Author Topic: Baltic Birch Alternative  (Read 4532 times)

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Offline Birdhunter

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Baltic Birch Alternative
« on: April 27, 2022, 08:49 PM »
My local specialty wood shop can’t get Baltic birch at all. Rockler is sold out of 3/4” and low on other sizes. Neither can predict resupply.

Is there an alternative?
Birdhunter

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Offline 4nthony

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2022, 08:58 PM »
There's EuroPly and ApplePly but availability is also a problem. I recently saw a video about Eucalyptus Ply.

Other than those, I don't know of anything else.

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Offline GregorHochschild

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2022, 09:13 PM »
There is no direct replacement. There are some products that are similar in most characteristics but not all (e.g. much higher price point).

You should think about what the characteristics are that you value in baltic birch and then ask your lumber yard (or here) whether they have an alternative product that fits the characteristics you are interested in. For example, maybe you want a flat, stable and void-free panel that does not require you to finish the edge but cost is not that important. EuroPly and ApplePly might work. But even something like Valchromat (colored MDF) fits these criteria pretty well even though the style is very different. Maybe you want the baltic ply edge look, in which you could look in to edge banding (I think it exists). Maybe you don't care about void-free but cost is really important. A good lumber yard should be able to help but in the current market you will have to make compromises. Focus on the characteristics that are really important for you.

Offline 4nthony

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2022, 10:05 PM »
There is no direct replacement. There are some products that are similar in most characteristics but not all (e.g. much higher price point).

Before covid, supply chain issues, and the recent sanctions, were the imports of Baltic Birch so abundant that it didn't make financial sense for North American-based mills to try and compete with it?

I've always thought Baltic Birch was a very popular product, but perhaps my thinking was incorrect and that it's really only popular with smaller cabinet and furniture shops, and hobbyists.

Maybe the market was too small for other manufacturers to jump in and try to compete with the imported product?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2022, 12:04 AM by 4nthony »
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Offline Bert Vanderveen

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2022, 07:08 AM »
Before covid, supply chain issues, and the recent sanctions, were the imports of Baltic Birch so abundant that it didn't make financial sense for North American-based mills to try and compete with it?


My guess is that there is no supply of comparable / compatible birch in North America. Like the way NA Oregon Pine is way different from the way it grows over here in Europe.
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Offline Peter Kelly

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2022, 09:52 AM »
My local specialty wood shop can’t get Baltic birch at all. Rockler is sold out of 3/4” and low on other sizes. Neither can predict resupply.

Is there an alternative?
Look for "Aircraft Plywood" which is the Finnish-made version of Baltic Birch from RU and Belarus. Should still be available.

If you're just after the look, Garnica has a product made from Italian poplar that's very similar. https://www.garnica.one/en-us/plywood-boards/range/reinforced/reinforced-globulus-poplar.html
Nice stuff, should be available in most major markets. 
« Last Edit: April 29, 2022, 09:42 AM by Peter Kelly »

Offline Birdhunter

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2022, 06:39 AM »
Thanks everyone.
Birdhunter

Online mino

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2022, 07:54 AM »
What makes BB is the climate which is unique to the are of the Baltic Sea. You can plant Birch elsewhere, but the wood will be different.

Lot of "Baltic Birch" ply is from Russian or Belarussian wood. Some of it is procesed there, but a lot is exported and processed in the EU. With the ongoing economic war between US/EU and Russia, the supply situation will not get better anytime soon. This will take a decade or two, maybe longer.

Expect BB to eventually settle at a higher price compared to other woods. This will subdue the demand and provide an equilibrium again. Should take a year or so based on the Covid experience.

Over here this already happened - (local) Beech ply, traditionaly more expensive, is now 2/3 the cost of Birch ply. And this with it being about 20% more than before.

As for alternatives. None direct. But there are other materials which can be used, different plys etc. etc. Or paying up if you need Birch specifically.
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Offline dashboardpws

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2022, 04:39 PM »
Has anyone used the Garnica product?

Offline Peter Kelly

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2022, 09:44 PM »
Yes, built my kitchen cabinets out of 18mm Garnica Elegance from Atlantic Plywood. Slightly more expensive than BB a few years ago but a much higher grade product. Sheets are nice and flat too.

Offline afish

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2022, 03:52 PM »
Is there an alternative?
Go Green!
https://www.buildwithrise.com/stories/bamboo-plywood-for-the-home

I would love to use more bamboo, I have always liked the looks of it. It was popular for awhile but now its hard to find.  pre covid it was over 200 for a sheet of 3/4 I even looked into importing a container of it and it was about 100 per sheet from china plus all the duties and bs so probably close to 140 per sheet when all said and done.  that wasnt enough profit for me to gamble 40k plus and deal with the issues of importing, damaged sheets, storage and possibly getting stuck with some I couldnt sell. etc.

