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Home Depot Birch Plywood?

I'm looking for an affordable alternative to MDF for future projects.


Has anyone used this and is as dead as MDF for speaker cabinet builds? Any downsides?

Thanks!

Jim

Comments

  • Many people consider BB superior with MDF's only advantages being cost and ease of doing roundovers/chamfers.  But like many things in audio there are countless debates.

    As for the Home Depot - I think the BB quality is mostly a hit and miss (mostly miss) affair.  Quality can vary from location to location and even from batch to batch.  IIRC the highest quality BB is Russian based and usually comes in 4' X 5' sheets.  Of course this opinion is just from reading posts over the years and is worth the paper it isn't printed on.  :)
  • I tried that once.  Very thin birch veneer over so-so quality 5 ply core (they count the front and back layers of veneer as plies).  It wasn't total junk but when stepping up from MDF I spend another $10 and get the real 13 ply baltic birch plywood from my local lumber yard (not big box store).  It comes in a weird 5' x 5' panel @ ~$66 each.
  • The nice thing I am seeing about what you posted is that all plys are at least birch. I think a lot of big box hardwood plywood is only a veneer of what wood it is called and unknown hardwood plys under it. 

    I used big box hardwood plywood on my RSX build and it worked out well for that. The ring from a knuckle wrap seemed higher in frequency than MDF. I used plywood because I can’t handle MDF dust anymore.

    If looking for a quality replacement for MDF that is stable and consistent, go with good Baltic Birch. This cheap hardwood ply is workable but not as nice to work with (minus the dust) as MDF.


  • I still like MDF and BB depending on what I'm building.  I did use this recently for some shelves and thought I might try it again for some cabinets  https://www.homedepot.com/p/18mm-Sande-Plywood-3-4-in-Category-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Actual-0-709-in-x-48-in-x-96-in-454559/203414066

    I thought is was better than the apple ply they use to carry

     John H, thanks to JP I did get that email
  • I don’t recommend it. I will be getting only BB from a small lumber yard in the future. This is what I got at HD. That is a 5.5” wide piece with two holes straight through  
    kenrhodes
  • Guys,

    Thanks for the feedback. Basically I'm hearing quality can be hit or miss and no real advantages other than dust reduction over MDF. If I do try it, I'll still veneer, laminate or paint it so the quality of the paper thin veneer they use isn't important to me. Lack of separations, voids and strength plus the ability to do a smooth round over are my big items plus the less dust.

    Baltic birch and 5x5 sheets plus the cost are show stoppers for me. I'm going to cover up the veneer on it anyway so thats not a real plus for me.

    Thanks again! I appreciate the rapid feedback!

    Jim
  • I had luck with radiata pine plywood from menards in the past.  You might also check with leachman lumber in dsm, they can order stuff from liberty hardwoods
  • True Baltic is imported and the 5x5 relates to the European standard, or so I was told.  True is so nice, the HD is OK but I wouldn't use it for anything serious or quality.  I spend the extra on the good stuff.  HD can have a lot of voids, true stuff is virtually void free and holds much better.

    Plus the veneer on the HD is nearly impossible to keep pretty compared to true.
  • Have a look at the ACX plywood at Menards.  I have used a sheet or two and only found a few small voids.  A full 4' x 8' x 3/4" sheet is $39.99 and it goes on sale from time to time for around $32.  One side is usually sanded and pretty nice, the other side usually has a bunch of football shaped patches and pink colored filler but is still smooth.
  • I used Home Depot "cabinet grade" 3/4 ply for several builds, and the quality is pretty high, never found any voids in lots of cuts. That said, I found a local supplier for true BalticBirch ply (5'x'5') sheets. Much superior, denser, deader.  One time, finishing up a pine plywood build, after veneering and finishing, I tightened up a binding post only to have it sink a bit into the surface. Never again. My time is too precious to waste on inferior products. 
    Don, Donno, or "Hey you" all work for me, But never "Mr Johnson"
  • edited February 10
    PWRRYD said:
    Have a look at the ACX plywood at Menards.  I have used a sheet or two and only found a few small voids.  A full 4' x 8' x 3/4" sheet is $39.99 and it goes on sale from time to time for around $32.  One side is usually sanded and pretty nice, the other side usually has a bunch of football shaped patches and pink colored filler but is still smooth.

    +1

    I was going to suggest ACX, but I know Menards is regional and wasn’t sure where Jim is located.

    The ACX is pretty consistent and solid. I’ve used it several times. Biggest difference I’d say is it is softer than hardwood plywood, more like pine. Pretty cheap too.
  • Yes I agree dynamo.  It certainly isn't the same as a good BB ply...  but it's not as soft as the inside of MDF.  And it makes real saw dust/chips vs the brown powder of death LOL.
  • I just picked up a sheet of ACX from Menards. Had to go thru a few pieces to find one that was reasonably flat. At $39, it is decent for the build i have next (2×12 bass guitar cabinet). 
  • I have a Menards and Lowes within 10 minutes of my house, but neither one will cut a 4x8 sheet down to a size that'll fit in my smaller SUV like Home Depot will. That makes Home Depot the top of my shopping list. My intentions are to use the baltic plywood just like MDF and take advantage of plywoods lighter weight, greater strength and less dust. I'll still finish it the same as I would MDF.
    I'll look for alternatives but transportation is a problem.
    Jim
  • brek81 said:
    I had luck with radiata pine plywood from menards in the past.  You might also check with leachman lumber in dsm, they can order stuff from liberty hardwoods

    Hi brek81,

    You sound like you're close to my neighborhood. :)
    Leachman is close and one of my sons worked at Liberty Hardwoods about 10 years ago so I'm familiar with them too. However, I have the same problem with all except Home Depot and that is cutting the 4x8 sheets to smaller more manageable sizes.
    I'm going to claim "oldsheimers" and ask if we've crossed paths at any of the DIY events? If we did and I don't remember, I apologize.

