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Forum topic by austin350s10 posted 04-03-2018 01:35 PM 821 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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austin350s10

12 posts in 932 days


04-03-2018 01:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip

I’m about to start my first kitchen project, after practicing on a vanity and closet first. For my vanity, I ended up using Chinese prefinished plywood. I liked it because I didn’t really want to finish the insides of my cases. However, as you can guess the quality is very poor. None of the sheets were super straight, and chip out was a big problem.

For my closet I used 23/32 Russian birch. I freaking love this stuff, because it cuts like a dream and is straight as a arrow! Also, since I painted my closet white I didn’t really care about it being prefinished.

Now, I’m about to tackle my kitchen carcasses. I’m looking for a superior product that is prefinished. I don’t know why but, I have my heart set on a very light to slightly yellowish maple color. Obviously, I’ll never use Chinese plywood again. Additionally, the Russian birch is out of the picture because, it’s not prefinished.

The more and more I get into woodworking the more I hear people talking about using plywood with MDF cores, or laminate faces instead of veneer (melamine). Then, I start researching the different types of plywood available and my head starts to spin!

I’ve never used anything other than the products I’ve already mentioned here and the junk available from the big box stores. Given the expense of carcass material for a whole kitchen, I want to do it once and do it with the best product currently available.

I’m hoping I can get some advise on what product to use, the name of a good supplier, and any noteworthy tips I could use when it comes to milling the product. I live in lower Michigan and my budget per 4×8 sheet is around $90 if that helps…


17 replies so far

View 01ntrain's profile

01ntrain

259 posts in 1490 days


#1 posted 04-03-2018 02:23 PM

Not really familiar with a “pre-finished” plywood. Not exactly sure if you can find it out there, except through a wholesaler. Cabinet shops have a finishing department, they don’t order in a “pre-finished” sheet of plywood and build their carcass.

Since your budget is pretty high, I would order in Baltic Birch plywood. It normally comes in 3×5 size, in typical thicknesses (1/2, 5/8, 3/4, etc.) but it can be special-ordered in larger sizes. I might check with a local cabinet shop or lumber wholesaler to see what’s available.

If you decide to go with a laminate such as melamine or similar. I would use a combination of Conformat screws (google it) and joinery to reduce chip-out and to make sure that the carcasses are strong. You didn’t mention what kind of tools that you’re using, but I use a track-saw to break down my sheet goods and a table saw with a good plywood finishing blade to cut to dimensional sizes. With that combo, I can reduce the chipout and waste even while using the cheaper plywoods.

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RobHannon

276 posts in 950 days


#2 posted 04-03-2018 02:30 PM

You should be able to order pre-finished baltic birch if that is the direction you want, but good chance it will run around the top end of your budget unless you are ordering a lot.

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dad2jj82

41 posts in 2034 days


#3 posted 04-03-2018 02:38 PM

I’m not sure where at in lower Michigan you live? However Johnson’s Workbench in Charlotte sells nicer grades of plywood. They should be able to help you out. They have a list online that you can get a general idea of pricing. It’s a cool store.

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HerbC

1801 posts in 3279 days


#4 posted 04-03-2018 02:46 PM

01ntrain, many cabinet shops can get and do use prefinished cabinet grade plywood to make the boxes of their cabinets. The finish applied by the manufacturer is even better (more uniform and durable) that that which would be applied by the shop in their finishing rooms. It’s not cheap, but is reasonable considering the quality and the labor savings. I’m currently in process of building kitchen cabinets to remodel our kitchen and am ordering the plywood through a local cabinet shop. The cost to me will be just a little over $60 (US) per sheet of 3/4” birch, prefinished on both sides. 1/4” for backs and drawer bottoms will run just under $30 per sheet…

OP, good luck with your build. You might want to call around to the local cabinet shops in your area to see if one of them will assist you in procurement…

Good Luck!

Be Careful!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View DS's profile

DS

3197 posts in 2840 days


#5 posted 04-03-2018 02:59 PM

We use Thermofused Melamine almost exclusively in our high-end products. TFM is very low maintenance, water resistant and durable and is available in hundreds of prints and finishes.

As for the core itself, straight up Particle Board core is acceptable, but if you are opposed to that, (as some are), a Classic Core plywood, that has the center with lumber plies and the outermost plies are mdf plies, is a very stable and flat/true product and holds screws tight and strong.

And while there are many good prefinished plywood products out there, the typical A grade veneers actually look fake when used in case goods. If you go this route, a B or C grade plywood, which is usually less expensive, actually looks preferable in my opinion.

