Author Topic: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality  (Read 1362 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 300
Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« on: October 07, 2020, 09:31 AM »
Hoping to get a little insight from more experienced folks.

I started out using the Home Depot Radiata pine plywood.  Roughly $30 a 4x8 sheet.  It was good for testing and making shop cabinets, etc.  I got the LR32 and wanted to make some 'nicer' wall cabinets for my shop so I moved up to the birch ply at HD, roughly $53 a sheet.  I built 4 cabinets and I thought they were good.  I wanted 2 more so I went back to HD, same bin, same everything, and the colors of this birch were no where near what I already had.  Yep, I know it is an organic thing, nothing guaranteed about colors, grains, etc.

I have roughed out 4 projects for the house.  Laundry room cabinets, replacing some Closet Maid wire stuff with built-ins, etc.  I also wanted pre-finished.  The folks at HD had no clue what pre-finished plywood was.  I had read that Columbia Forest Products can be ordered and shipped to HD for pickup.  The Columbia guys are great.  We talked for a good bit and they sent me a quote on some sheet prices. I don't know what to expect based on these grades.  I don't plan to paint any carcasses, just use their UV finish.  A couple of places I will make doors and I think I may paint those. 

Below are the quotes I got from them.  I am hoping to get some guidance on 'worth the upgrade or not', while moving up this price list.  I was told by Columbia that the birch stuff I have been getting is most likely grade C3.

For example, on the C grade prices, is the CC grade worth a 10% bump in price over the C2 ?  For most of these 4 projects, the back side isn't really important.  But I do want as nice and consistent as possible, face side.

It works out much better to get 10-12 sheets delivered instead of getting 1-2 at a time, having them cut down so they can fit in my son's SUV. 

Appreciate any tips.

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline Stan Tillinghast

  • Posts: 117
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2020, 10:32 AM »
Looking on with great interest.
Our local hardwood/plywood lumber in San Diego carries prefinished maple ply I’ve bought to make a prototype cabinet, and I like it a lot.
My feeling is that the value of prefinished plywood in reducing inevitable water damage and reducing the time I would need to finish is worth it.
I’m very interested in hearing what the more experienced members say.

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 300
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2020, 10:36 AM »
Thanks Stan.  Do you know what grade of maple you got and maybe even a picture  ;) ?  Thanks.

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 283
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2020, 01:53 PM »
Try to go to a specialty lumber store. I prefer Baltic Birch, or shop Maple. I don’t like the sandy plywood Home Depot sells. There are dozens of places in Los Angeles that sell specialty plywood all within 5 minutes to 45 minute drive. If your building garage style cabinets, MDF could work?

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3179
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2020, 01:56 PM »
I get the top grade Baltic Birch 4 by 8 sheets from my wood supplier. He will deliver for $20. I can also  rent a truck from Home Depot for $25 per hour.

 Buying the top grade of BB saves a lot of time sanding and hiding blemishes.
Birdhunter

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 4034
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2020, 04:32 PM »
Rick, you might do well to check out Garnica plywood.  It's high-quality stuff.  It's available from Atlantic Plywood in Charlotte.

Charlotte, NC
Sales Office

3428 Vane Court
Charlotte, NC 28206

Sales Department:
    p: (800) 899-8122

Sales Hours:
    Mon – Thurs: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
    Friday: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm

Will Call Hours:
    Mon – Thurs: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
    Friday: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm

- Willy -

  "Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. 
  The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass."

 - Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830-1898)

Offline afish

  • Posts: 122
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2020, 05:11 PM »
So this will only help to give you a price comparison since they are here in Florida.  You should be able to find a plywood distributer near you though.  I dont buy any sheet goods from HD.  They dont list their Russian birch but I want to say it was around 60 a sheet unfinished 3/4 last time. 

https://imeca.com/products/birch-prefinished-plywood?variant=23271623301

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 300
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2020, 05:49 PM »
Thanks guys, appreciate the suggestions but I would like to get some help with the original problem.

