Why is Baltic birch ply 5x5 instead of 4x8

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Just a quick question but why is the true baltic birch ply available in mainly 5x5 sheets and not 4x8 like you see at home stores and such.

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Posted · Report post

It's made in the Baltics where they don't use our standard construction multiples of 16".

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Posted · Report post

Because it's a European product. 4x8 is available in the states as Appleply.

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Posted · Report post

So that's how you become a master poster. double up each post.

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Posted · Report post

Just a quick question but why is the true baltic birch ply available in mainly 5x5 sheets and not 4x8 like you see at home stores and such.

It's European so actually 1500x1500 :D

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So with it being 1500 x 1500, which is what I kind of figured does this tend to work out well for you guys that have built cabinets with it? seems like it would be kind of a lot of waste say for case sides and such. Again never having used it I'm just curious

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So with it being 1500 x 1500, which is what I kind of figured does this tend to work out well for you guys that have built cabinets with it? seems like it would be kind of a lot of waste say for case sides and such. Again never having used it I'm just curious

Never built cabinets with it. Just shop fixtures/appliances and a telescope(fun project if your somewhat of a nerd)

If you have to work with plywood, BB is great stuff to work with, no voids, both show sides etc.

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Posted · Report post

Glad you guys can use it for the shop - I'm (going to be) using it for furniture. The finish I've seen so far is very good, but not always both sides are 'show'. Sizes are 1525 x 1525mm here, which is a shade over 60", so I don't think you'll find yourself an inch short.

Beech ply is also available - though difficult to find - in 4' x 8' here. Otherwise the usual poplar or marine boards are huge - 2000 x 3000mm, that's over 6' x 9'.

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Glad you guys can use it for the shop - I'm (going to be) using it for furniture. The finish I've seen so far is very good, but not always both sides are 'show'. Sizes are 1525 x 1525mm here, which is a shade over 60", so I don't think you'll find yourself an inch short.

Beech ply is also available - though difficult to find - in 4' x 8' here. Otherwise the usual poplar or marine boards are huge - 2000 x 3000mm, that's over 6' x 9'.

Hi John,

Do you know if there are "usual" sizes of casework, like bookcases or cabinets that are sized to take advantage of the 1525 x 1525 plywood sheets? I have a theory that European kitchen cabinets might be sized slightly different from American ones due to this, sort of like how we use 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of paper compared to A4.

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Sorry, Wilbur, I don't really have an answer...

Hi John,

Do you know if there are "usual" sizes of casework, like bookcases or cabinets that are sized to take advantage of the 1525 x 1525 plywood sheets? I have a theory that European kitchen cabinets might be sized slightly different from American ones due to this, sort of like how we use 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of paper compared to A4.

I thought myself that 5' x5' was a 'funny' size (especially when pronounced 1525mm x 1525mm) - even asked the chap selling the stuff, but he didn't know either. I think we can exclude tree size, I was thinking more of pallet or container sizes - but that doesn't stack up (sorry couldn't resist), it's the wrong size for both.

European kitchen cabinets are based on the 'magic' 60/40/30 cm values. Most cabinets are 60 cm, and all built in ovens, dish washers and cookers are designed to fit inside them. A drawer under the sink will be 90 or possibly 120 cm. Anything else and you have to pay a huge (as in 200%) additional charge, because the thing will have to be cut, by a human being no less.

Which doesn't help your theory, I'm afraid... Might be sheer bloody mindedness on the part of the Finns or Russians ;) I've heard that the English can be like that too...

In any case, almost all kitchen cabinets (even the 'top' class ones) are made from laminated chipboard. Sometimes it's 'nobilitato', that is they put a 1/100" veneer on the chipoard. Plywood simply isn't used, because the machinery used to make this stuff works better with chipboard, holes for euro hinges, etc. Paper is used regularly as the veneer on the cheaper brands - complete kitchen for €999, in 48 easy installments. Presumably the cabinets will last 48 months...

Me, cinical? Nah...

John

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Posted · Report post

I still think the main reason is just to tick us off so it won't fit in our trucks laying down :angry:

Nate

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Just been through my notes, different types of ply, different suppliers:

250 x 125 cm - 8' x 4'

252 x 185 cm

312 x 185 cm

313 x 210 cm - 10' x 7' (almost) - easy to get in a car... or possibly the other way round

310 x 153 cm

300 x 125 cm

Nothing like having a little variety...

There's an article in Wood magazine about sheets of wood.

John

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I still think the main reason is just to tick us off so it won't fit in our trucks laying down :angry:

Nate

You ought to try strapping the stuff on top of a 4Runner...... :blink:

Bill

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You ought to try strapping the stuff on top of a 4Runner...... :blink:

Bill

Silly... you need a 5Runner for that! :P

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Posted · Report post

Maybe Baltic Birch isn't used for cabinets???

It is, after all, not European. Its Scandinavian. You know...the furniture designers.

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Yes...

Maybe Baltic Birch isn't used for cabinets???

Poplar core plywood is cheaper and can be veneered. Laminates (compensato in Italian - a thick > 15mm poplar core, one good face) are heavily used here.

