Author Topic: Problems finishing Baltic Birch  (Read 1137 times)

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Offline crustacean

  • Posts: 22
Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« on: June 16, 2020, 08:22 PM »
Hi,

I am trying to finish cabinet parts made of Baltic Birch ply with Rubio Monocoat, but I am running in to problems with some parts developing weird streaks in the direction of the grain. I have no idea why, since all the pieces were sanded and finished the same way.

Here is a picture (it is a bit hard to see). But it looks awful. Any ideas why this is happening would be welcome.

Thanks,

Nike


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Offline crustacean

  • Posts: 22
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2020, 12:35 AM »
For the record, in case anybody cares — I am convinced that sheet of plywood must have gotten wet at some point. It looks like a water stain. Good thing it was just a tester....

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 1111
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2020, 05:36 AM »
I’ve had patches appear when applying finishes to certain ply, and it turned out the layers were not bonded properly, and glue missing. So I guess this allowed the finish to soak through causing patches.

You shouldn’t get this with Baltic birch ply though. It could be moisture staining but, I would think you’d notice it before, and during sanding.

I was at one of my regular timber suppliers before lockdown, they showed me some ply that was termed as medium quality, as that’s how it was sold to them.
The ply had dimples and dents in the surface.
They cut pieces and opened them up, to find sawdust, shavings and glue had been used as fillers, some in large areas  [scared]

They were battling with the supplier to get refunded. The supplier has a good reputation, which could of been ruined instantly, had they sold any.

Offline kcufstoidi

  • Posts: 902
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2020, 07:29 AM »
What you are seeing is quite normal when finishing birch veneer? I've got the same thing from finishing with both solvent and water borne finishes.

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 1111
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2020, 08:08 PM »
What you are seeing is quite normal when finishing birch veneer? I've got the same thing from finishing with both solvent and water borne finishes.

Not seen that on Baltic birch ply but, having said that, not much of our ply gets a finish, it used mainly for rear panels and strengtheners. When I have finished it, I’ve not noticed such patches.

Offline crustacean

  • Posts: 22
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2020, 12:34 AM »
Jiggy— It is interesting what you say about ply from a reputable supplier being poor quality.

I had exactly the same experience with Baltic Birch (different sheet, same supplier) where the top veneer formed dimples and blisters. Sanding the face veneer showed that the top face had been filled with some orange crud and the interior sheet plies were full of voids.

The sheet in the picture above was supposed to be a replacement for the first one! I will not be buying from that store in future.


Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 1111
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2020, 06:52 AM »
Jiggy— It is interesting what you say about ply from a reputable supplier being poor quality.

I had exactly the same experience with Baltic Birch (different sheet, same supplier) where the top veneer formed dimples and blisters. Sanding the face veneer showed that the top face had been filled with some orange crud and the interior sheet plies were full of voids.

The sheet in the picture above was supposed to be a replacement for the first one! I will not be buying from that store in future.

Yes, I’m told this filling with dust and glue etc, is getting more common.
It’s terrible the amount of warped sheets around now too. I was in a home improvement store a few days ago, I needed some 9mm ply. It wasn’t Baltic birch but, should still have been reasonably straight.

I pulled out three sheets all bowed, when I looked, I noticed it had been stacked on just two bearers, one each end, nothing in the middle.
When I told the assistant, he said yeah, I’ll sort that out, bit late now I replied?

Another thing I see now all the time, lengths of timber at the suppliers is just leaned against the dividers, not stacked and weighted like the old days.

Space saving is the reason I’m told but, what about all the wasted bent timber? In the UK now, I find the quality of timber quite poor, even some of the expensive stuff.

We mainly buy all sawn now and machine and dry it ourselves, as we get products warping etc otherwise.
Great shame.

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 839
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2020, 07:40 PM »

Yes, I’m told this filling with dust and glue etc, is getting more common.
It’s terrible the amount of warped sheets around now too. I was in a home improvement store a few days ago, I needed some 9mm ply. It wasn’t Baltic birch but, should still have been reasonably straight.

I pulled out three sheets all bowed, when I looked, I noticed it had been stacked on just two bearers, one each end, nothing in the middle.
When I told the assistant, he said yeah, I’ll sort that out, bit late now I replied?

Another thing I see now all the time, lengths of timber at the suppliers is just leaned against the dividers, not stacked and weighted like the old days.

Space saving is the reason I’m told but, what about all the wasted bent timber? In the UK now, I find the quality of timber quite poor, even some of the expensive stuff.


They must have spied on Home Depot and Lowes in the US and took our storage tech back to the UK.     What you describe here is the norm.  Bundles of ply on 2 beams, or worse resting on something under a corner or such warping the whole pile. Not that the plywood was good to start.    Similar mess with lumber.   Nothing gets placed on a solid base/flat.  Lots of wood on end.  Everything is bent.  You can go to multiple stores just to try and find a bundle of plywood (or any lumber) that was even stored well.   Not that they toss it, they sell it to folks who just accept it.

At least when you go to dedicated stores for things like ply material they store it right.

