Baltic Birch vs. Domestic Birch Ply

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Jeff

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Jeff
What's the difference? Why is baltic typically 5' x 5' vs. domestic ply at 4' x 8'? Why would you choose one over the other for basic cabinet construction? :help:

My daughter would like a project table similar to this one (she likes the glass top):

http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/EZ-View-White-Craft-Desk/4127262/product.html?rcmndsrc=2

Would a face frame be desirable or overkill for this type of project? Maybe just edge banding the ply pieces in a light colored wood like ash or hickory. A finish could be Waterlox "Original" or water-borne poly.

This project would be a major challenge for my skill level, but an opportunity to learn and cry or celebrate the accomplishment. :icon_cheers Lots of design/joinery details to consider, but I thought I'd ask for some collective advice and recommendations. Thanks as always.
 

Canuck

Wayne
Corporate Member
True Baltic or Finnsh ply is generally a very stable construction material. It will have many more layers/ply when compared to our domestic birch plywood. The cost of material could be a quite a bit higher with Bakltic Birch plywood. (Can't answer the question as to why it generally comes in 5 x 5 vs 4 x 8?:dontknow:)

Looking at the picture of the desk, I would think that a good quality domestic birch plywood (3/4" variety) would be fine. Be careful though as a lot of the birch ply from the big box stores is poor quality at best. Check with places like NC Hardwoods and you will probably see less in the way of voids and warping bowed panels.

I think that adding a faceframe is not overkill at all! great way to give it finished look, hides the ply endgrain and offers a great/secure place to hang the doors. (And... it looks like it has drawers in the front top, so you could use the faceframe to secure the front of traditional drawer runners, unless you decide on metal drawer slides. A finish like Waterlox will go over a nice hardwood fraceframe well too!

Good luck with the project and don;t forget to share some pictures of your progress along the way.:wsmile:

Wayne
 
T

toolferone

Yes, Many more plys and a thicker outer face ply too. It is very strong and stable and most likely way more then is needed for most standard cabinet work. I do like it for drawer boxes as it has no voids in between the layers and the edges finish nice. It a great ply for jigs in the shop. I think the size has to do with a good handeling and shipping size in europe (don't quote me on that).
 

sawduster

New User
Robert
i've driven a scroll saw blade through many a mile of BB ply and can attest to the absolute lack of voids in the real stuff :icon_thum There are more layers and it is all in all really tight and pretty stout
The Real Mcoy is sold in 5' x 5' sheets ( don't know why, metric system maybe ? :dontknow: ). The Finnish BB is usually good on both sides while the Russian BB tends to be good only one side, with the bad side having blemishes and " footballs " .
I have seen the BORGS try to pass off 8 x 4 as BB when it is , in fact , just Birch ply
Can't speak to Birch ply made in the US. I have never used it :nah:
 

junquecol

Bruce
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The birch sold in the big box stores varies in quality. Lowes sells that c--p from China, which I wouldn't use to build an outhouse. Home Depot sells "shop grade" from Columbia Forest Products, which is made in Old Fort North Carolina. Big difference in the quality.
 

gcgarner

New User
Chris
Home Depot sells "shop grade" from Columbia Forest Products, which is made in Old Fort North Carolina.
Holy moly. I've been driving to the Hickory HD to get my "Made In The USA" Birch ply. I am closer to Old Fort. Does Columbia Forest Products sell direct?
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
Thanks to all for the recommendations and advice. I think I'll go with the BB; at the Hardwood Store it's $2.24/sq. ft. vs domestic birch at $1.69/sq. ft. for 3/4" t. That's not a show-stopper for me. Also, they offer 4 sizes from 1/8"t-3/4"t; that's convenient for overall homogeneity from the basic cabinet to drawers, etc.

Another question: Is BB a true 3/4" or 23/32" like domestic ply? :dontknow:

Maybe the LOML will give me a cash advance on my allowance to purchase a few "plywood" router bits. :icon_scra
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
Holy moly. I've been driving to the Hickory HD to get my "Made In The USA" Birch ply. I am closer to Old Fort. Does Columbia Forest Products sell direct?
I imagine you need to buy a bunch to get an account at Columbia. How many boxcar loads you need? :gar-Bi
Have you checked out Catawba Hardwoods at the Nebo -Harmony Grove Rd.-I-40 exit? I've never stopped and have been curious.
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
Another question: Is BB a true 3/4" or 23/32" like domestic ply? :dontknow:

:icon_scra
Jeff,
I just measured 3 different pieces I have. .695", .693" and .719". The thicker piece came from some cutoffs from a store fixture manufacturer I bought at the Habitat RESTORE a few years ago. The other two pieces were from who knows where?
Bottomline...measure it.
 
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