Is it crazy not to use plywood for cabinets?

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Forum topic by Laurent posted 04-16-2009 02:35 PM 3875 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Laurent's profile


41 posts in 4351 days

04-16-2009 02:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple

Thanks in advance for your feedback…

I’ve to decide what to use for my first ever white maple drawer cabinets & bookcases. As mentioned in another recent thread, I’ve not been able to find some good maple plywood nearby, so I’m considering building them from plain hard maple.

Am I crazy? I realize it’d be so much easier / cost effective to use plywood but I don’t see any other option…


PS: Some example of what I’d like to do (just a general idea):

-- Laurent

19 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4880 days

#1 posted 04-16-2009 02:53 PM

Nothing says you have to use ply, and solid-wood furniture is great. There’s a cabinet company near here that builds their cabinet cases out of solid wood.

Still, I bet there is a source for ply if you look a little more. If all else fails, your local big-box store (HD, Lowes) can probably order it from their lumber supplier.

-- -- --

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 4362 days

#2 posted 04-16-2009 03:07 PM

Well to order plywood you’d probrably need an account, and there probrably is a minimum order along with a delivery charge. My suggestion is to go to a local cabinet shop, Ask him on his next order if they can order you a sheet or two. Make an fair offer on the costs of shipping then go pick it up from them in a week. Most places would love the idea of your helping with the shipping. It should be no problem. And It’s a lot cheaper than using solid. Solid will take a lot of money and time. If it’s being built for yourself or the wife,solid is no problem. But for a job forget about it unless they understand it’s solid,and it cost waaaay more.


-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4880 days

#3 posted 04-16-2009 03:28 PM

Well, I did say “if all else fails.” I’m not sure what avenues Laurent has pursued, but it sounds like he has already done some checking around. I have repeatedly suggested to people here that they make friends with a local cabinet guy who will probably be happy to add one of these and a couple of those to his next order.

Instead of “probably” let me just give you my experience – before I had my suppliers lined up, I ordered my materials through HD. I never had an account – I just pre-paid for my orders. They did not ask for a minimum order – I placed orders as small as $70. If there was a shipping charge, it was included in per-item price. They called me when my material arrived and I went and picked it up. That was during the height of the building-boom … now they are scrambling for any business they can get.

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View Laurent's profile


41 posts in 4351 days

#4 posted 04-16-2009 03:51 PM

Thanks Peter, Frankie, I’ve checked all the big stores around but have been too “shy” to go & ask a cabinet company. I guess I’ll have to decide between paying way more and overcome my shyness!

Peter, I had a look to your (nice) gallery and asked myself if all your cabinets are ply (like the rustic maple kitchen)?


-- Laurent

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4767 days

#5 posted 04-16-2009 04:03 PM

With the present sorry state of the plywood industry, I think using solid wood makes good sense. Using solid wood does require more careful attention to joinery. This is not all bad – brings us back to rekindling some of the old time joinery skills.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View CharleyL's profile


223 posts in 4370 days

#6 posted 04-16-2009 05:33 PM

You haven’t said where you are located. One of us might be able to provide a source if we knew.
Do a Google search for the Wurth Group. They have many outlets and one may be near you. You might even Google “plywood”+ “(your zip code)”.


View Laurent's profile


41 posts in 4351 days

#7 posted 04-16-2009 05:51 PM

I live in Lancaster, PA.
I’ll do a search later today, but I’m also open to your suggestions for any place in a 50 miles radius.
Thanks, Laurent

-- Laurent

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5320 days

#8 posted 04-16-2009 05:54 PM

Don’t give up! There is a local supplier. If there is one in Wendel Idaho, a town of 4000, you must have one near you. Check out the small independent hardware stores.

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 4780 days

#9 posted 04-16-2009 07:03 PM

I use veneer plywoods on all my box construction and solid on trim, face frames, doors, drawer covers and smaller projects. Drawers are made from clear pine or baltic birch. Take a look at my projects and see what you think. I buy all my plywood from a ACE hardware/lumber yard near me. They stock, oak, cherry and birch and can order anything else I need. I do not know if Ace is located near you or not.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4880 days

#10 posted 04-16-2009 07:58 PM

Here’s a thread on this site about suppliers in Lancaster area …
... they are talking mostly about hardwood, but some of these sources might be able to point you to ply, even if they don’t carry it.

Do you have a Woodcraft near you? They might know of some local sources.

Thanks for the compliment about the website. I usually encourage people to use ply for cabinet cases, but most end up using a cabinet-grade melamine. The cases of furniture I build is either solid wood or ply.

-- -- --

View johnpoolesc's profile


246 posts in 4366 days

#11 posted 04-16-2009 08:34 PM

i don’t use ply when i build anything for the loml.. it is faster, but i perfer the “real” hardwood look and feel.

when i build for a friend or the kids, they buy stock.. ply works great for the grandkids play rooms,, (and the great grand kids) (again, very old)

-- It's not a sickness, i can stop buying tools anytime.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1524 posts in 5131 days

#12 posted 04-16-2009 08:53 PM

I’ve been using ply for my kitchen, both a decent thin veneer and ApplePly, with maple edging, and I’m about ready to just go solid maple. Yeah, there are places where I’d have to tweak the design a bit to account for wood movement, but if it’s economically reasonable for you, I’d seriously consider doing solid wood.

On your first example there, the movement in the door faces is something you’d have to be careful of.

On asking cabinet folks, many cabinet folks sublet shop space, and most furniture folks job out milling that they don’t have the tools for (ie: need a wide tabletop sanded and don’t have a drum sander? shop it out), so they’re totally used to this sort of request. The guy who sanded my floors suggested that if I needed anything from the hardwood wholesalers I should go through him.

Also, for at least one of my semi-local “wholesale” dealers, the only requirement for not having an account set up with them is a $250 minimum purchase. This is mostly to keep away the crowd that wants to buy a sheet or two of 3/8” CDX, because if you’re buying a good solid hardwood core with a high quality veneer that can be two sheets of plywood. The other one (which I patronize, usually in $500 or so chunks) only takes check or cash.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View fidelfs's profile


14 posts in 5073 days

#13 posted 04-17-2009 02:20 AM

For good maple plywood do you mean, good maple veneer or good core plywood?

If you are looking only for the veneer, I got a solution for you. Buy any plywood, (maple, apple, or even mdf) and then resaw your own veneer or buy good maple veneer. Even you can buy figure maple to have a great look.

View Laurent's profile


41 posts in 4351 days

#14 posted 04-18-2009 04:19 AM

Thanks to all for your ideas.

I just stumble upon some maple plywood at my closest Home Depot. It’s a Purebond ply from Columbia. It really looks nice, not too expansive ($64 for 3/4 4×8) and it’s a green product (glue from soy, managed forest).

Does anyone using it?


-- Laurent

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 4435 days

#15 posted 04-18-2009 12:18 PM

You have a dilemma that all of us face from time to time. Where to get good materials that are appropriate for the job at hand. Using plywood from a box store is going exacerbate that problem. If you need quality plywood for your projects – don’t count on the box stores.

Your problems will all be solved by finding a reliable source from which to draw materials. Start with the best cabinet shops you can find; I am sure they will help.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

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