produces some really beautiful furniture. I haven't played with the technique yet but hope to in the future.

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Postby SDR » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:35 pm

Thanks, John. (That demonstrates how things can become garbled in the memory !) I'd like to try that, too.

There is a local merchant who sells weathered furniture and other artifacts. He had an old cabinet that he said had been found on a back porch somewhere in the Midwest. Green paint had once covered the vertical-grain fir of the door; it remained on the high (hard) grain while the soft grain and its paint had weathered away. A slight coat of clear satin finish had apparently been added recently, to preserve it, I suppose. I imagine it might be possible to recreate this effect; it was really lovely.

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I'm saturated with Weldwood

Postby lars4mf » Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:23 pm

My 1958 midcentury has tons of Weldwood African Samara.

Any ideas on where I can find Samara or something similar.

Luan is all I'm finding out there.

[img]http://img222.imageshack.us/my.php?image=weldwoodsamaralrwo4.jpg][img]http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/1496/weldwoodsamaralrwo4.th.jpg[/img]

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Postby mcmwws » Thu May 22, 2008 9:19 pm

We are currently doing a huge remodel/expansion of our 1950 (or so) MCM home. The living room has two walls of Weldtex, and I would also like to find some replacement for it. Some of ours is a bit stained near the bottom - due to the old baseboard radiators which ran along one of the walls. We have since removed the radiators. (Our house has a raised floor, so forced air has been installed.)

If anyone cares to put together a group buy, I'd be in...

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Postby johnnyapollo » Fri May 23, 2008 4:15 am

I missed the post about Samara - I don't believe that's an actual wood species, rather a brand name that comes from the region the wood was harvested from. Have you compared the wood to African Mahogany? Otherwise I wouldn't hazard a guess as to the species.

-- John
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Postby mcmwws » Fri May 23, 2008 10:49 am

FWIW, page 3 of http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/pdfs ... 951_12.pdf has an ad which exactly describes what is in our house. Even has the little "PV Brand" shield stamped on the back.

Some people think it is 'kinda neat', and some think we should just trash it...

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Postby T.O. MidMod » Sun May 25, 2008 8:33 pm

Well, I just wanted to say thanks (as usual) to all the Lotta Livin' forumers for filling me in on an obscure piece of MCM trivia that I wouldn't have known otherwise. My particular model in a Toronto subdivision of 8 - 10 house types (all designed by one architect and built between 1959 - 61) has a panel on the front between the two bedroom windows (where the address numbers go) that, I now know, is striated ply. Crazy! So far, I haven't seen it on any of the other models, just ours.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45285859@N00/2522578937/

or check our blog for other photos:

http://atomicplayhouse.blogspot.com

Cheers!


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