3/4" oak plywood vs. 3/4" ACX playwood for entertainment center project

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Forum topic by mueagles09 posted 10-02-2015 08:57 AM 5470 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2424 days

10-02-2015 08:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: entertainment center plywood acx

I’m planning to build an entertainment soon because I can’t seem to find a decent one to buy that fits my needs. I’m getting a little bit hung on on what material to use, though. I’ve reviewed a few plans and talked to a few friends who have built some basic furniture like bookshelves and entertainment centers, and the typical suggestion seems to be oak plywood. After going to a few local big box stores, I’ve been pretty disappointed with most of the oak plywood options, but I found a nice looking ACX.

Has anyone built any furniture out of the ACX to be able to compare to the oak? It seems like the ACX is getting better product reviews online, but I tend to not trust those very much.

12 replies so far

View TraylorPark's profile


213 posts in 3054 days

#1 posted 10-02-2015 11:58 AM

I would say if you like the look than give it a shot. I haven’t used ACX for any furniture builds, but I have used some leftover pieces in shop projects and it works just as well as any other ply that I have used.

-- --Zach

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2880 days

#2 posted 10-02-2015 01:14 PM

Here is article on Birch Plywood. Lots of good information on how plywood in general is graded\Qualty.

Hope this helps. Forget the big box stores. Find a decent lumber yard in your area and develop a relationship with them. They prefer commercial clients so your small order should be accompanied by donuts and a thermos of coffee. Making friends helps.

Birch Plywood and grading

-- Brad, Texas,

View Earlextech's profile


1164 posts in 4146 days

#3 posted 10-02-2015 01:38 PM

ACX has a better chance of cupping. It’s not meant for “fine” furniture. For shop projects its great. Timbertailor is right, find a lumberyard, you’ll get better materials. Pay the price, you get what you pay for.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View splintergroup's profile


6939 posts in 2678 days

#4 posted 10-02-2015 02:11 PM

Around my area the options for 3/4 Oak ply are limited to rotary cut (which has the horrendous looking grain). 1/4” is available with many options, including rift sawn which looks great.

You might consider using standard 1/2” plywood for the carcass and layering a thinner piece of Oak over it if you can’t find anything acceptable.

Do look up “hardwood dealers” in your area as good hardwood veneer plywood is a specialty item.

View mueagles09's profile


3 posts in 2424 days

#5 posted 10-02-2015 02:38 PM

I’ve been looking at the big box stores mostly because I’m only planning on buying one 4×8 sheet and a few trim pieces for the whole project. Will I still be able to buy from a lumberyard if I’m not buying in larger quantities?

View tomsteve's profile


1195 posts in 2675 days

#6 posted 10-02-2015 03:01 PM

dont think ive gone to an jndependant lumberyard that had a minimum quantity for purchase.
theyd prolly even deliver one sheet of ply for a price.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5674 days

#7 posted 10-02-2015 03:15 PM

I suppose availability and price varies depending on what part of the country you live in, but here in southern Louisiana the big box stores usually carry pine (ACX), oak, and birch plywood. Price-wise, birch is in the middle, and is FAR superior to the pine both in flatness and smoothness. In my experience, the pine just can’t be sanded smooth enough. I also find the grain of the birch very appealing if you intend to stain, but that’s just a personal preference.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2941 days

#8 posted 10-02-2015 03:16 PM

1 sheet one borax. As long as it’s not wholesale I believe.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View AandCstyle's profile


3306 posts in 3713 days

#9 posted 10-03-2015 12:33 AM

Contact a local cabinet shop to either purchase your needs or get referred to their source. ACX is likely to have voids where you don’t want them and you won’t know that until after you make the cut. You might be able to find particle board with a good wood veneer for less than good ply.

-- Art

View BurlyBob's profile


10447 posts in 3721 days

#10 posted 10-03-2015 02:34 AM

Honestly, you need to do some more looking around for plywood. The big box stores don’t impress me with what they call oak plywood. Where are you located? I’ve got 2 small building material outfits near me and I can really decent oak plywood. The price is high but I’m located in a rural area. I’ve done several projects with oak and ac plywood. There is nothing to compare with the look of oak. I stain mine with watco med walnut and use a gloss polyurethane. It ends up with an aged look that I much prefer.

View JimRochester's profile


578 posts in 3070 days

#11 posted 10-03-2015 01:48 PM

Even if you have to drive, find a hardwood retailer and get some better stuff. Most of the big box stuff around here is only good on one side. You’ll want two sided. If you are concerned about the grain maybe go with a maple or cherry? One of my earliest projects was a maple entertainment center from Woodcraft magazine. Fun and challenging project for a beginner. Good luck. Make sure you post pictures when you’re done.

-- Schooled in the advanced art of sawdust and woodchip manufacturing.

View mueagles09's profile


3 posts in 2424 days

#12 posted 10-05-2015 03:22 PM

Thanks for all the input. I called a few local lumber yards, and found a couple of places that sound like good options.

I’m still a little up in the air about which material I’ll go with, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about birch and ACX. A contractor friend of mine said he’s used ACX on cabinets several times, so I think I’m leaning that way right now. I’ll have to compare the look of the ACX and birch at in person before I can make a decision.

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