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 1005
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2020, 02:55 AM »
Jiggy, I have seen this here, bubbling and lifting, once primer is applied.  [scared] [mad] We never took the time to cut into it like your supplier did, because we were just trying to get the job done. But that is lousy quality control, isn't it? Grrrr. And it isn't just at the Big Box stores. It's just more troubling after paying the higher price for supposedly better material from the legit lumber yard and that turns out to be a problem, as well.



The ply had dimples and dents in the surface.
They cut pieces and opened them up, to find sawdust, shavings and glue had been used as fillers, some in large areas  [scared]



Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 1111
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2020, 04:24 AM »
@DeformedTree @Rob Z What a waste eh guys? This probably adds to the price increases, they buy in the sub quality ply, store it badly, causing more quality issues, or mostly ruining it.

To be fair, the main timber suppliers we use, supply decent ply but, a single sheet price for an 8’ 4’ 3/4” is £100, obviously we get discount on bulk. It’s good ply, very good to be honest but, at that price, it should be.

Just reminiscing now, when I first started work, my boss (George) mountain of a man, arms like tree trunks and fingers like bananas, hard as nails but also good hearted. Nobody messed with George haha!
Anyway, when we needed bulk stock, George would borrow the scaffolder’s big long flat bed truck/lorry, and summon me to accompany him to the timber mill.

On arrival at the mill, George would hand me a claw hammer, and a metal paint kettle half full of 2” nails and a ball of string.
He would carry a bag of small white cards as we walked around the mill and the drying sheds with an assistant.

We would get to the first stock we needed, often 12” x 2” sawn, George would say something like 25 of those please.
Then the assistant would watch, whilst I sifted through 25 lengths, only picking the straightest, back then, most of them being stored correctly were staight, so that part was easy.
I resembled something like Oliver Twist back then, and wrestling long lengths of 12” x 2” was a real workout.
Anyway, once I’d stacked our choice, I tied a string loop around our bundle, George would hand me a card with instructions he’d written, and I’d nail it to the top of the bundle.
This process was repeated right through the mill until we had picked our order.

George when then give the assistant the nod, for him to get it loaded onto the truck.
We would walk about 50 yards to a transport cafe, and he’d order two full English breakfasts that we’d demolish, followed by a few mugs of tea. George always laughed at me having as big an appetite as him.

We then walked back to the mill to pay for the timber and head back to our yard, and me dreading it, because I knew I’d be unloading and storing it all.
It was a love hate trip for me, the breakfast being the draw!  [big grin]

It was very long winded and hard work, because George had little trust in the mill selecting and delivering. It worked though, the company was renowned for our workmanship and quality of timber.
Never ever saw timber leaning on end, or sheet material badly stacked. One of the mills from back then is still in business but, with around six times the amount of stock, stored badly. I think that’s the main issue.
It must be false economy though?

Offline CeeJay

  • Posts: 133
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2020, 04:50 AM »
Jiggy - I love your George story!

I just got a quote for 11 sheets of Tasmanian oak veneered 18mm ply for a library fit out.

Works out to $250 a sheet (Aussie) delivered. So that’s £140 in your money.

Still cheaper, quicker and easier than solid Tas oak though....


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline deepcreek

  • Posts: 914
    • TimberFire Studio
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2020, 10:49 AM »
Years ago, I remember looking at some Chinese "baltic" birch plywood (for cabinet boxes) at my local hardwood supplier.  I noticed it was slightly more expensive than I had seen at another supplier.  The buyer explained that there were over 300 mills in China that produced plywood but only two were worth having.
Joe Adams
TimberFire Studio
Houston, Texas

http://www.facebook.com/timberfire

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 839
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2020, 01:23 PM »
... mountain of a man, arms like tree trunks and fingers like bananas, hard as nails but also good hearted.


You worked for a Sloth?  That had to make a lot of stories :)

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 1005
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2020, 02:04 PM »
Jiggy,

 I would have liked to have met George.  [big grin] We should start an "Old Bosses" thread. I am sure we would get some good stories.

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 1111
Re: Problems finishing Baltic Birch
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2020, 08:06 PM »
Yes George was a character for sure. One evening, he, and a carpenter who was teaching me, a plumber and two bricklayers, and myself were invited for a pint or two by George.

We went to an east London pub where his cousin was the landlord, I used to drunk on three pints then! Anyway, we were having a good time playing pool.
This gang of tarmac layers came in. I whooped them all at pool, not for money but, they took offence, and started getting abusive with a plumber and me.

A fight broke out, the plumber and me were doing ok but, then George stood up, and shouted enough! Leave these boys alone!
The tarmac gang looked at the size of George, and I think they figured they’d all take him on.  [scared]
Big mistake, as they were going at George, he was knocking them out cold, left and right punches!
I’d never seen anything like apart from the films. George’s long term employees didn’t help him, as they’d seen him perform a few times, haha! He sorted them all out, and ordered another round of drinks!

Normally, and with his family, he was a big hearted gent but, when the mist came down, he was like a machine.

I still speak to his son every so often, who is now an old man himself. I loved those days, and was happy working for him and his son but, I was keen to better myself and earn more money. He and his son were good teachers though, and I appreciate all they did for me.

Sorry for going of topic but, a book could of been written about George.  [wink]