Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So, I have a lot general ideas of my own based on my experiences; plus I've heard all the tales on what's junk and what works. I'm curious what you guys think based on your experiences.

(Here's where I might be setting myself up for a good flaming!) For custom cabinets, I've actually found the Purebond ply at HD, as well as (I don't remember the manufacturer) the birch ply that Lowes sells pretty good; HD's Purebond is usually my go to for it when I'm building cabinets. HD's Purebond is a poplar core, 5 layer ply, while the Lowes birch I think is what some people refer to as appleply and is 9 ply (for 3/4"). I hear everyone talk about how it's junk, but I personally haven't seen why and my experience w/ it has been quite pleasent.

Sandeply from HD is pure garbage. I tried that stuff once and after a couple days of cutting panels a bunch of it started to majorly delaminate, not to mention how soft the face is.

For my drawer boxes, I use either Menards or Woodcraft's Baltic birch. Once again, I've heard a lot of people claim that Menards BB is trash; but again, my experience w/ it is quite different and I found it to be good ply.

For face frames and doors on painted cabinets, I use MDF w/ a lot of success. I've never been daring enough to use MDF for a painted cabinet, and my reason for that is the way it soaks water like a sponge. I was always worried it wouldn't last if I used it to make the base cabinets, plus I like the look of the plys on the bottoms of the upper cabinets.

My reason for buying from Lowes and HD is, I've tried the ply from the local lumber yard (Standard Lumber) and didn't think it was as good as Purebond. I've also paid $90/sheet from a place here called Tontin, but I found it was exactly the same as HD's $60/sheet Purebond.

One other thing I thought I'd throw out there, I heard the difference between Baltic and Finnish birch was the glue used to laminate the plys. Finnish is exterior grade and Baltic isn't. Is this true?

Just curious what you guys are using and why, plus what you have found if or when you use big box store ply compared to local lumber yard ply. Why is the popular consensus that the big box store's ply is junk? Has anyone here used it and came to that conclusion and if so, why?
 

·
Jeff
Joined
·
1,485 Posts
I personally use alot of the HD ply. Gotta watch though you might get 20 sheets one day of the C-3 thats beautiful. The next lift can be really bad. Other than that i think the HD birch or maple finishes alot better than the stuff i get from lumber yard for twice the price. For some reason the lumberyard carries a fir core which i dont care for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Ply

This is something I am concerned with on every project. I use a domestic maple ply that comes in 48 1/2" x 96 1/2" sheets. It comes from a cabinet supply chain called Wurth. Forgot that Man. name but can look at it next time I am in the shop. I have used many types of birch ply that is trash. The worst is the chinese made where the plys overlap each other in the core. One thing to look for in a good cab ply is consistency of the thickness. I have used some that vary among sheets and it can effect the construction of boxes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,864 Posts
My take is that the quality varies dramatically from region to region. Were I'm at it's garbage for the most part, but have gotten lucky on occasion. If you're getting true Appleply, it should be good stuff. At least from what I've heard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,439 Posts
We've had tons of problems with Columbia Forrest Products veneer core plywood. It may just be the mill that our stuff is coming out of because others here don't seem to have the problems we've had but, I consider the stuff complete garbage and don't ever plan on using it again.

We were able to get one load of veneer core Cherry plywood by Murphy that was awesome. Fantastic looking veneer, very good thickness tolerances, and the majority of the sheets were straight. Unfortunately, it's looking unlikely that we'll be able to get it again.

Another of our suppliers has started stocking Timber Products Pro-Core MDF panels (veneer core with outer MDF crossbands) and they look promising. We've only used a few sheets of their B-2 Maple so far but it was pretty nice stuff. Very good thickness tolerances, better veneers than the Columbia B-2 sheets and fairly straight sheets.

You should try to find a plywood distributor near you that stocks veneer core plywood with the MDF crossbands. That stuff is so much nicer than regular one-step veneer core that you're going to get at Lowes and Home Depot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
You should try to find a plywood distributor near you that stocks veneer core plywood with the MDF crossbands. That stuff is so much nicer than regular one-step veneer core that you're going to get at Lowes and Home Depot.
I tried a few years ago and couldn't find many that weren't overpriced; I found one here locally, which is ironic because Grand Rapids is only 1/2 hour drive from me and we're known for our furniture :blink:. He wouldn't give me the time of day because I'm small potatoes compared to who they normally deal w/ and said I had to purchase a min of like $10k/year or something like that. At that point I just decided to stick w/ the big box stores for my ply.

I tried Woodcraft's ply, but it's kind of overpriced and not much different, if at all, than the big box store's plys. Maybe I'll call my cabinet hardware guy and see if he knows of any new, cost effective guys. I also heard a rumor that ply is supposed to go up again soon.

