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Russian birch Plywood

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Forum topic by CWWoodworking posted 09-16-2020 12:01 AM 446 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CWWoodworking

1004 posts in 1026 days


09-16-2020 12:01 AM

Thinking of using this for production drawer box blanks. Salesman made it sound like it’s a good product. I just have never used it. Wanted to get everyone’s opinion on it.

I am hoping it sands better/faster than the AC plywood I’m currently using.

Processing with a vertical panel saw, grooving on table saw, have a drum sander if needed.


15 replies so far

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torus

485 posts in 1261 days


#1 posted 09-16-2020 02:11 AM

Quote: Baltic Birch is not a specific species of birch, but is a general designation of plywood from Russia, Finland, and nearby Baltic states. As with any natural wood product, quality can be variable. However, Baltic Birch plywood is generally regarded as being of higher quality than standard birch plywood.

From here: https://www.wood-database.com/baltic-birch/

-- "It's getting better..." - put this on my RIP stone!

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

6241 posts in 1422 days


#2 posted 09-16-2020 03:57 AM

CW, you are talking about Birch lumber? Or plywood? Usually we see it, and talk about it in plywood.

If it is plywood, see above.

If it is lumber see here. Saying birch is kinda like saying:

Maple

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-finder/?fwp_name=M

Ash

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-finder/?fwp_name=A

Gum

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-finder/?fwp_name=G

As you will see following those links, there isn’t just the one. Sometimes the differences are a little similar, sometimes miles apart.

You really want to know genus, and species, because, especially around wood seller doods, sometimes an Oak really isn’t. Folks, primarily wood sellers just call it an Oak. Perhaps the most confused bunch of misrepresents on earth. They have been known to rename a common wood, just because it sells better as something else. Flooring, and cabinet wood sellers are the worst. Not because of their product, but their customer. Tell a guy it’s Quagmire Oak, and he goes hmmmm, never heard of that. Tell a housewife looking a kitchen cabinets, and even at 1/3 price, shes not having a Quagmire in her kitchie…....

-- Think safe, be safe

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Rich

5865 posts in 1437 days


#3 posted 09-16-2020 03:59 AM


CW, you are talking about Birch lumber? Or plywood? Usually we see it, and talk about it in plywood.

- therealSteveN

I wondered about that myself.

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

View david2011's profile

david2011

77 posts in 4555 days


#4 posted 09-16-2020 04:34 AM

He’s talking about it as an alternative to AC plywood so he is probably talking about Baltic birch ply. Only a guess, but based on the fact that he has been using ply.

-- David

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CWWoodworking

1004 posts in 1026 days


#5 posted 09-16-2020 10:17 AM

Plywood. Sorry

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Woodmaster1

1546 posts in 3435 days


#6 posted 09-16-2020 10:39 AM

Russian Birch or Baltic Birch plywood is an excellent choice for drawers. It has more plys than standard plywood and is very stable. I am lucky enough that a local lumber supplier makes drawer stock out of 5/8” soft maple with the dado for the drawer bottom with rounded top edge.

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GaryCK

96 posts in 897 days


#7 posted 09-16-2020 12:26 PM

Baltic birch plywood is generally very good quality plywood. Go easy on the sanding with it, though. The veneer layer isn’t thick and is easy to sand through if you get too aggressive. I would suggest not putting it through your drum sander. I generally just give it a quick once-over with a palm sander and 220 grit paper. It smooths up quickly and quite nicely.

-- Gary, Wisconsin

View pottz's profile

pottz

11215 posts in 1832 days


#8 posted 09-16-2020 02:13 PM



Baltic birch plywood is generally very good quality plywood. Go easy on the sanding with it, though. The veneer layer isn t thick and is easy to sand through if you get too aggressive. I would suggest not putting it through your drum sander. I generally just give it a quick once-over with a palm sander and 220 grit paper. It smooths up quickly and quite nicely.

