Just received my latest order of Proofgrade a few days ago and have encountered two challenges to using it for my latest project (making a dozen more Shoji candle holders for family).
Challenge #1: “Pebbled” finish on Medium Walnut Plywood
I have used a lot of walnut ply over the past few months, and up to now the finish quality has been excellent. However, the latest shipment evidences inferior finish. Here are two photos that illustrate the issue (apologies for the focus/depth of field issue in the second image):
In this image, a piece cut from my older stock is on top of a piece from the latest shipment. Notice the ‘pebbled’ appearance? It’s even more noticeable when you handle it…
In this image, old stock is on the left and new is on the right…
Just to be clear, I’m not referring to color or grain – it’s the texture and visual appearance of the finish itself.
Luckily, I was able to swap pieces around so that the quality differences should not be apparent to the various recipients, but if this had been a commercial product, I wouldn’t have shipped them.
Challenge #2: “Inverted” Medium Frosted Acrylic
This one is much more subtle and took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out. Every sheet of frosted acrylic I’ve received until now has had the glossy/clear side up and the frosted side down (“up” being the side with the QR code), but the latest batch has the QR code on the frosted side.
At first blush, it may not seem like this would make a difference, but in this use case it does. The acrylic panels are ‘keyed’ to only fit one way. As long as you are using individual pieces from stock that is all ‘up’ or all ‘down,’ no problem. If, OTOH, you use pieces from both batches, you end up glossy-out on some sides and frosted-out in the rest. If you cut pieces from the problem batch in multiples of four, again no problem. If you were using scraps saved from other projects and end up with an odd number from each batch, Cousin Bob gets the “patchwork” version. Bob will never notice , but I wouldn’t ship a commercial product with mixed “sides.”
TL;DR — Hard-Won Workaround Tips
Before using the frosted acrylic,
peal peel up a corner of the masking to verify the desired side is up. Likewise, I’m going to start checking the finish of woods before the “big reveal” at the end of a full-sheet run.