Author Topic: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?  (Read 6118 times)

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Offline Patrick Cox

  • Posts: 173
Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« on: May 13, 2016, 07:27 PM »
I am planning some furniture for my shop and I am not sure which type of plywood to use.  My first project will be a rolling cart for my MFT3.  I expect to simply apply some clear protective coat as finish. 

I went to Home Depot today and they have the following types... (all 3/4" 4x8 sheets)

Pine - $30
Birch - $50
Sande - $50
Oak - $50

I have not checked other lumber yards.  Maybe I should?  I am new to woodworking so I am not really informed about this yet.

Thanks for your help!

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Offline rst

  • Posts: 2041
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2016, 07:37 PM »
My personal preference would be birch as it will give you the smoothest surface for paint or other finishes.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2016, 07:42 PM »
Birch or oak would be fine. I like to look at the quality of the sheets before I buy from a supplier.

Offline Peter Belisle

  • Posts: 23
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2016, 07:44 PM »
I like to use what ever is cheap at a local lumber yard.  Must towns will have one near by. The next best is to find a hard wood dealer that will have a higher grade material.  Lowes or Home Depot is fine but i prefer shopping at a locally owned business. Ive got a decent report with the guys at the hard wood dealer and they let me in on the deals when they come up. 

Offline ChrisK1970

  • Posts: 578
  • Wicked Awesome
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2016, 07:53 PM »
I have used birch plywood from the big box for most of my shop pieces. I use the higher end stuff at my local hardwood dealer for my furniture / cabinet projects. Less voids I find in the slightly more expensive stuff. I have never had delamination problems with plywood.....yet ;)
Dark Helmet.....Remember! Evil will always triumph over good. Because good is dumb!

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2041
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2016, 08:06 PM »
I'm also lucky that my local lumber yard actually makes commercial case work so the finish plywood they stock is top notch, plus they stock good one side or two.  The cabinet grade 3/4" birch ply I buy from them I get for $43.00 a sheet.

Offline ChrisK1970

  • Posts: 578
  • Wicked Awesome
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2016, 08:15 PM »
That's an awesome price. Lower than my local HD which has 3/4" birch for around $49. I am currently paying about $55 a sheet at my hardwood dealer but the quality seems to be better with a slightly thicker veneer.
Dark Helmet.....Remember! Evil will always triumph over good. Because good is dumb!

Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2016, 10:04 PM »
If the birch is Columbia Purebond, it's pretty decent plywood and is what I used for my MFT cart.

Just look each piece over before buying.

It stayed straight and flat after cutting.

Offline Steve-Rice

  • Posts: 291
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2016, 10:07 PM »
Personally, I find the sheet goods at the big box stores are crap - lots of voids and frequently warped. I prefer Baltic birch ply, which the big box stores don't carry. Baltic birch ply doesn't have any voids and has nice clean edges which can be sanded very smooth.  All my shop furniture and jigs are made from it.  I even made a dresser from it -the sanded edges make an unusual piece of furniture.  Great material.

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2016, 02:42 AM »
...I prefer Baltic birch ply...
...
  Great material.

Is that Baltic Birch also the same as Marine ply?
Both are pretty much the cream of the crop.
(The Baltic-ply is ~$300/sheet here)

But that is not to say that some good MDF would not be useful for a lot of the shop stuff (like cupboards). For a bench or something that could be moved then a ply is a better choice.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2016, 07:20 AM »

Is that Baltic Birch also the same as Marine ply?
Both are pretty much the cream of the crop.
(The Baltic-ply is ~$300/sheet here)

But that is not to say that some good MDF would not be useful for a lot of the shop stuff (like cupboards). For a bench or something that could be moved then a ply is a better choice.

@Holmz I use these guys ...http://www.bruynzeel.com.au/products/plywoods.aspx ... they're not the cheapest, but they're local and excellent to deal with.

http://www.plyco.com.au/index.php?main_page=products_all have some great looking stuff, but I'll bet they're nasty on freight!

I'm assuming a fair part of your cost is shipping?

I personally won't touch MDF unless I'm forced to .. and I haven't been forced yet [smile]

Offline kcufstoidi

  • Posts: 768
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2016, 07:28 AM »
Baltic birch and Marine ply are definitely not the same, the only similarity is the thin multiple layers that make up the construction.

