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What kind of plywood should I use for a stand alone pantry (in my garage)

6653 Views 58 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  BenoitM
I want to build this pantry in my garage:

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It's kind of big (7' x 48" x 24"). I may be wrong but 3/4" plywood seems to be the best choice.

I don't want to paint it, just a light finish. The question is what kind of plywood should I use? And where can I buy it? The plywood we can find at HD or similar stores does not look good enough to me. I found this: but it's expensive (70$ a sheet) and looks almost too nice for this kind of furniture.

Is there something in between?


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Yes, cabinet making sheets are expensive especially if you want both sides to be nice. But a lot cheaper than the real wood. You can make it out of AC plywood and may be go with 1/2" or 5/8". There are plenty of dividers and shelves that should hold it together. I will be very heavy if 3/4" was utilized.
Menards has 'tigerply'
WHich is basically Chinese Baltic Birch.

I would go for the real mcCoy Baltic Birch. it holds screws well, is dead flat, and can take a nice finish.
Looks like you will 4-5 sheets.
So if you go cheap on the ply you might save 70-80 bucks (maybe 15/sheet) but be stuck with the project - chinese ply has a history of delaminating..
Thanks for the advice! for sure 1/2" is a lot cheaper than 3/4". Could I use 5/8" for the box and 1/2" for the shelves and dividers?
Hmm. not for the 2' section selves unless you don't plan to put heavy stuff like gallon pint cans on it. It could ne done if you have enough bracing underneath; maybe 1×2's.
What kind of ply does your Home Depot carry? Mine carries US made Columbia Forest Products ply which is good stuff.
I would go with 3/4" for the majority of the build. The cubbies on the bottom could be 5/8 as well as the rails on the doors. This looks to be a permanent fixture, 3/4" is the standard for cabinets. This is a nice looking pantry dont cheap out on the construction materials.
jumbo is right. If you want it to be there forever, use the 3/4 but not on the little stuff.
This might help you with your choices:
My local lumber yard has what they call Varsity Birch. It is 3/4 and has more plies than the AC fir plywood we commonly see. It is a little hirer than AC but still reasonable. It doesn't have as many plies as the Baltic Birch has but it still a good product. I would look for something like this. It has a good outer surface and it will varnish out nicely.
Thanks a lot for all the useful advices! I'll see what I can find, worst case scenario I'll go with Baltic Birch.

I have another question though: would it be ok to use a 1/2" or even 1/4" panel for the back?

Yes, the backing mostly serves as a stabilizer. 1/2" should do just fine.
Here is project right up your alley. I made it with 3/4 cabinet grade oak ply. This is probably one of the most useful things in my shop.
Bought the wood today (Baltic birch after all), delivered tomorrow… Can't wait to start :)
Are you going with your original design?
More or less yes, I took mostly 3/4" except 1/2" for the back and 5/8" for the doors shelves and the wine rack.
I am sure you will be very happy with it, I know I am happy with mine. Tons of storage and not much shop fllor taken up. Be sure to post pictures.
I will
Looks like it'll last you quite a while given your chosen materials, personally I would have used 1/2" for all vertical surfaces (sides, doors, interior dividers) and 1/4" for the back. I would have used 3/4" for all horizontal surfaces as that's where you're going to need beam strength. The Baltic birch should serve you well, AC would have been probably been a little cheaper, but in my experience, just not as stable.
So I worked on this during the week end, and here's what I've done so far:

Wood Interior design Shade Floor Flooring

Now I have a bunch of questions:
  • What kind of finish should I use for a natural look? How many coat?
  • Should I finish the box now before mounting the wine rack and the shevles? It seems like a good idea cause it's going to be a lot easier, but I want to make sure I don't miss anything.

Now looking for help cause I can't move this big guy by myself :)

Thanks for your help!


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My preference is to dry fit everything, disassemble, finish, let it cure, assemble. Looks really good.
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