The Fall 2011 of Lowe’s “Creative Ideas for Home and Garden” had an article on making a woven headboard out of 1/4 inch birch plywood. Zack intended on staining it dark, so we opted for the 1/4 oak plywood which was about the same price and takes a dark stain better than birch.
The instructions said to apply the stain to all of the plywood surfaces, but since the plywood was going to be subjected to bending forces, we carefully laid out the sections and only applied stain to the visible surfaces with an extra 1 inch on either side of the weave overlaps. This ensured a good bond with Titebond III.
In the old days to apply clamping pressure on large projects, woodworkers wedged boards from the ceiling to locations that could not be reached by clamps. Since this was the first glue-up of the overlapping sections we opted to use the weight provided by relatively heavy objects. As long as you get squeeze out you did good. If you look at the long center section you can see the unstained sections where the woven pieces will go. It was just used to hold the short pieces up off the floor for the glue-up.
After the first glue-up hardened overnight, the long center section was glued to the short sections glued in the previous glue-up and allowed to harden over night as well. This picture shows the clamping done after the last two short sections were woven between the existing panels. This is where a good bit of force is required to clamp the glued sections together. Again we let the glue-up setup overnight before removing the clamps.
Attaching the mounting frame to the back of the weaved pieces was the trickiest part since the glue surface is limited to the bottom edge of the frame. We used Titebond III on flat sections that contacted the frame. We added 1/4 inch spacers where there were large gaps, and used polyurethane (gorilla) glue in transitional areas. When you wipe areas to be glued with a wet rag, the polyurethane glue will foam up and provide a gap filling bond.
The whole is assembly is light for a headboard because of the thin plywood panels. Nevertheless, we installed drywall anchors in the wall behind the bed, and attached D-ring hangers to the back of the frame to support it.