- GaryCK


+1

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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CaptainKlutz

3586 posts in 2342 days


#9 posted 09-16-2020 10:04 PM

– GaryCK
+1

Watch the grading closely. I prefer B/BB only. The C grades tend to have very rustic look.

Just make sure you are getting real Baltic birch made in Baltic countries.
Local supplier(s) offers ‘baltic’ Birch Plywood in 4×8 sheets extra cheap. It is made in China, not Baltic countries; if you read the side markings. The veneer splinters instantly and sticks in your skin if you walk beside the pile. Don’t even have to touch it. Cutting it with 96TPI plywood blade and still looks like my dog chewed the edge. Cheap stuff is Ok for shop cabinets and not much more.

Cheers!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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AlaskaGuy

5984 posts in 3157 days


#10 posted 09-17-2020 02:41 AM

View Jeff's profile (online now)

Jeff

126 posts in 233 days


#11 posted 09-17-2020 04:43 AM

Excellent product for drawer boxes.

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

1004 posts in 1026 days


#12 posted 09-17-2020 10:58 AM

Thanks guys, gonna sample some next week.

This is an odd question, but how does it paint? I have a home decor product that it might work for as well.

View Robert's profile

Robert

3932 posts in 2328 days


#13 posted 09-17-2020 11:17 AM

I’ve used it seems good to me. My supplier sells different grades.

Paints fine.

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

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1885 posts in 3164 days


#14 posted 09-17-2020 05:08 PM

Baltic birch plywood consists of many plies of birch of equal thickness. 18mm (3/4”) has 13 plies compared to 7 plies for most domestic hardwood plywood. The extra plies of baltic birch makes it more stable than cheap plywood but it does warp more than a quality cabinet-grade hardwood if it’s not kept flat. The top sheet in a stack will often warp while the lower sheets usually stay flat.

Quality varies from batch to batch. Sometimes the wood is splintery, sometimes it’s not. Sharp cutters, zero-clearance inserts and plywood blades will help when you get a splintery batch.

Sometimes the veneer has chips and checks on the surface. The outer ply is thick enough to permit heavy sanding so most defects can be removed.

Thickness varies from batch to batch so plan for that in your production setup. 12mm (1/2”) ranges from .465”-.495”. We buy a full unit at a time and find that the thickness within a batch is consistent (typically plus/minus .005”). Whenever we get a new batch we measure several sheets and adjust settings for dados, etc. as needed.

The birch takes paint fine. Vinyl sealer works well on edges to seal them so the end grain won’t show through opaque finishes.

We use baltic birch for budget drawer boxes but prefer hard maple boxes for high-end work.

-- See my work at http://altaredesign.com

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

6241 posts in 1422 days


#15 posted 09-18-2020 03:56 AM

CW Not sure of your price point, or if the seller in question has 5’ x 5’ or 4’ x 8’ sheets. Using the 4×8 on cabinets will end up netting you more parts per sheet, than the 5×5 stuff.

I’ve been going through Menards for my 4×8 sheets, they are usually special order, because the 2 or 3 sheets they have in store are junk after every passerby pulling them, dropping them, whatever. $62.30 a sheet.

https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/panel-products/hardwood-panels/4-x-8-baltic-birch-plywood/1253102/p-1444441907409.htm

On the very rare times I’m out, and need it right now. I’ll run over and see Chad Muterspaw. He has the 5×5’s and in 3/4” He’s at $58.25 on single sheets, less in quantities.

https://crlumber.com/price-list/

Both are B/BB which is today’s top grade. All I know is there are NO footballs on either the face, or back. Grading standard here.

The advertising plug piece, and a bit of explanation. Likely what the sales person said to you.

Prices vary widely, and as suggest check to make sure it’s really BB plywood. From experience I’ve not see Lowes play the fraud game, but I sure have seen Chinese junk at Home Cheapo marked as Baltic Birch ply, when at best it was some Asian junk they call Birch. I’ve also heard of this at other places online. I would think toward Indy they have several sellers who carry BB Ply.

-- Think safe, be safe

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