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Forum topic by moke posted 12-28-2013 06:16 PM 3151 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1690 posts in 3788 days

12-28-2013 06:16 PM

I am sure this topic has been brought up before, but I have never seen it, so I’m going to ask.
I have not used plywood a lot, especially lately, but for the prolific cabinet makers here, what do you use for plywood? I have recently made several projects using plywood form a local menards. The veneer on top is literally as thick as 5 or 6 sheets of typing paper, I am afraid to sand it, much less use a ROS. It is 50+ dollars per sheet. I work with a blanket on my bench so it doesn’t get scratched and treat it like egg shells.

Can some one please tell me what they do? Is lumberyard plywood any better?
Thanks in advance for any advice.

-- Mike

12 replies so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4320 days

#1 posted 12-28-2013 06:30 PM

I am not a cabinetmaker but Baltic Birch plywood is what I use when I need plywood. It is the most stable and has virtually no voids. It will have more ply’s than the standard everyday plywood and comes in 5×5 sheets … usually not found at the BigBox stores…I get it at the lumberyard

View BJODay's profile


528 posts in 2955 days

#2 posted 12-28-2013 06:33 PM

There is a local plywood retailer here in Milwaukee. They sell much better grades than are found in big box stores. I have used Menards and Home Depot. It is really hit and miss. Sometimes they have good ply in stock, but usually it is bottom dollar.


View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 4286 days

#3 posted 12-28-2013 06:43 PM

The only time I use plywood is on a painted project so it if gets scratched or dinged, I can fill it before painting. Other than that, if a customer wants oak, walnut, cherry, maple, etc. it’s frame and panel construction with no plywood. If they don’t like that, I thank them for the opportunity and say thanks but no thanks. 9 times out of 10 they go for the solid wood.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View BArnold's profile


175 posts in 2845 days

#4 posted 12-28-2013 06:50 PM

For cabinetry to go in the house (bedroom, family room, etc.), I’ve used maple or birch plywood from a lumber yard for better quality. Some people don’t care for it, but I’ve used quite a bit of SandePly from Home Depot to save on shop cabinets and drawers for some house projects.

-- Bill, Thomasville, GA

View Bobsboxes's profile


1555 posts in 3676 days

#5 posted 12-28-2013 07:11 PM

I use Baltic birch, 5’x5’ sheets, 1/8” thur 3/4”. I use it for all of my cabinet cases, every time I try to use cheaper ply, I always wish I didn’t. Good hardwood places also usually carry all types of good grade ply. I keep a couple of sheets of cabinet grade birch and maple around.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 4490 days

#6 posted 12-28-2013 07:17 PM

I typically use Columbia Forest PureBond plywood and have good results with it. I have found Columbia birch at the BORG and you can do special orders thru them although I get mine from another local distributor.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3260 days

#7 posted 12-28-2013 07:24 PM

+1 Colombia forest PureBond. I get he stuff with the MDF core.


View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30599 posts in 3350 days

#8 posted 12-28-2013 08:37 PM

I use Baltic Birch plywood that I actually get at Menards.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View John's profile


190 posts in 4595 days

#9 posted 12-29-2013 10:56 PM

My commercial supplier carries plywood made in Canada. I prefer the Columbia Forest Products brand to the Canadian product.. My local HD carries it in several species – right now they have 3/4” C3 Maple , birch and oak for $47.xx a sheet. I don’t know what the grade of the birch and oak are. That’s about what my supplier charges for the Canadian product, which seems to be of lower quality. You can also get better grades of plywood than C3. Most of my prefinished plywood is C2. Of course the higher grades are higher $$. Oh and this is veneer core plywood. Other commercial suppliers here on Long Island do carry the Columbia product.

-- John, Long Island, NY

View moke's profile


1690 posts in 3788 days

#10 posted 12-30-2013 12:49 AM

I failed to say I was refering to oak/walnut plywood…..thank you for the advice on Baltic birch….I have used it a lot but only for drawer sides. Do you stain it? Thanks for the advice….

-- Mike

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 3084 days

#11 posted 12-30-2013 03:21 PM

When using oak/walnut veneered plywood it is important to buy domestic plywood. The veneer will be thicker than imported plywood. You will need to find a good sheet goods provider in your area, and will not find them at BBox stores. We tend to use a combination core, which is part mdf, part lumber core. It is very flat and consistent in thickness. We edgband it and both stain and clear coat it with success. You do need to sand carefully, burn through s are possible, (see here), and annoying. We use a straight MDF core for slab doors in European style cabinets. Posted is a pic of a recent rift sawn white oak cabinet. This was not stained, but treated with an acid wash, to give it a silvered weathered color, and then sealed and clear coated.

Yes!! I am a Tony Stewart fan… so there.

-- Who is John Galt?

View abie's profile


921 posts in 4783 days

#12 posted 12-30-2013 03:30 PM

A local high end furniture shop in Berkeley uses Bamboo plywood for it’s core
They say it is very stable and like it better than Birch Ply.
Don’t know the source but worth a look see.

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

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