I am trying to understand plywood grades and if bumping up in cost really does give you a better product.  In most things in life bumping up to the highest cost does not always give you that much bang for your buck.  Those are the opinions/experience I am trying to find here. 

Another example is would the BB grade really be worth a 30% bump, over the C2 grade ?

Offline afish

  • Posts: 122
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2020, 06:06 PM »
That depends on where specifically you are using said plywood.  If we talking strictly carcasses then c-2 is typically perfectly acceptable.  If we are talking door fronts finished end panels etc. then no you will want to step up in the A range. 

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 300
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2020, 07:14 PM »
Thanks @afish .  Appreciate the info.  As I mentioned up top, these are basic cabinets in the kitchen, laundry, etc.  No doors are in the plan yet so just looking at carcass pieces.  They didn't give me a quote for any A grade so not sure its even available from them.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 122
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2020, 07:57 PM »
NP, I saw the locations and it seemed like you were talking about carcasses but I wasnt 100%.  I wouldnt use pre finished for doors and drawers anyways but figured I would mention it just incase you were planning on doing the doors and drawers from the same material.  You can get away with a lot with the boxes. Heck most people are used to melamine these days so just about any plywood is better in my opinion.  They also make something called cabinet liner, its plywood with laminate already applied. It is harder to get good chip free cuts on a saw though so how your cutting it can matter.  Make sure you have a few good fresh blades as its hard on them but its good for boxes too.  Durable, easy to clean and white with no defects.  Some like the wood look some like white.  I also noticed you where looking at prefinished maple.  You can go to a prefinished birch for the boxes to save some extra cash.  Birch is pretty standard by me and most I think. 

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 300
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2020, 08:54 PM »
Appreciate the thoughts. So far, the few cabinets I have done for inside all used solid wood drawer fronts and doors.  I recently made 6 wall cabinets for my shop and I tried the euro style, frameless, full overlay, using edge banded plywood.  I like them but they match absolutely nothing in my house.   These new projects will be all pre-finished maple or birch, no white/melamine insides for me.  I am leaning towards these prefinished maple sheets from Columbia, just need to decide on the grade.

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6336
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2020, 09:01 PM »
Columbia is probably the premier sheet good producer in the country.

The additional cost is probably in the final core sheet. The best is MDF balance sheet that is sanded prior to the face veneer glue in place.

I would like to try Garnica plywood, I've heard nothing but good things about it.

We are currently trying an OSB core sheet good. It is realy flat.

UV cured pre-finish is very durable. Most glues will not bind to it.

You can order the sheets, UV finished one side only.

The pieces below were run through a shaper with a Freeborn lock miter head in it.

Tom

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6336
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2020, 09:08 PM »
Go with the B-B. You wont regret it.

The last build we needed 4 sheets of 10x4 (horizontal grain) Walnut, A-1, just under 600 a sheet to have it pressed up...

Tom

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 300
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2020, 09:56 PM »
Go with the B-B. You wont regret it.

The last build we needed 4 sheets of 10x4 (horizontal grain) Walnut, A-1, just under 600 a sheet to have it pressed up...

Tom
Thanks Tom, I was hoping you would chime in.  It seems you process more plywood than just about anybody.  $600 per sheet for that walnut?  Wow....  I could look at walnut all - day - long.  Beautiful.

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6336
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2020, 10:00 PM »
A normal 4x10 sheet cost 150ish. It was the vertical grain that affected the cost.

Tom

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 300
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2020, 10:02 PM »
I didn't know 4x10 size was an option.

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6336
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2020, 10:05 PM »
I didn't know 4x10 size was an option.

I can get 4x12 or 12x4. The numbers reversed means the grain is reversed.

