Sorry state of plywood - yes another rant

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 01-25-2009 05:47 PM 1721 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3392 posts in 4162 days

01-25-2009 05:47 PM

I just left HD. I needed a small piece of ply to work on a project. To say the least I was completely disappointed. So much so that I sent the following e-mail to HD.

“When is HD going to start carrying decent plywood? If you would go to any of the woodworking forums (;, etc.) you’d see that HD looses a lot of business on plywood because what you have is JUNK. It warps, splits apart, has more voids than Swiss cheese and is not worth the effort to haul home. I just left HD after buying a piece of pre-cut 3/4 ply – I had to really search to find a small piece that was worth it. In fact, three pieces I looked at were quite obviously from a full sheet that was returned, cut and put in the pre-cut bin. I can tell you this with certainty, because even the cheap stuff you get does not come with putty and butterfly repairs. Please, for the sake of at least the casual woodworking hobbiest start carrying decent plywood. Such as You’d be doing us all a favor.

I doubt that this will help one iota. But, perhaps, if we all sent an e-mail we’d get someone’s attention. They are lowering prices on over a 1,000 items in their stores to try to get customers back – I think they’d get a lot more of us if they carried decent ply, wood, etc.

OK – I’m done – gotta get to work.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

27 replies so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4152 days

#1 posted 01-25-2009 06:02 PM

I agree their plywood sucks! About the only thing I buy a HD is tools. Tried to buy some Cedar there a while back and couldn’t find a board worth hauling home, Menard’s has better wood than HD.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Planeman's profile


97 posts in 3844 days

#2 posted 01-25-2009 06:33 PM

In defense of Home Depot I will say they sell to the casual user and small contractors who rarely use – or want to pay for – the type of plywood you indicate with your Rockler link. This cabinet grade plywood is available from industrial suppliers and is very costly. You pay for what you get. I am sure Home Depot would carry this plywood if it would sell to their type of clientele. Lowe’s sells a cheaper Chinese-made version of cabinet-grade plywood and is roundly criticized on this forum for its quality. I suggest you look toward suppliers to the cabinet trade for your needs.


-- Always remember half of the people in this country are below average.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4581 days

#3 posted 01-25-2009 08:37 PM

Shop grade plywood should not fall apart. Home depot stocks crappy plywood. That is the fact. Suppliers have quit caring about the quality of their products. Let me tell you about a small lumber yard in my town. They carried a small but reasonably priced selection of hardwoods. It was the type of place that had the just about any type of tool. You could buy card scrapers there. It you bought a sander they carried the sandpaper that went with it. Much of their business was small contractors. They survived the new Home Depot, but not the new Lowes. Sorry folks if you keep shopping at these big box stores you will keep getting ripped off.

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John Gray

2370 posts in 4152 days

#4 posted 01-25-2009 08:53 PM

If you live near a Menard’s and watch their newspaper flyer each week they will, a lot of times, indicated their plywood that’s American made with an American flag. Their ad a couple of weeks ago showed all plywood except 1/4” Birch and 1/4” Red Oak as American made.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3946 days

#5 posted 01-26-2009 12:01 AM

The problem with Menard’s is that they are not local to everyone, (I don’t have any near me for several miles making it a waste of time to drive to one for a few sheets of plywood) though many places have small local hardware stores or mini chains where you might pay more, but get quality for a few extra dollars. I have to pass one such place to get to the Lowes and HD that are right down the street from the local hardware store. If you want cheap pine/whitewood or plywood, go to the box stores and and try going through their piles of junk to find that one half decent piece of wood. I don’t but plywood from the box stores and I only buy the whitewood, if I need to cut many small pieces for something. You DO get the quality that you pay for most of the time, no matter where you shop.

HD is the biggest “hardware” store in the world with billions of dollars of equity behind them, they didn’t get that way from people going for quality all the time, they got that way by selling LOTS for a LITTLE.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

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Bob #2

3810 posts in 4288 days

#6 posted 01-26-2009 01:05 AM

I do not buy plywood from the box stores.
They are doing what anyone would do - selling to the largest audience.

You can make more $ by selling junk than you can selling quality.

It kind of says who we are …

Be careful what you wish. Price is not everything.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 3755 days

#7 posted 01-26-2009 01:16 AM

Amen Bob #2.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 3755 days

#8 posted 01-26-2009 02:30 AM

CPB, there’s also Parkerville right here in Manchester.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View poopiekat's profile


4423 posts in 4001 days

#9 posted 01-26-2009 03:06 AM

Very true about plywood at Home Depot…
Except, on my last trip to Home Depot to buy some 1/4 inch red oak, lo and behold, the third sheet down was the most awesome quarter-sawn sheet, wild rays and everything, and had a little crunch in one corner, about maybe 6 or 8 square inches. A clerk stopped and said, “Oh I knew somebody would want that one, it was loose on top of a bundle of birch, put there as dunnage for shipping”. So a sheet of beautiful quarter-sawn was mine for $28, it would have been $200 at the upscale plywood retailer in town.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4065 days

#10 posted 01-26-2009 03:17 AM

I get my ply from a local company. It is cheaper and better than the crap HD and Lowes sells.

-- making sawdust....

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3793 days

#11 posted 01-26-2009 03:30 AM

YES YES YES !!!!!!!!!!!! So much money and nothing but junk! Worthless !

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3980 days

#12 posted 01-26-2009 04:22 AM

this topic is getiting old we all know hd sells crappy stuff yet we all at some point in time have to stop in to get something, they are everywhere and sometimes i don’t have an extra 2 hours to pick up the good stuff. all i can say is good planning goes a long way.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4141 days

#13 posted 01-26-2009 07:39 AM

Wow, I looked at the Rockler prices – I should go into business selling pre-cut plywood! Betsy, I can beat their prices, just send me your order.

Look, I agree with the idea that you get what you pay for. Cheap ply is not going to be as good as more expensive ply. But a product should function as intended, at least for awhile. If you buy a dirt cheap import tool from the “truckload sale”, you still expect it to do the job for awhile. But the plywood in question often ceases to be usable as plywood before you get home.

I don’t know who is buying enough of this junk to make HD continue to stock it … I don’t know any construciton contractors who use birch ply, and I don’t know any cabinet guys who would use the HD stuff, even to catch the oil drips from their pickup. And obviously woodworkers have seen it for what it is. Maybe DIYers who don’t know better are buying it and just assuming that this is as good as it gets?

-- -- --

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 4173 days

#14 posted 01-26-2009 08:48 AM

I’ll remember your complaints and the instructions from responders here when looking for plywood at various outlets…

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Waldschrat's profile


505 posts in 3702 days

#15 posted 01-26-2009 03:35 PM

Bob2 is totally right! Price is not everything…. everybody wants cheap, and are willing to sacrifice the quality, it is happening here more and more as well. I call it the IKEA effect… look what they have done to the cabinet making industry (at least here, we can not hardly compete with price eventhough our quality is better).

Time is money, and probably spending a bit more time planning like already said and driving a little further, to keep the small guys in business would be worth the time… I mean, you do not have to drive so often,but have to buy more wood at once (which is not so bad), spend a TON less time looking through piles and piles of crooked boards and poor quality plywoods, not to mention, likely the the most important, keeping the small business in business. Is is important to know not just what you money buys but it I think it is important to know where the money is spent and to who it is going, (for example buy local, money generally stays local, buy not local… well you see what I mean).

Well, this is about cheap plywood, and I hope i did not get off track but this is a subject that is very close to my heart and feel strongly about, and it is good to get it out once in a while

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

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