Offline Crazyraceguy

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2022, 08:27 PM »
Bamboo is not easy to work with. It is very hard and splintery. It does not deal well with 18ga nails. You can nail some other product (ply, MDF, particle board,) to it, if you are shooting from the softer side. Trying to nail 2 pieces of the "PlyBoo" to each other, not so much. The nails will buckle right off the nose of the gun.
It is splintery when cut, table saw, mitersaw, etc. The edges are a bit fragile and will bite you. It is also hard enough to make a difference on the life of your sandpaper and countersink bits. It cuts nice with a router, being careful about splinter-inducing situations.
It's good looking stuff, especially the darker "Carbonized" variant.
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Offline afish

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2022, 08:56 PM »
it has some shortfalls, yet despite them I would still happily use it more since I can work around those issues. A sharp 3/8 compression bit and good programing does good job cutting using tabs is a no no,  but availability and price are the 2 biggest downfalls for me. which seems odd since it grows so fast and comes from China. supply and demand I guess.

Offline dashboardpws

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2022, 08:38 AM »
We are testing a couple of the Garnica offerings and will almost certainly use one in our next round of benches. Samples seem very nice. Not as hard as Baltic but the impression is that it'll be more reliably flat.

Offline Packard

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2022, 09:08 AM »
We are testing a couple of the Garnica offerings and will almost certainly use one in our next round of benches. Samples seem very nice. Not as hard as Baltic but the impression is that it'll be more reliably flat.

I think that the manufacturing technology for assembling bamboo into sheets is costly.  The materials, less so. One neat aspect of bamboo is that they don't stain it.  They bake it to achieve color.  The longer they bake it, the darker it gets.  But apparently, the darker colors are not as hard or strong as the lighter ones.  The color is through and through, however.



Offline Peter Kelly

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2022, 09:31 AM »
Not available in all markets here but Kosiken Colorfin is still imported to the US from Finland https://koskisen.fi/en/product/koskidecor-eco-transparent-decorative-plywood/

Generally sold in 12 mm & 18 mm thicknesses, sheet sizes are 96" x 48", faces are defect-free B/B. Some distributors may have an unfinished version of the stuff as well.

Offline Packard

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2022, 09:51 AM »
Not available in all markets here but Kosiken Colorfin is still imported to the US from Finland https://koskisen.fi/en/product/koskidecor-eco-transparent-decorative-plywood/

Generally sold in 12 mm & 18 mm thicknesses, sheet sizes are 96" x 48", faces are defect-free B/B. Some distributors may have an unfinished version of the stuff as well.

It is available from Roberts on Long Island

Roberts Plywood  Co.
45 North Industry Court Deer Park, NY 11729
Phone: 631-586-7700
Toll Free : 1-800-422-4944
Fax: 631-586-7009

Offline afish

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2022, 10:02 AM »
We are testing a couple of the Garnica offerings and will almost certainly use one in our next round of benches. Samples seem very nice. Not as hard as Baltic but the impression is that it'll be more reliably flat.

Garnica is good stuff.  First time I ever ran a few few sheets was for a buddy he just dropped them off after the first sheet I called him and asked what kind of plywood is this.

Offline Packard

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2022, 10:11 AM »
The nearest vendor to me for Garnica is 105 miles away.  It is difficult to imagine a project that would warrant traveling that distance for plywood.

Offline Peter Kelly

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2022, 10:44 AM »
Atlantic Plywood wholesales to several independent lumber yards in Hudson Valley (eg: Williams Lumber). Easy enough to place an order for anything you'd want through one of them.

Offline Packard

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2022, 10:53 AM »
Williams is a major player in this area, competing with Home Depot and Lowes.  They stock pine, red oak, poplar and maple.  I never asked about special ordering.

Offline Peter Kelly

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2022, 11:13 AM »
Any of that Murphy hardwood ply that Williams retails is from Atlantic. I think their delivery route from Connecticut to Hudson Valley is twice a week so you’re usually just a day or two out from ordering.

Offline Bob D.

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Baltic Birch Available from Chesapeake Plywood
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2022, 03:52 PM »
I received an email from Chesapeake Plywood LLC a few minutes ago that they have Baltic Birch in stock right now in thicknesses from 3mm to 40mm
in 5x5, 4x8, 5x10, and 5x12.

I have no connection to them but I am signed up for emails with sales and deals so just passing it on for anyone looking.

They are in Baltimore, MD but deliver to a wide area.

www.chesapeakeplywood.com is their website.
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Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Baltic Birch Alternative
« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2022, 04:36 PM »
Garnica is good stuff.  First time I ever ran a few few sheets was for a buddy he just dropped them off after the first sheet I called him and asked what kind of plywood is this.

Add one more vote for Garnica.  It has almost no voids, and certainly doesn't have diaper pieces in it like some of the Borg junk. 
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