Tom

Offline MaineShop

  • Posts: 62
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2020, 08:00 AM »
I have used a mountain of the pre finished from columbia, it is excellent stuff and running about 100ish a sheet to by by the lift. I can also get 5x5 baltic birch from my local lumber yard for around 70ish for a 3/4 sheet. Or I can get unfinished columbia at my local HD for around 55ish. I can tell you you get what you pay for. the prefinished is worth it every time in my book. My local lumber yard also has prefinished vietnames "birch" that they sell for 60 a sheet for prefinished, its ok but the finish is no where near as good as the columbia, and the columbia is purebond so far less harsh on the chemicals

Offline pixelated

  • Posts: 241
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2020, 08:08 AM »
Does the Columbia have recognizable edge markings? My local lumber yard sells a pre-finished Maple, but I've encountered voids in the core and the core veneers don't seem like the same quality as some of the unfinished product the same yard sells.

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 300
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2020, 08:36 AM »
I have used a mountain of the pre finished from columbia, it is excellent stuff and running about 100ish a sheet to by by the lift. I can also get 5x5 baltic birch from my local lumber yard for around 70ish for a 3/4 sheet. Or I can get unfinished columbia at my local HD for around 55ish. I can tell you you get what you pay for. the prefinished is worth it every time in my book. My local lumber yard also has prefinished vietnames "birch" that they sell for 60 a sheet for prefinished, its ok but the finish is no where near as good as the columbia, and the columbia is purebond so far less harsh on the chemicals

Thank you @MaineShop .  That is pretty close to what I have here.  I have a ;umber yard, about 60 miles away.  The only prefinished they have is the Asian version.  He said he sells a lot of it but I am not comfortable taking the chance.  I have already seen the value of prefinished so I don't have a problem with the extra cost from the Columbia products.  Thanks for the confirmation on Columbia.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7770
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2020, 11:09 AM »
This is a timely discussion.  [smile]

The last couple of days I've been cutting up ply for carcasses. I purchased this stuff from Menards, it's called Tigerply. It's actually 18 mm thick, it runs .702"-.706" even though it's labeled & sold as 3/4" material.




It's a 7-ply, poplar core, pre-finished European birch with a 4-coat (2 per side) UV cured epoxy acrylate finish. Each top birch veneer is .015" thick with no plugs or knots. The stuff is rather nice especially for carcass building. Everything's flat and extremely square and a 4 x 8 sheet was only $49. Here are a couple of photos.

The only issue thus far is that the coating does scratch rather easily. Maybe they can be touched up with some wipe-on poly?




Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 300
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2020, 11:27 AM »
This is a timely discussion.  [smile]

The last couple of days I've been cutting up ply for carcasses. I purchased this stuff from Menards, it's called Tigerply. It's actually 18 mm thick, it runs .702"-.706" even though it's labeled & sold as 3/4" material.

It's a 7-ply, poplar core, pre-finished European birch with a 4-coat (2 per side) UV cured epoxy acrylate finish. Each top birch veneer is .015" thick with no plugs or knots. The stuff is rather nice especially for carcass building. Everything's flat and extremely square and a 4 x 8 sheet was only $49. Here are a couple of photos.

The only issue thus far is that the coating does scratch rather easily. Maybe they can be touched up with some wipe-on poly?

Thanks Cheese, $49 pre-finished seems like a great deal.  The closes Menards is a couple hundred miles away.  Have heard they have good deals there.

Offline Festdewalkita

  • Posts: 3
Re: Opinions on cabinet plywood grades/quality
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2020, 10:14 PM »
New here, new to woodworking.  Longtime lurker, just acquiring the needed tools to get started.

Hopefully in the vein of the OP...What is the minimum quality you'd accept for painted (non-shop) cabinets?  What's your floor for plywood that is too nice to paint?

Domino 500 Q-Set, CT Mini I, CT-VA-20, ETS EC 125/3 EQ+, DWS779, DWV012, DWE 7480, Rolair VT-20TB, Makita SP6000J