OSB or Plywood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-26-2020, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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OSB or Plywood

Jig Making - Ihave always used plywood for making jigs and sled. I read a little about OSB but not yet convinced. It definitely is somewhat less expensive and so here are my questions in relation to the bottom of sleds - Ply vs. OSB

1) which is heavier?
2) Which has more flex as in shelving
3) Which has more strength both horizontally and vertically.
4) I always used ply for the surface of my workbenches. Will OSB be a good alternative for the other layers under the ply top?

Thanks in advance

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post #2 of 9 Old 02-26-2020, 04:05 PM
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I hate OSB ......

I had to choose which to use when covering the studs inside my garage, 1/2" plywood or 1/2" OSB. It was probably 2X the cost for the plywood, BUT I used it anyway. It paints up much better and screws hold much better. It will bend easier because plywood uses the tension in the outer skins to resist it. OSB has no such skin. I would NEVER use it for any jig in the woodshop. The only use I have for it is sheathing under the siding and even that is not the best in my opinion, BUT there aren't other choices.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-26-2020, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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And so, what are the other choices?

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post #4 of 9 Old 02-26-2020, 04:26 PM
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For fixtures, jigs, and templates I use either 1/2" Baltic Birch or MDF, both 1/2" and 3/4". I keep BB on hand because of cutting Longworth chucks so if I need MDF, other than the few small pieces I have on hand, then I have to run to the big box store. So BB gets the call most of the time. About 25% of my fixtures are made of Walnut and Maple, though, because I like the way they look together, even for fixtures.

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post #5 of 9 Old 02-26-2020, 04:50 PM
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Osb is useful as a subfloor and roofing material, although there are people who will claim it's useless for that too. It's almost completely useless in a woodshop though. There's no dimensional stability, no structural integrity. Wond hold screws, chips and flakes everywhere, it's just a mess

For jigs and sleds, embrace MDF. Now, you can't work with it in the exact same way as plywood, for example screws work different in MDF and you have to mix up how you glue to get the best results, but it's a very minor learning curve. MDF is also dimensionally stable, flat, and consistent. You won't find voids or imperfections in the center of a sheet like you can with plywood, and while you can get MDF to warp it takes some doing.

Now, for shelves and load bearing applications, stick to plywood, but for a workbench too, assembly jig, crosscut sled, things of that nature, MDF works fantastically
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-26-2020, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, it's pretty much as I suspected but thought I would ask.
When I get my new shop, I'm back to Baltic Birch. I always used a lot of MDF for other things, but never used it for bottoms of sleds.
From everything I read, all it takes to get MDF water resistant is just a coat of lacquer.
My main supplier for quality hardwoods, MDF and plywood only has Baltic Birch in 5x5 sheets. About 15 to 20 mins. from them is another less used quality supplier He can get me Baltic Birch in 4X8 sheets. Dont know who the manufacturer is but I trust the supplier in his stock.
I guess I'm back to my favorite statement - "there is no cheaping out in quality woodworking".

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post #7 of 9 Old 02-27-2020, 09:23 AM
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I agree with the MDF and Baltic Birch however if you live by a Menards Store they have pretty decent sheets of Birch plywood
It isnt Baltic Birch but I would have to say its pretty close.
Its $50 for B2 grade Birch where I live in Ohio.
3/4 MDF goes for about $21
1/2 MDF is $17
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-27-2020, 09:46 AM
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Baltic Birch or mdf. To me osb is used as sheeting under exterior siding.

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post #9 of 9 Old 02-27-2020, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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I was looking something up and up popped an article about OSB talking about it has twice the shear strength of ply and is somewhat waterproof and is used in wooden I-Beams. That is the only reason I asked about OSB.

When I started woodworking I used plain old cheap pine. it was disasterous and quickly abandoned it. At the same time I used lumber grade plywood with same results. Then I took a class in woodworking and immediately went to cabinet grade ply and particle board. Shortly after, I graduated out of particle board and went to MDF. So in a very short time frame, I started using cabinet grade plywood, Baltic Birch/ApplyPly and MDF. That is all I have used in the last 35 + years. Looks like I will keep using it.

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