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Valleyslim

Need help with picking plywood

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Starting to finally build stuff in my shop. Already made a work table out of maple plywood, but was wondering what plywood is good for indoor furniture. My first 2 projects are gonna be platform bed and TV stand. I have access to Baltic birch, but I don't want to spend that much for a sheet of ply. If it helps, I get my plywood from a lumber yard, not big box stores, thanks

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Baltic birch is what I use.  Yes, it's a bit more expensive but, IMO it's worth the cost to not have warping and void issues to deal with.

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For hardwood veneerd ply Research the companies that sell the ply. Generally the made in US companies stay a lot flatter for me than any of the imports. If you run across Terra ply just say no. Timber products is one that i always have good luck with.

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Yes, Baltic birch is a much superior product. It's also a lot harder & stronger than regular plywood.

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19 minutes ago, Valleyslim said:

so my local lumber store sells Baltic birch 4x8 sheet for 74$, is that a good price??

Need more info. 1/4" 1/2" 3/4"?

I pay $1.36 pre square foot for 1/2" which is $34 for a 5x5 sheet. Though it was a bit higher than that the last time i bought. 3/4" is more expensive 1/4" is cheaper.

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Baltic birch is generally a very good product, but it’s not the only good option. I use BB for shop stuff, but I don’t think I’d use it for house furniture unless it was going to be painted or veneered. 

Ask to see some comparable alternatives. Look along the edges to see if there are any voids- if there are voids along the edge there will also be voids in the middle of the sheets. Look at how thick then top/bottom veneers are. Look to see if the sheet is flat or if it has warped. 

Each lumber yard is different, but at mine the guys in the showroom are very friendly and happy to answer questions and give advice, while the guys in the back would rather not deal with any customers.

For some projects you can save money by buying sheets with a lower grade face on one side if it won’t be seen. 

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3 hours ago, Valleyslim said:

so my local lumber store sells Baltic birch 4x8 sheet for 74$, is that a good price??

And make sure you are looking at baltic birch plywood.  There is such a thing as birch plywood, which confused me for a time.  I mention this because BB is more commonly found in 5 x 5 sheets although I can get it in 4 x 8.

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It's also available here in both sizes, but for some reason, the 4x8 is quite a bit more per sq. ft. than the 5x5.

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On 4/12/2019 at 3:37 PM, JohnG said:

Baltic birch is generally a very good product, but it’s not the only good option. I use BB for shop stuff, but I don’t think I’d use it for house furniture unless it was going to be painted or veneered. 

Ask to see some comparable alternatives. Look along the edges to see if there are any voids- if there are voids along the edge there will also be voids in the middle of the sheets. Look at how thick then top/bottom veneers are. Look to see if the sheet is flat or if it has warped. 

Each lumber yard is different, but at mine the guys in the showroom are very friendly and happy to answer questions and give advice, while the guys in the back would rather not deal with any customers.

For some projects you can save money by buying sheets with a lower grade face on one side if it won’t be seen. 

what would be a good alternative to baltic birch for indoor furniture such as platform bed or tv stand? I bought maple plywood and havent seen 1 void yet out of the only 2 sheets i got from the lumber yard for 47$ for a 4x8 3/4 inch. I guess is maple ply still sturdy enough? thanks in advance

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2 hours ago, Valleyslim said:

 I guess is maple ply still sturdy enough? thanks in advance

Don't think that maple ply is made of maple. The inner layers are just softwood, with the only maple being the extremely thin exterior faces. So it won't have the strength of BB. 

The maple ply will be good enough.

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6 hours ago, Valleyslim said:

what would be a good alternative to baltic birch for indoor furniture such as platform bed or tv stand? I bought maple plywood and havent seen 1 void yet out of the only 2 sheets i got from the lumber yard for 47$ for a 4x8 3/4 inch. I guess is maple ply still sturdy enough? thanks in advance

There are too many options and variables to give specific alternatives. Any plywood will be sturdy enough as long as your design is reasonable.

If you haven't already, do some reading online about the different types of plywood. Veneer vs. MDF core, hardwood veneer core vs softwood veneer core, rotary/quarter sawn/plain sawn veneer, and plywood grading. I felt completely in the dark buying plywood before I learned about the different options.

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I would like help selecting plywood as well as the OP

I see that BB plywood referred to and recommended but I don't see it offered in either of the 2 stores we have in town

Could someone check this link please and let me know if this would be an equivalent to the BB, I want to make jigs for my tools, there are 2 thicknesses 15mm (.67 inch) or 12mm (.47 inch)

https://www.bunnings.com.au/ecoply-2400-x-1200-x-15mm-cd-structural-plywood_p0340165

thanks in advance

Geoff

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1 hour ago, oldman_woodworker said:

which one is which please GeeDub

BB on left with many thin layers. Veneer ply on right with thicker center layers and very thin outer layers. Center layers are often softwood or sometimes MDF. 

