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Forum topic by Andrew714 posted 02-19-2020 03:19 PM 1199 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Andrew714

62 posts in 1956 days


02-19-2020 03:19 PM

Hello,

I am familiar with baltic birch and try to use it whenever I can, for obvious reasons. However, I’m planning out a cabinet system to serve as a replacement base for my table saw, and so far, this will exceed $600 if I use baltic birch, so I’m hoping there’s a “next best” option out there that costs a bit less, but still doesn’t sacrifice too much on quality and appearance.

Here’s a few things I would be looking for:

- Fewer veneer layers is OK (still, the more the better)
- Thick face veneers is a must
- Smooth grain textures (aka- closer to cabinet grade than construction grade)
- Stable – I’m concerned with getting a flat sheet home, only to have it warp on me.

Thanks in advance for the help,

Andrew


40 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4525 posts in 2669 days


#1 posted 02-19-2020 03:32 PM

I have used Arauco plywood and like it.

View them700project's profile

them700project

235 posts in 1699 days


#2 posted 02-19-2020 03:33 PM

You could look to finding places to reduce thickness or size.
-eliminate back, bottom, and top of carcass by using stretchers.
-Are you using big box Baltic or supply house baltic? (5×5 or 4×8?) 4×8 gets you more for your money but lower quality
-MDF top?
- No base carcasses for now. Use 2x lumber and later add cabinets underneath. or just make osb/2x shelves

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Andre

3238 posts in 2486 days


#3 posted 02-19-2020 03:42 PM

Watch at the big box stores, I picked up some Birch Plywood (4’x8’) from Rona (Canadian H.D./Lowes) a few years back for $29.00 a sheet, hindsight should of taken it all:) Quality much better than expected. At the time regular price was $49.00 and now $79.00.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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LeeRoyMan

815 posts in 407 days


#4 posted 02-19-2020 03:51 PM


-Are you using big box Baltic or supply house baltic? (5×5 or 4×8?) 4×8 gets you more for your money but lower quality

- them700project


Just curious on why the quality would be lower?
I’ve never noticed a difference.

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Andrew714

62 posts in 1956 days


#5 posted 02-19-2020 04:04 PM



-Are you using big box Baltic or supply house baltic? (5×5 or 4×8?) 4×8 gets you more for your money but lower quality

- them700project

I have primarily used 4×8 sheets from Menards. To be honest, I almost feel like it’s better quality than the 5×5 sheets I’ve used. I think the stability is the same, but maybe a little less tear-out on the face veneers. The 4×8 sheets from Menards is about $70 for a 4×8 sheet, but they don’t stock it in the store (at least the one near me), so there’s an extra $20 special order fee, which makes it even more expensive unless you’re able to order a lot of them at once, which I can’t usually do.

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Rich

5367 posts in 1270 days


#6 posted 02-19-2020 05:04 PM


-Are you using big box Baltic or supply house baltic? (5×5 or 4×8?) 4×8 gets you more for your money but lower quality

- them700project

Just curious on why the quality would be lower?
I ve never noticed a difference.

- LeeRoyMan

You’ve never noticed a difference because there is none based simply on the dimensions. Premium plywood in 4×8 sheets is available from my local distributor.

Back to the OP, I’m curious why something like veneer thickness or layer count so important for shop cabinets?

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Andrew714

62 posts in 1956 days


#7 posted 02-19-2020 05:56 PM


Back to the OP, I m curious why something like veneer thickness or layer count so important for shop cabinets?

- Rich

Essentially, I want to make sure it’s stable and not going to warp on me, and as I understand it (I could be wrong), plywood with more layers ends up being more stable, hence why BB has so many layers. Also, I don’t want a thin veneer because every time I have used plywood with a thin veneer, it always seems like it is not glued on well, and splinters off like crazy whenever it is cut. I believe this has usually been plywood from home depot. In the end, I care more about how it performs and would be fine with fewer veneer layers and thinner face veneers if people have had good luck with that particular product.

Thanks much,

Andrew

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Rich

5367 posts in 1270 days


#8 posted 02-19-2020 06:12 PM

Makes sense, Andrew. I guess I haven’t had as many issues with plywood, even the inexpensive stuff I’ve bought at Home Depot for shop stands and the like. Perhaps the dry climate here helps.

I will stress again though that there is no inherent difference in quality between 5×5 and 4×8 products. I buy one or the other depending on the availability of specific features like I mentioned above, and also the yield for the project’s parts.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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maxyedor

38 posts in 1005 days


#9 posted 02-19-2020 06:14 PM

Do you have a real hardwood dealer near you? 4×8 sheets of 3/4” BB are $50ish at my dealer, and they have some other 5 or 6 ply stuff that’s a little cheaper still. if you’re looking at $600 at $70/sheet, is it safe to assume you need about 8 sheets? A good dealer would likely give you a bit of a discount on a bulk purchase like that.

Failing that, I think your best bet may be to rethink your design, maybe build a case out of poplar or red oak to create a nice square skeleton so you don’t have to worry about the flatness of the ply quite as much, and maybe some melamine for the top surface. I’ve never seen cheaper plywood that didn’t look like a banana.

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Andrew714

62 posts in 1956 days


#10 posted 02-19-2020 08:32 PM

For reference, this is what I am designing, based on a design a couple other people have posted here on LJ. As you can tell, it’s a fair amount larger and more complex than a couple simple cabinets, which certainly adds to the cost.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4525 posts in 2669 days


#11 posted 02-19-2020 09:29 PM

I like plywood from Menards as they store it flat rather than on the arms like Home Depot.

View YesHaveSome's profile

YesHaveSome

172 posts in 939 days


#12 posted 02-19-2020 09:35 PM

I have had really good luck with Purepond birch ply from Home Depot. It’s my go to for shop furniture. As long as it’s flat when I buy it I haven’t had a problem with warping. $53 per sheet.

-- But where does the meat go?

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CWWoodworking

668 posts in 859 days


#13 posted 02-19-2020 11:03 PM

IMO, plywood kinda is what it is. It’s not perfect, nor will it remain perfect.

I have used 100$ sheets and the HD stuff. There isn’t 50$ worth difference for me, especially for shop cabinets.

If flatness is critical, use a mdf top. Just make sure you brace it accordingly.

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John_

237 posts in 2386 days


#14 posted 02-20-2020 03:23 AM

My local hardwood dealer carries a product they call ‘Baltic Birch Import, 12mm, 9 ply’ grade is BB/BB and it comes in a 4×8 sheet for $35. (12mm = 0.472”)

If you are looking the $70 a sheet range for 3/4”, you should consider MDO. It looks great and working with it is easier than normal ply because the resin-impregnated layer on both sides really helps to reduce tear-out. I use it for all my paint grade projects, shop projects, etc. It doesn’t really take much in surface prep

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gsk3

13 posts in 48 days


#15 posted 02-20-2020 03:56 AM

My local lumber yard recommended their “paint grade” ply for shop furniture. 50-60 per 4×8. It’s good stuff, flat, cuts well. Not as nice as BB but plenty for shop furniture.

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