    Jim
  • jholtz said:
    I have a Menards and Lowes within 10 minutes of my house, but neither one will cut a 4x8 sheet down to a size that'll fit in my smaller SUV like Home Depot will. That makes Home Depot the top of my shopping list. My intentions are to use the baltic plywood just like MDF and take advantage of plywoods lighter weight, greater strength and less dust. I'll still finish it the same as I would MDF.
    I'll look for alternatives but transportation is a problem.
    Jim
    The Woodsmith Store on Hickman in Clive has Baltic Birch in thicknesses up to 3/4" in precut panels as small as 2' x 2'. They also have a panel saw.  This is a piece of 3/4" laying on an oak table. 



    Ron
    rjj45jholtzBillet
  • That's the good stuff!
    Don, Donno, or "Hey you" all work for me, But never "Mr Johnson"
  • Now that's Baltic 
  • Jim, I've had better luck lately at Menard's in Ankeny or Altoona, and Lowes in Altoona. But I've seldom needed to haul home in 4x8' sizes. My needs allowed for smaller sizes and Menard's often has those options with decent quality. Based on Ron's input, I think I'll be checking out Clive some time as well.

    At this moment I've got a 2x2' piece of ply beside me that I'll use to replace the keyboard tray on my desk. I got it at Menard's and it's as void free as the piece pictured by Ron above.
  • Ron_E said:
    jholtz said:
    I have a Menards and Lowes within 10 minutes of my house, but neither one will cut a 4x8 sheet down to a size that'll fit in my smaller SUV like Home Depot will. That makes Home Depot the top of my shopping list. My intentions are to use the baltic plywood just like MDF and take advantage of plywoods lighter weight, greater strength and less dust. I'll still finish it the same as I would MDF.
    I'll look for alternatives but transportation is a problem.
    Jim
    The Woodsmith Store on Hickman in Clive has Baltic Birch in thicknesses up to 3/4" in precut panels as small as 2' x 2'. They also have a panel saw.  This is a piece of 3/4" laying on an oak table. 



    Ron
    Hi Ron,

    Thanks for the tip! I hadn't thought about Woodsmith and didn't know they could cut larger sheets to smaller size.

    My wife and I are on a shopping expedition today and Woodsmith just got added to the list.

    Thanks again!

  • Turn2 said:
    Jim, I've had better luck lately at Menard's in Ankeny or Altoona, and Lowes in Altoona. But I've seldom needed to haul home in 4x8' sizes. My needs allowed for smaller sizes and Menard's often has those options with decent quality. Based on Ron's input, I think I'll be checking out Clive some time as well.

    At this moment I've got a 2x2' piece of ply beside me that I'll use to replace the keyboard tray on my desk. I got it at Menard's and it's as void free as the piece pictured by Ron above.

    Hi Rich,
    I'm going to have to explore Menards more closely and see what they have that would work for me.
    Thanks for the heads up!
    Jim
  • jholtz said:
    Hi brek81,

    You sound like you're close to my neighborhood. :)
    Leachman is close and one of my sons worked at Liberty Hardwoods about 10 years ago so I'm familiar with them too. However, I have the same problem with all except Home Depot and that is cutting the 4x8 sheets to smaller more manageable sizes.
    I'm going to claim "oldsheimers" and ask if we've crossed paths at any of the DIY events? If we did and I don't remember, I apologize.

    Jim
    Fairly close, south side of des moines.  We have met at a couple of the Iowa Diy's, but there's a lot of people :)

     Understandable on getting manageable sizes.   Woodsmith has some good quality panels in assorted sizes as others have said.  
  • I'm sorry, I'm great with faces but not so much with names. Don't hesitate to walk up to me and say hi if you want. I'd enjoy it.

    jim
  • OK, back from the shopping trip which included Woodsmith. It was exactly what I was looking for. They have various sizes and thicknesses of Baltic Burch, various hardwoods etc. A 5x5 sheet of 3/4" Baltic Burch was $58 and less than what I expected. This was a great tip! Thanks Ron!
    Jim
    hifisidePWRRYDrjj45BilletTurn2
  • jholtz said:
    OK, back from the shopping trip which included Woodsmith. It was exactly what I was looking for. They have various sizes and thicknesses of Baltic Burch, various hardwoods etc. A 5x5 sheet of 3/4" Baltic Burch was $58 and less than what I expected. This was a great tip! Thanks Ron!
    Jim
    Dude. you will never regret building with real Baltic Birch ply. I will never use anything else. Glad you found a source (for the addiction)
    Billet
    Don, Donno, or "Hey you" all work for me, But never "Mr Johnson"
  • You're welcome Jim. I'm glad you found what you needed. I use BB for almost all my cabinets these days.

    Ron
    Billet
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