Phenolic Plywood I've checked it out

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Blog entry by Karson posted 09-24-2008 05:04 AM 34851 reads 3 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Two hundred and 43 days ago MSKI posted a blog on Phenolic Plywood He had found some interesting stuff on the web that had 4 X 8 sheets of Phenolic Plywood for $51.00 a sheet. The stuff at Woodcraft is 65.00 for a 2 X 4’ size.

I thought I’d check it out. I used the WhiteCap Industries web site.

This past summer my wife was flying to see her mother and she was leaving from the Baltimore Airport. Whitecap Industries has a store about 15 miles from the airport. So I went prepared. I took a battery operated skill saw and a straight edge.

Set the GPS up and drove right to the place. The warehouse was about 3 blocks big, down in a area where you could buy 3 blocks cheap. I went to the front desk and asked them where the stuff was stored.

It was in the warehouse , one block south. They said that they had about 2000 sheets of the stuff. It is used to make cement forms when they pour cement and it wont stick to the plywood.

The plywood is 3/4” and has 13 plys of wood, almost like Baltic Birch. I went to the warehouse and all of the inventory was stacked to the ceiling except for some sheets that were laying on a small pile. There were some edge damage and corner damage on a few of the sheets.

So I went back to the cashier and asked if they would sell the damaged sheets for a reduced price. (I mean I don’t need a 4X8 sheet for one jig) He quoted a price of $31.00 a sheet and he said for that price i might as well take the good stuff. Why take the damaged ones.

So I told him I’d take three sheets, I went back and started to cut up the sheets to fit in my wife’s van. Some were cut with a 2’ slice off the end (2 sheets) and some were cut at 32” slices (3 piece cut (2 sheets).

I went back and paid for my order, of the four sheets that I took.

I gave Lee Jesberger a 32” slice (I don’t think he’s done anything with it yet) and I’ve made 2 jigs, both for the router. A edge to stand up on my router table so that I can cut route with the board standing on edge.

One for a trim bit the cut flush for the edging on a board The other was for a drawer lock router bit.

The stuff works great. and is stable. And I only have 2 1/2 sheets left. (Sold one sheet to a friend)

It is worth the money.

I used a bolt to attach it to the incra fence.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

28 comments so far

View CraftsmanCollective's profile


46 posts in 4361 days

#1 posted 09-24-2008 05:25 AM

I love this stuff but I have a hard time finding it out West. I called WhiteCap and they told me they buy it from us but we dont stock it and I cant find a distributor that has it. I had to pay $55 for a 2×4 at Rockler. OUCH

-- Robby Myer, Walnut Creek, CA

View Karson's profile


35224 posts in 5200 days

#2 posted 09-24-2008 05:28 AM

I called the Baltimore store and they didn’t carry it but the Washington DC store did. They were very helpful to point me to the warehouse that had it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Richard Williams's profile

Richard Williams

164 posts in 4592 days

#3 posted 09-24-2008 06:57 AM

Amazing stuff.

-- Rich, Nevada,

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4061 posts in 4863 days

#4 posted 09-24-2008 06:58 AM

Found a WhiteCap two blocks from an Intermountain Wood Products warehouse in Omaha. Hog heaven. I hope they stock it, I’m dying to give it a go.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5099 days

#5 posted 09-24-2008 01:08 PM

I bet I won’t see any of this material in my area for another 10 years, but I’ll check around.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5046 days

#6 posted 09-24-2008 07:59 PM

What a steal Karson. They don’t have anything like that around here.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Critterman's profile


601 posts in 4609 days

#7 posted 09-24-2008 10:25 PM

We actually have two here, why two I don’t know, but when I get a chance I’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip

-- Jim Hallada, Chesterfield, VA

View mski's profile


442 posts in 4780 days

#8 posted 09-24-2008 11:02 PM

Thanks Karson,
243 days!!! seemed like yesterday, I’m getting old.
I knew someone would try it.
I just built 3 jigs out of odds and ends China Ply laying around, might just have to go get some, I was worried about it not being straight and having alot of voids because it was made for concrete forms and not pemanent structure.
Thanks for the Blog and for the one to try it!


View Karson's profile


35224 posts in 5200 days

#9 posted 09-25-2008 12:04 AM

In all of the cuts that I’ve made, I’ve not noticed any voids.

I will state the the Phenolic layer looks like it’s thin, possibility thinner that the stuff at Rockler and Woodcraft. But then I don’t have any of the Rockler or Woodcraft stuff at home.

You can see the ripples of the surface of the underlying ply. The surface is smooth, but probably not smooth like a sheet of glass. When I slid a router bit through the surface from the back, I didn’t experience any chip out but at one time when readjusting the fence the edge of the router bit was closer to one side and when i turned on the router a small chip of phenolic chipped off.

It’s not like it’s super fragile, but some of the damage that I noticed at the warehouse were chips on the sides and corners.

If you are looking for a smooth surface that you can put a little wax on to make it real slippery then this is the stuff and you can’t beat the price.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View hasbeen99's profile


183 posts in 4338 days

#10 posted 09-25-2008 12:43 AM

Thanks for posting this. I’m intrigued. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some reasonably priced here in Central California before too awful long.

-- "The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself in love." --Galatians 5:6

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6869 posts in 4779 days

#11 posted 09-26-2008 03:11 PM

Hi Karson;


I’ll get to it. I swear.

Again thanks for the piece, I do have a few ideas floating around in my mind.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View ptrace's profile


1 post in 4224 days

#12 posted 01-09-2009 07:10 AM

I’ve found the Whitecap stuff to be much inferior to the real Baltic Birch Colorfin phenolic ply. The Whitcap stuff is not birch, has a very thin phenolic impregnated paper face and is not truly smooth. The Colorfin ( stuff is glass smooth (great for jigs) and thick phenolic faces. It’s what Rockler sells in 2×4 sheets. You get what you pay for.

View yowzor's profile


2 posts in 3896 days

#13 posted 12-03-2009 11:24 AM

i bought the sheets before and made a table, it’s nice material. Try anderson plywood they have a several colors to choose from. The phenolic plywood looks like apple finnish ply with a fancy colored look. If i am not mistaken it was originally use for forming concrete and was very cheap. Then some creative architect in Venice came up with the idea of using it in interiors and the material caught on and the price shot up. Anyhow here is a link for the phenolic

View Lee Imbimbo's profile

Lee Imbimbo

69 posts in 3871 days

#14 posted 02-05-2010 05:59 AM

I have been looking all over the place for this stuff. I finally saved up enough money and got my Incra LS Positioner, and I’m ready to start making my Router Table. But I really wanted to make the top of the Router Table out of this stuff. I can always fall back on the melamine clad top, but the Phenolic would look so much cooler.

Does anyone know of any stores in San Antonio, Texas that sell this stuff. From my brief time on this forum it would appear that the majority of the posters are from up north.

Any thoughts?

View a1Jim's profile


118079 posts in 4376 days

#15 posted 02-05-2010 07:53 AM

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