For All You Complainers And Whiners - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-12-2009, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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For All You Complainers And Whiners

A lot of terminology gets thrown around about plywood quality. Terms used include "cabinet grade" and "furniture grade". Here's the scoop. You can open your own plywood store and call your stock anything you like.

Getting what you pay for can apply to plywood. There's been comments about how cheap can this or that be purchased. Then in the next breath, complaints about sanding through the veneer. I very rarely would buy any hardwood plywood from a big box store, but I don't make a habit of sanding the faces to the point of going through. I might cut all the panels needed and before assembly, just run a ROS with 150x or 180x just to clean it up. That would be to remove any handling oils and scrape markings from any machining.

Keep in mind that the big box stores carry a very high production of hardwood plywood, and it could come from anywhere. Their markings may not comply with what is considered standard for the industry. Plywood can be graded for appearance or purpose.

The Hardwood Plywood Veneer Association (HPVA) has established a grading that should be stamped on the edge. It is a two (2) character code. It refers mostly to the face and back veneer. For the faces, an alpha character (A-C) is used. "A" being the best, etc. The back veneer is a number (1-4), "1" being the best. Basically the grading follows the quality of the veneer, repairs and allowable defects. For example a sheet stamped "A1" would have a good face and a good back. A sheet stamped "A4" would have a good face and a back not intended to be visible, like a back to a cabinet. Grading any other way suggests that the plywood is of a construction or structural nature, not graded as "decorative".

As for the quality of the face veneers, the big box stores usually carry a "rotary cut" veneer faced plywood. That process utilizes the tree more productively. At a good hardwood supplier, there are several choices for the type of face veneer. To look more like the lumber you may want whats called "plain sliced" veneer. It is cut differently from the tree. Here is the cut explanation:

Knowing what to look for, with the type of veneer of a decent thickness might save you some headache and make you a better shopper.

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post #2 of 10 Old 08-12-2009, 08:41 AM
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Very concise and informative.
Thank you C-man.

Do like you always do,,,, get what you always get!!
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-12-2009, 08:52 AM
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I learned that years ago dealing with my lumber/plywood wholesaler. It pays to get quality sheet goods because it will show in the finished project.



Last edited by red; 08-12-2009 at 08:54 AM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-12-2009, 11:45 AM
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Cabinetman, very good advice and well stated. Anybody who has ever shopped for lumber with the intent of buying the cheapest possible plywood with no regard for the actual intent of the plywood on the project has learned your lesson the hardway - or maybe they don't know there is a better more suitable option out there. I am not ashamed to admit that I myself have shopped for a bargain instead of buying what I really needed and the end result showed. An extra $25.00 paid for sheet of A grade material might as well be a $500.00 savings when you end up with a crappy, blotchy, wavy finish. And once your project is done, and finish is applied - that is it. You can't undo it or even re-do it.

You speak wise words Cabinetman.


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post #5 of 10 Old 08-12-2009, 12:07 PM
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Useful information proposed in a rather unconstructive manner.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-12-2009, 07:01 PM
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Even though I am neither a complainer nor a whiner I decided to read this post and I am glad I did. I learned something new that will definitely help me in the future. Thanks for putting this together Cabinetman.
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-12-2009, 08:56 PM
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I am kind of a complainer and a whiner, so this was perfect for me. Just the information I was looking for for my next project (being that my last one worked, but I would have preferred better plywood...that is my whiplaint). Thanks for the info!
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-12-2009, 09:39 PM
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Great information and very well presented, but I was surprized by the unfriendly attitude. Perhaps you didn't mean it the way it sounded.


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post #9 of 10 Old 08-13-2009, 12:49 AM
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What tree does my mellimine come from?
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-13-2009, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by scribbles View Post
What tree does my mellimine come from?

No problem...that will buff right out.
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