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Liteply delamination

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Ian Riddick 114/05/2020 20:42:16
13 forum posts
11 photos

Can anyone tell me if 2.5mm lite ply is normally prone to delamination. I am having a number of problems with one of the outer layers coming away when sanding or cutting out with a fretsaw. The lite ply was purchased from a local model shop. Ian R.

Paul T14/05/2020 20:50:16
7140 forum posts
1204 photos
2 articles

Hi Ian

It sounds like cheap ply with inferior glue between the laminations, I would take the ply back to the shop and exchange it.


Dave Milbourn14/05/2020 23:04:14
3999 forum posts
282 photos

I don't know of any liteply which is 2.5mm thick - certainly not from a reputable source. If you want to buy the real stuff then there's certainly one place to get it Liteply

I'm frankly getting a little bit annoyed about what seems to be a campaign against the stuff on this forum. At the risk of becoming a bore I've been using it for over 40 years and I have no problems with it. If you don't like it or you can't get on with it then there's quite possibly more than just one reason for that.


Ian Riddick 114/05/2020 23:22:43
13 forum posts
11 photos

Dave, firstly I am not part of any campaign. I have never used light ply before and was unsure if the material I had bought was inferior and from your comments it would appear to be so. Thank you.
ian Riddick

ashley needham15/05/2020 07:47:22
6574 forum posts
144 photos

DM has pointed out in a few recent posts that lite-ply is like any other material, and the correct technique has to be used to get the best out of it.

However, simply cutting the stuff out on a fretsaw should not cause delamination, at least, it isn’t quite as robust as normal thing birch ply. You may get a few larger splinters than “normal” but the stuff is built for lightness and so is not as solid.

In what circumstance are you using the stuff? Big areas, thin strips, lots of holes cut out?


Charles Oates15/05/2020 09:30:03
565 forum posts
46 photos

Hi Ian, to give you a straight answer to your question. In my experience, no, de laminating is defiantly not normal, I'm guessing it could only be due to poor storage somewhere in the supply chain, or poor manufacture.

Sometimes with any wood, bad batches can occur, so if your model shop is a decent one, they will want to know about this so they can address the problem before their reputation suffers. If they aren't interested, they wouldn't be a decent shop in my view, so just move to another.

Lite ply is very useful stuff, it's allowed me to make lightweight builds of a vosper, and a Thornycroft that wouldn't have performed as I wanted them to otherwise.


Dave Milbourn15/05/2020 09:37:12
3999 forum posts
282 photos

I'm sorry if I came over as a grumpy old man - even though I often am one!

The problem Ian is having, as Paul says, is most likely because of an inferior product. There is some truly dreadful stuff out there, especially from the big DIY stores. All of my liteply has come from SLEC since the year dot - mainly because I'm one of their 'house designers' and thus get the stuff free issue.

Their liteply is made using a water-based acrylic resin and consists of three laminations of Ceiba wood. This is quite soft and straight-grained c/w birch. It should be handled more like hard balsa than birch ply, and I find it easy to cut with a Stanley knife. It was originally manufactured to replace cardboard in childrens' jigsaw puzzles because it's more durable and yet doesn't wear out the die-cutting blades as quickly. Its use for model kits stemmed from there.

Birch ply (resin-laminated) was traditionally used for model boats when they were powered by diesel or glowplug I/C motors. These created a lot of structural vibration and so the model needed to be strong enough to withstand it. It was also a fairly rigorous test of a model when it came to starting the things. Now that most of us use vibration-free electric motors that necessity has diminished. It remains easier to obtain a reasonable finish quickly on birch ply because it's smoother initially, and liteply must always be thoroughly water-proofed to prevent it delaminating if it gets wet. However for an excellent finish you need to spend a lot of time on surface preparation, irrespective of what material the model is made of.

Dave M

Ian Riddick 115/05/2020 10:11:53
13 forum posts
11 photos

Dave, thanks for the reply, the material is obviously inferior and I have had most problems when filing the edges of the windows and the edge of the deck cutout see photo. I shall continue and persevere reglieing where necessary and next time buy some from SLEC.

regards Ian Riddickf2a09c83-0cad-4b50-b4ed-35c9b1d40569.jpeg

Paul T15/05/2020 10:12:26
7140 forum posts
1204 photos
2 articles


You! a grumpy old man........never surprise


There is a lot of 'liteply' coming from China which, like most things from China is cheap in more than one sense. It could be that your local model shop has quite innocently acquired through a third party importer. The shop will wish to protect its reputation and will be grateful for being told about this problem.


Chris E15/05/2020 10:40:50
98 forum posts


Arn't we all grumpy old men?

This reminds me of the brushed v brushless debate.

There is a problem with liteply which is that many of us don't really know much about it and have little experience of using it.

SLEC is great unless you want a large piece and don't live in Norfolk.

You have, in the past said that there is a lot on the forum but if you search for Liteply then this thread is the only thing that comes up. I don't doubt that the information is somewhere but if you cannot find it then it is lost.

So I think that we have a series of problems which cause much of the distrust.

1. How do you recognise, before using it, what is good Liteply and what is rubbish?

2. How do you store liteply when large sheets cannot be laid flat. How does that differ from how we have all been storing normal ply for years?

3. How do you cut Liteply. I know that you say that you cut Liteply with a knife but is that all thicknesses? Cutting curves with a knife easy isn't easy so does it sand / file to shape differently from normal ply? what is the best way?

4. How do you "thoroughly water proof" the model as opposed to what has always been done with modelling plywood?

5. Any specific methods for finishing a Liteply model?

6. What is Litply useful for and when should it be avoided?

7. Which tools are useful for Liteply, what are they useful for and which tools would a modeller reach for but should be avoided?

8. etc etc.

I don't see a campaign to down Liteply but many of us work with partial information that can easily lead to problems which get raised here.

I, for one would welcome a serious tutorial on the use of Liteply that could be referred to when required.


Edited By Chris E 1 on 15/05/2020 10:51:27

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