Plywood movement?

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Forum topic by IcemanSam posted 05-13-2008 07:44 PM 2661 views 2 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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19 posts in 4057 days

05-13-2008 07:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have been working on an assembly table and came across a problem. I bought some cheaper blondwood 3/4” ply and after cutting into 4”x35” strips it has started bowing down the length. The bow is not noticeable as a whole 4×8 sheet, but after cutting it is extremely bowed. Is this normal? I have never come across this issue before and was wondering how to stop this from happening.

-- Sam, Texas

27 replies so far

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4095 days

#1 posted 05-13-2008 07:55 PM

unfortunately, plywood tends to be worth what you pay for it.

Every time I try to save a buck and go with the lower price stuff, I end up losing.

-- making sawdust....

View khop's profile


134 posts in 3972 days

#2 posted 05-13-2008 08:21 PM

I ran into the same problem recently with cheep birch plywood. Besides bowing, I cut a piece 2’x3’ and when I layed it on the bench, I heard a loud crack. The plys separated almost all the way through. No doubt, you get what you pay for.

-- How am I doing? Better than I deserve. Dave Ramsey

View IcemanSam's profile


19 posts in 4057 days

#3 posted 05-13-2008 08:25 PM

Well, I can say I won’t be buying this plywood again.

-- Sam, Texas

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4041 days

#4 posted 05-13-2008 09:14 PM

Sam, if you’re going to be edging it with some solid stock, you should be able to get the bow out, or you may have to flip one over and face glue it to another one, so they counter-act each other, to get a straight piece.
I think almost all of the plywood is bowing now days. I bought some $80 a sheet ash plywood and it even gets a little bow to it when you cut it down.

View AWood's profile


52 posts in 4042 days

#5 posted 05-15-2008 04:16 AM

Gentlemen it seems I am reading a lot on plywood problems and quality. I can tell you from a friend of mine here in Canada, China is shipping a lot of it here to North America. I had always thought that we had the trees and species of maple, birch and oak to make it but apparently the China has got mills to produce it My buddy has had a lumber yard for 25 years and he is now seeing the difference. Many of the plys have void spaces; small warps and uneven layering. When I buy my plywood I’ll check the side for a stamped “Made in Canada”

-- AllWood

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4287 days

#6 posted 05-15-2008 08:37 AM

Sorry ‘bout your loss bro! Try and return it. I was able to get my money back. But at the advice of Awood (above), I too check to see where it’s from for now on. I won’t buy that Chinese plywood again.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Slacker's profile


178 posts in 3997 days

#7 posted 05-15-2008 07:40 PM

Here’s the result of cutting some pins into Home Depot plywood… the piece was scored with a knife at the depth of the pin to avoid tearout.

I have been noticing that there are many voids in the plywood that I get from Home Depot, and they even have overlaps in the plys. This is not what they showed in How its made when they had the episode on plywood. I can just see them chinese folks, laughing all the way to the bank at the fools over here who will pay overprice for any piece of panda doo.

I am not real fond of globalization… from what I have seen, its where the US gives everything up so that they can take our industries, make things with poor quality, and sell them back to us.

-- Adapt, improvise, overcome

View IcemanSam's profile


19 posts in 4057 days

#8 posted 05-15-2008 07:47 PM

I am going to attaempt to take the sheets back to Lowes this weekend. Cross your fingers for me. I think I will be better off spending the extra money and drive to the Fine Lumber and Plywood and paying a little more for the quality. Thanks for all your advice and concerns.

-- Sam, Texas

View Slacker's profile


178 posts in 3997 days

#9 posted 05-20-2008 03:29 AM

Last week I wrote Home Depot customer service expressing my dissatisfaction with their lumber. I got a $25 gift card for my trouble. I think someone else also got a gift certificate for complaining for something at Home Depot.

How many $25 gift certificates will it take them before they actually pay attention? Anyone care to find out? You know what you need to do… go to homedepot dot com, find customer service at the bottom of the page, and follow the links.

-- Adapt, improvise, overcome

View herg1's profile


42 posts in 4009 days

#10 posted 05-21-2008 02:24 PM

A couple of months ago I wrote to HD and told them of observing one of their Department Managers slamming two different dollies into a stack of plywood. I confronted the individual and told him I now knew why the edges were damaged. He just giggled and said OH.

HD Customer Service called me and said they were going to send a gift card for my trouble and I’m still waiting. I agree with all of you that the products we now get are of very poor quality and way over priced.

-- Roger1

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 4185 days

#11 posted 05-21-2008 04:10 PM

A bit disconcerting to me is that I ended up with two half sheets of birch ply that came off the truck when the cabinet shop delivered our cabinets. They left it, so I dutifully stored them for future use. I finally decided to build a cabinet stand for my bench saw. Turned out the ply had voids, even from a cabinet shop! Not sure what it says about the ply used for our cabinets. They look good, but!


View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 4137 days

#12 posted 05-21-2008 04:31 PM

The worst part of this is that they take our raw logs from here and send them to China. They turn them into plywood and senf it back here to sell. The labor is so cheap over in China they still make money.
I was told that they don’t dry the veneer properly before laminating it and that is one of the major problems that is causing the warping and delamination. Plus they dont have the quality controls.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View benhasajeep's profile


30 posts in 3966 days

#13 posted 05-21-2008 05:06 PM

The logs don’t even go across the ocean. They have ships sitting off shore outside our territorial waters. They get the logs, mill on the ship and send it right back to us. Its a huge slap in the face of our country and skirting around our minimum wage laws. Thing is how long have the workers been on those ships??

-- Ben, Living the good life in Maine now (almost, just need to retire in 2 decades time)

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4190 days

#14 posted 05-21-2008 05:38 PM

In 30 years in this trade, I have yet to see plywood that is without “voids” that “doesnt warp”, “twist” “curl”. I just got about 12 sheets of 3/4 and 5 sheets of 1/2” maple veneered plywood ” made in Canada, bought from a “reputable” wholesaler…..........voids and maybe not as warped as that which you buy from the big box stores, but all the same it sure isnt as flat as still water.

I used the “real baltic birch” for some drawers and used the blum motion guides. Frustration mounted because some drawers worked perfect while others didnt. Using a caliper I found that the thickness of the “good stuff varied by up to 2 mm…..........which caused the problems.

Thus the beauty of MDF, particle board, and solid wood.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4041 days

#15 posted 05-21-2008 06:38 PM

I have a friend in the lumber business that told me the same thing that Ben mentioned. Another reason they do the manufacturing off shore is they don’t have to worry about environment issues. Just dump everything over the side, the fish can go somewhere else to live.

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