Thanks for the replies, also for the links! So many rumors about what's good and what isn't, just trying to sort the wive's tales from the facts!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,439 Posts
I tried a few years ago and couldn't find many that weren't overpriced; I found one here locally, which is ironic because Grand Rapids is only 1/2 hour drive from me and we're known for our furniture :blink:. He wouldn't give me the time of day because I'm small potatoes compared to who they normally deal w/ and said I had to purchase a min of like $10k/year or something like that. At that point I just decided to stick w/ the big box stores for my ply.

I tried Woodcraft's ply, but it's kind of overpriced and not much different, if at all, than the big box store's plys. Maybe I'll call my cabinet hardware guy and see if he knows of any new, cost effective guys. I also heard a rumor that ply is supposed to go up again soon.

Thanks for the replies, also for the links! So many rumors about what's good and what isn't, just trying to sort the wive's tales from the facts!
That's one problem we don't have around here. None of our suppliers have min. yearly orders.

The pro-core MDF sheets are more expensive than regular B-2 sheets that we were getting. It's roughly $65 a sheet vs. $55 sheet. Oddly enough, the nice Cherry sheets we got were actually the same price or maybe a couple dollars cheaper that the junk we were getting. I don't remember the exact price but they both were in the $90-100 range.

The advantages of the better products more than make up for the slightly higher prices. Thickness tolerances are far better, no voids (MDF crossbands) or all voids filled (higher end veneer core) in the outer crossbands that stop unsightly lines or holes in the finished product, better face veneers that not only look better but are also easier to finish, and if you're lucky, they're straighter.

I know we've wasted hours and hours of time screwing around with junk plywood to end up with a finished product that we could actually ship out the door. We save money by spending the extra $10 a sheet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
That's one problem we don't have around here. None of our suppliers have min. yearly orders.

The pro-core MDF sheets are more expensive than regular B-2 sheets that we were getting. It's roughly $65 a sheet vs. $55 sheet. Oddly enough, the nice Cherry sheets we got were actually the same price or maybe a couple dollars cheaper that the junk we were getting. I don't remember the exact price but they both were in the $90-100 range.

The advantages of the better products more than make up for the slightly higher prices. Thickness tolerances are far better, no voids (MDF crossbands) or all voids filled (higher end veneer core) in the outer crossbands that stop unsightly lines or holes in the finished product, better face veneers that not only look better but are also easier to finish, and if you're lucky, they're straighter.

I know we've wasted hours and hours of time screwing around with junk plywood to end up with a finished product that we could actually ship out the door. We save money by spending the extra $10 a sheet.
You've peaked my interest for sure. I'm now on the hunt for the pro-core MDF!! Thanks for the heads up!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Another important thing to me is the face veneer thickness. The stuff at HD and the chinese made( I don't know where the HD product is made) is about 1/80" thick and you sand through it if wipe your hand over it a couple of times. The kind I use has a 1/32" veneer. Picking through a stack of it does not change poor manufacturing standards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
I have tried to stay away from cabinet building also but in my area it seems like you can get more money for them now than you could a couple of years ago. I also spent the entire winter outdoors so I could use some indoor work!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I solved all my plywood issues, by trying not to use plywood in my projects.

I try hard to stay away from cabinets as there are too many Amish cabinet guys around here.
I actually LOVE building custom cabinets. You are right, it can be tough to compete but I don't humor cheap people; you can either pay me to do it or find someone else. I'm not ridiculously expensive, but I'm not the cheapest either.

I love the "Amish" cabinet and furniture guys too :rolleyes:. Of course it's tough to compete w/ them when they get their kids out their working for free. The other thing about them that gets me is they refuse electricity, unless they're using it for profit. Seems like a sketchy line to me. We have a lot of Amish shops around here as well, I'm not all that enamored w/ the quality and there's nothing hand made about the stuff; at least not anymore hand made than what I build.
 

·
Trim Carpenter/Remodeler
Joined
·
31 Posts
If it's a small painted job I'll stop by HD & fish through several to get a few good sheets. Like mentioned you can't sand much on this stuff & no way to get a good stain job out of it. I'm fortunate to have also mentioned a DSI here in Southern Ohio...you just can't beat this supplier when you need a lot of material especially if it's getting stained.
 

·
Finish Carpenter
Joined
·
4,999 Posts
I posted a link at one time that gave you a SKU to order Columbia Forrest Products from Home Depot. No min size, about a 2 week lead time. You can go on Columbia Forrest's web page, look at what they make and call your pro-desk wit this SKU and tell them what you want. About 50% of the time they don't know what your talking about, but if you have them call CFP, CFP will guide them through the process. Once you "teach" your local store you should have to again. The PureBond HD stocks is the lower grade of CFP, they offer so much more, that being said, I use alot of the Birch b/c it is quick and easy to get plus stays reasonably flat.... I want to try their J core stuff.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top