As Steve mentioned get real Baltic Birch which typically has a green stamp on one of the faces. Birch faced plywood and Baltic birch are not the same either. The other thing to watch out for is Baltic birch look a like the Big Boxes sell that is typically total crap from China that still has delamination problems because of the glues they use to make this low end product. While I've seen some high quality Chinese produced ply you won't find it in the BIG Boxes. Typical NA produced plys are getting to be terrible mainly because of the cores being used, alot that are being imported. There are a few shining lights like Appleply which is only available on your side of the border and some cores from Columbia that are designated FX or Classic core. These are typically more expensive and also won't be found at the BIG Boxes.

John

Offline kcufstoidi

  • Posts: 768
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2016, 07:43 AM »

Is that Baltic Birch also the same as Marine ply?
Both are pretty much the cream of the crop.
(The Baltic-ply is ~$300/sheet here)

But that is not to say that some good MDF would not be useful for a lot of the shop stuff (like cupboards). For a bench or something that could be moved then a ply is a better choice.



@Holmz I use these guys ...http://www.bruynzeel.com.au/products/plywoods.aspx ... they're not the cheapest, but they're local and excellent to deal with.

http://www.plyco.com.au/index.php?main_page=products_all have some great looking stuff, but I'll bet they're nasty on freight!

I'm assuming a fair part of your cost is shipping?

I personally won't touch MDF unless I'm forced to .. and I haven't been forced yet [smile]

Most hobbiests and the uninformed homeowners make the same assumption about MDF. Used and constructed, properly MDF is an amazing material with qualities that can't be easily found in other products. I was talking to a customer about some cabinets they wanted and one of the things that came up was that they really didn't want any MDF. I said well all the doors in your new highend kitchen were made of MDF, I thought he was going to have a heartattack, the company that sold them their kitchen never told them they used MDF doors they assumed they were hardwood.

Now we can go on to bashing Melamine products too if you want. LOL

John

Offline Untidy Shop

  • Posts: 2673
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2016, 07:45 AM »
Only for @Holmz and @Kev  and others Down Under.

Yes to Hoop Pine down under.
http://www.australply.com.au/index.php/about/about-hooppine

Also look at some of the Green Store Stock. I was working in the timber dept today. Long break after 2 months in paint. There were some excellent FULL SIZE sheets of Marine and Stuctural Ply in stock. And Australian made rather than from Brazil. But this can be a transient issue and certainly can be different store to store and state to state. You just have to have a look in your local from time to time.

My next project in the Untidy Shop Thread will feature a sysport made from a Form Ply packing sheet, not painted black and some of the best grain structure I have seen in ply - furniture grade in fact and in a throw away packer I found in the dumpster. Pitty you guys do not have access to the green store dumpster!  [eek] [big grin]
« Last Edit: May 15, 2016, 08:07 PM by Untidy Shop »
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Offline live4ever

  • Posts: 790
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2016, 01:16 PM »
One of the big issues with box store plywood is how flat the sheet remains.  The more expensive sheets tend to be Columbia Purebond (a good domestic manufacturer) and therefore stay flat.  The species of the veneer doesn't matter aside from aesthetics except that as others have said, birch is nice and smooth.

The cheap plywood at the box store can be hit or miss.  If the pine ply is "arauco," it's actually pretty decent stuff.  Quite void-free and stays flat.  When I was starting out and funds were limited, I made a lot of stuff out of Arauco.  Unbanded edges actually can look pretty decent.
Current systainer to productivity ratio:  very high

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Type of Plywood for shop furniture?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2016, 06:08 PM »

Is that Baltic Birch also the same as Marine ply?
Both are pretty much the cream of the crop.
(The Baltic-ply is ~$300/sheet here)

But that is not to say that some good MDF would not be useful for a lot of the shop stuff (like cupboards). For a bench or something that could be moved then a ply is a better choice.

@Holmz I use these guys ...http://www.bruynzeel.com.au/products/plywoods.aspx ... they're not the cheapest, but they're local and excellent to deal with.

http://www.plyco.com.au/index.php?main_page=products_all have some great looking stuff, but I'll bet they're nasty on freight!

I'm assuming a fair part of your cost is shipping?

I personally won't touch MDF unless I'm forced to .. and I haven't been forced yet [smile]

Thanks for the link @Kev
In 18 or 25-mm the fibreglass face-sheeted products are about the same price. (I think 250 versus 220. The Baltic birch was about the same 250-300 range.)

The problem is one needs to veneer or paint it... ;)