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4 hours ago, oldman_woodworker said:

which one is which please GeeDub

What a goof I am sometimes :blink: . . . left is BB. 

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3 hours ago, oldman_woodworker said:

I would like help selecting plywood as well as the OP

I see that BB plywood referred to and recommended but I don't see it offered in either of the 2 stores we have in town

Could someone check this link please and let me know if this would be an equivalent to the BB, I want to make jigs for my tools, there are 2 thicknesses 15mm (.67 inch) or 12mm (.47 inch)

https://www.bunnings.com.au/ecoply-2400-x-1200-x-15mm-cd-structural-plywood_p0340165

thanks in advance

Geoff

No, that is pretty much just general use building grade ply.  You can sometimes find a product referred to as "Finnish" or "Russian" ply that is pretty much like Baltic Birch.  

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The other day I was picking up some 12mm BB at the local plywood purveyor & had a discussion about the product. Baltic Birch is manufactured in 5' x 10' sheets These are cut in half for the export market for shipping reasons. That's why we get the goofy 5' x 5' sheets. The 4' x 8' is similar to Baltic Birch, but used a different adhesive & is exterior rated. That glue tends to gum up cutting edges worse, leading to burning.

Another thing that I don't think has been mentioned is that because it's hardwood all the way though, it holds screws tenatiously; far better than softwood ply. It's also sometimes a good idea to drill pilot holes for screws to keep from stripping out the heads.

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12 hours ago, JohnG said:

BB on left with many thin layers. Veneer ply on right with thicker center layers and very thin outer layers. Center layers are often softwood or sometimes MDF. 

thanks John

9 hours ago, gee-dub said:

What a goof I am sometimes :blink: . . . left is BB. 

it's all good gee, I figured I was probably the only one who didn't know

9 hours ago, gee-dub said:

No, that is pretty much just general use building grade ply.  You can sometimes find a product referred to as "Finnish" or "Russian" ply that is pretty much like Baltic Birch.  

thanks again, I checked with a local supplier today and  they can get BB plywood but it's crazy expensive. Do you think this stuff is ok for making jigs or should I go the MDF route ?

8 hours ago, drzaius said:

The other day I was picking up some 12mm BB at the local plywood purveyor & had a discussion about the product. Baltic Birch is manufactured in 5' x 10' sheets These are cut in half for the export market for shipping reasons. That's why we get the goofy 5' x 5' sheets. The 4' x 8' is similar to Baltic Birch, but used a different adhesive & is exterior rated. That glue tends to gum up cutting edges worse, leading to burning.

Another thing that I don't think has been mentioned is that because it's hardwood all the way though, it holds screws tenatiously; far better than softwood ply. It's also sometimes a good idea to drill pilot holes for screws to keep from stripping out the heads.

good points drz, thanks for the input

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2 hours ago, oldman_woodworker said:

thanks again, I checked with a local supplier today and  they can get BB plywood but it's crazy expensive. Do you think this stuff is ok for making jigs or should I go the MDF route ?

I pulled this from an ".au" site but the grades line up with ours here in the US.

2045575241_plywoodgradesau.thumb.JPG.293b9f48b040e9db40ba1050ece3be19.JPG

Not that it matters since the cost is prohibitive, here's the BB ply grading system:

273019351_BBPlyGradingStandards.JPG.f5614855d0395c710d17eda7db7c68f5.JPG

The CD material will probably have internal voids which make it ill suited for jigs.  I would lean toward the MDF unless you needed certain structural strength that some larger assemblies require.  Having said that, we work with what we can get.  My home state of California has degraded in some areas so that I have to pick up certain items when I am out of state.  Fortunately it is a long narrow state and Nevada and Arizona are only a few hours away.

I'll stop rambling; I would have some MDF on hand in your 1/4", 1/2" and 3/4" equivalents.  I would have some plywood around too as it can be used with the MDF if that sort of flex or sag resistance is needed.  Some BC would probably do you well and you wouldn't have to buy in whole sheets.  Most lumber yards around here carry what is called 'shop grade' plywood which is not an actual grade at all.  This can be some A-C or B-C that didn't quite make the grade (no pun intended) and has some minor defects.  Different yards will have different product that they sell for this purpose. 

Some will also sell edge-damaged sheet goods at a discount. A lot of folks overlook this thinking they need a perfect sheet of material.  The fact is the first thing you are going to do when you use it is cut a piece out of it so you can judge the price by what your use-case is and save some money there.  I just picked up a half dozen sheets of some tempered hardboard at half price due to damaged edges where it had been strapped too tight during transport.

It can take some time to find your available sources for materials and consumables.  Carry on and good luck.

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