No...

It is, after all, not European. Its Scandinavian. You know...the furniture designers.

Europe comprises Scandinavia and a big hunk of Russia these days, including all the Baltic countries. So while the Rhine was the longest river in Europe when I were but a nipper, it's now the Volga. (Cost me a beer that one did, ouch).

Also (my pet rant, I'm afraid) please note that the Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd company you loosely refer to is not a Swedish company per se - it's actually a charity, based in the Netherlands (and Antilles). So €2.5 billion profit a year, tax free. About 90% of this flows out to sources unknown as "other operating charges", since the charity owners technically can't receive this profit - it's in a trust. €45 million of this profit was devolved to charitable activities. It's now the world's biggest charitable organization, having overtaken the Gates Foundation. End of rant.

John

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It is a (formerly) Communist plot.

Like Stalin's grave.

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It is a (formerly) Communist plot.

Like Stalin's grave.

I think I must have dropped off for the past twenty years or something. The standard size of a plywood sheet in the UK is 2440mm x 1220mm which is exactly 8'x4' at what ever thickness is required, which I admit these days is likely to be some multiple of a millimetre. Even here in EUROPE well FRANCE actually the normal size is 2500x1200 although there is almost as much here at 2440x1220 which I pressume comes from the UK it has absolutely nothing at all to do with the standard size of kitchen cabinets. Which incidentally are almost always Melamine coated chipboard, unless you want to pay the right price and have your kitchen made to measure, which is where people like me come in. I will manufacture in what ever material the client wants and to what ever size. Even your fabled Birch Ply is available in these sizes.

Pete

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Europe comprises Scandinavia and a big hunk of Russia these days, including all the Baltic countries. So while the Rhine was the longest river in Europe when I were but a nipper, it's now the Volga. (Cost me a beer that one did, ouch).

John

Baltic Birch, according to my sources, is manufactured in Russia and Finland, two countries that historically have been distinguished from Europe. I guess because of the EU's trade relations with Russia and Finland they are thought of as EU good old boys but historically there have been geophysical, ancestral, cultural, monetary and alliance distinctions.

Looks like my pre-cold war mindset needs to be "reset".

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This is the second time I'm taking this thread off topic... but this time in a good cause...

Baltic Birch, according to my sources, is manufactured in Russia and Finland, two countries that historically have been distinguished from Europe. I guess because of the EU's trade relations with Russia and Finland they are thought of as EU good old boys but historically there have been geophysical, ancestral, cultural, monetary and alliance distinctions.

Looks like my pre-cold war mindset needs to be "reset".

If your really curious, quite a lot of ex 'iron curtain' Europe was part of Europe a hundred years ago or so - and is again now for the last 10 years or more. Yes, there are lots of different Europes, the continent, the union, being just two. Russia is kind of border line in this respect, but much as Turkey, it does have its European side.

Michael Palin (yes, he of Monty Python fame) wrote an interesting book on the subject, much of which is available on his web site. The book was based on his BBC television series which I didn't see, unfortunately. Last year we went on an 'epic family voyage' following partly in his footsteps... It was a whole lot of fun I can tell you (Oświęcim/Auschwitz was the exception). I wrote a little travel diary about it. If you want wood, and lots of it, see page 42.

John

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Hey John,

I enjoyed the travel diary. Very interesting and entertaining.

You traveled to countries that I've not visited though I've traveled extensively throughout Europe (and Scandinavia :) ). As an architect I'm struck with how buildings in your pictures look so much like other areas of Europe. Alexander the Great and the Romans opened up the whole continent to share ideas and spread knowledge and influence the course of civilizations by "blending" cultures. EU countries are challenged to retain their traditional culture and architecture. We have that same problem in the USA even though our history is much shorter.

To bring this back on topic, wait...what IS the topic? Oh yea, Baltic Birch ply. I can't say I saw a single piece of it in your photos or in my travels. It must all be in the states. :P

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Hey John,

I enjoyed the travel diary. Very interesting and entertaining.

Thanks for taking the time to read it. Definitely going to go back sometime.

To bring this back on topic, wait...what IS the topic? Oh yea, Baltic Birch ply. I can't say I saw a single piece of it in your photos or in my travels. It must all be in the states. :P

Oh, that was what we were talking about. Being such an odd size, it might still be in the truck, or the ship...

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Glad you guys can use it for the shop - I'm (going to be) using it for furniture. The finish I've seen so far is very good, but not always both sides are 'show'. Sizes are 1525 x 1525mm here, which is a shade over 60", so I don't think you'll find yourself an inch short.

Beech ply is also available - though difficult to find - in 4' x 8' here. Otherwise the usual poplar or marine boards are huge - 2000 x 3000mm, that's over 6' x 9'.

Yeah, I guess 1/25 of an inch would be a hair over 60 inches. As far as the larger marine ply, it seems to me that would give a boat builder fewer seams to worry about leaking. That’s assuming that the “marine” in marine ply indicates that it can be used for building boats. As far as the large poplar plywood, maybe that’s why the European woodworkers use those large sliding table saws.

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