I would still go with a classic core, even with prefinished veneers.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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Robert

3436 posts in 1900 days


#6 posted 04-03-2018 03:46 PM

No matter what you use, get your materials from a commercial supplier. Personally, I try to get people to go with melamine like DS described. Its a high quality commercial product with particle board core. The stuff at HD is junk.

I’ve also used a plywood core product called Panolam but its more expensive and I don’t think the difference is worth it.

Lots of guys won’t use it but I’ve never had an issue with it even under sink units. The white interior brightens up the inside of a cab, plus its very easy to clean. People like that.

I pretty much go with frameless 32mm system type assembly. Use Confirmat screws and you need a blade specifically for double side melamine.

Edge band to match the face frames.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5316 posts in 2728 days


#7 posted 04-03-2018 03:52 PM

What does High end mean?

Most any 3/4 Canadian or American made prefinished Maple or Birch plywood will make you a good cabinet box. Russian birch 5×5 sheet are a pain in the ass to handle until you first cut is made. That or I have short arms and the don’t fit in my truck very well either. Just not worth it to me.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View PPK's profile

PPK

1433 posts in 1229 days


#8 posted 04-03-2018 04:05 PM

I second what DS said. I personally like the “composite” sheets that have a couple layers of MDF right under the finish laminates, and then a plywood core. It’s the best of both worlds. At Menards they call if Procore, other local lumber stores call it different names, but it’s exactly what DS shows in his picture.

I really don’t like solid MDF core panels. Too dusty and heavy, and don’t hold fasteners well. The dust is just nasty too.

On the other hand, solid ply core panels tend to be harder to finish with a darker stain, because the surface under the final laminate can tend to be a little uneven due to the wood grain. I know this all from unfortunate experience!

-- Pete

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austin350s10

12 posts in 932 days


#9 posted 04-03-2018 05:32 PM


We use Thermofused Melamine almost exclusively in our high-end products. TFM is very low maintenance, water resistant and durable and is available in hundreds of prints and finishes.

As for the core itself, straight up Particle Board core is acceptable, but if you are opposed to that, (as some are), a Classic Core plywood, that has the center with lumber plies and the outermost plies are mdf plies, is a very stable and flat/true product and holds screws tight and strong.

And while there are many good prefinished plywood products out there, the typical A grade veneers actually look fake when used in case goods. If you go this route, a B or C grade plywood, which is usually less expensive, actually looks preferable in my opinion.

I would still go with a classic core, even with prefinished veneers.

- DS

DS you said to go with Classic Core, which I feel would work better anyway. Are you sill able to use regular pocket hole screws with the Classic Core TFM? I build my cases with biscuits and pocket hole screws. Also, I’d imagine I’d have to use a special type of blade to cut TFM, correct?

View DS's profile

DS

3197 posts in 2840 days


#10 posted 04-03-2018 06:02 PM

Yes, Classic Core has all the fastening advantages of plywood with all the fit and finish of mdf.

If you truly are looking for “High End”, this is the stuff – regardless if you use melamine or pre-finished veneer surfaces.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View jonah's profile

jonah

2075 posts in 3718 days


#11 posted 04-03-2018 06:11 PM

If you don’t go the TFM route, go with prefinished maple or birch plywood. I would never build a cabinet out of a material that isn’t prefinished. It’s incredibly convenient and fast, and you only pay like ~20% more for the prefinished stuff over regular birch plywood.

View austin350s10's profile

austin350s10

12 posts in 932 days


#12 posted 04-03-2018 07:07 PM



Yes, Classic Core has all to fastening advantages of plywood with all the fit and finish of mdf.

If you truly are looking for “High End”, this is the stuff – regardless if you use melamine or pre-finished veneer surfaces.

- DS

DS There’s a place very close to me that sells the Panolam products you mentioned. I’m going to stop by and check them out soon. Regarding pre-finished veneer surfaces, do you have any vendors you’d suggest checking out?

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DS

3197 posts in 2840 days


#13 posted 04-03-2018 07:42 PM

The only pre-finished I’ve really used is made by States Industries.
They have several very nice products.

Certainly, though, there are several vendors that make/sell this type of product.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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DS

3197 posts in 2840 days


#14 posted 04-03-2018 07:44 PM

... edit – double post … sorry

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

5780 posts in 2140 days


#15 posted 04-03-2018 08:51 PM

3/4” CDX

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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