plywood choice for garage shelves - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 12-15-2012, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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plywood choice for garage shelves

I need to replace some shelves in my garage. They came in metal frame kits, you've probably seen them for sale at Home Depot. $70 for metal frame and 5 pieces of crappy chip board. The chip board on all of mine is bowing so time to replace it with something that will last longer.

I thought I should use a lumber that is good for outdoor use since the garage varies in temperature and humidity a lot. I am not going to spend time painting or sealing them.

I just quickly looked on Home Depot's web site (closest place to me) and I did not find cedar plywood. I thought cedar would be the best kind.

If I go to the nearby 84 lumber yard, are they likely to have cedar plywood in 3/4" 4x4 sheets? I would rather not buy 4x8 because I wanted to use the table saw and I don't have enough feed tables to rip 4x8s on it yet.

I don't want to ask the lumber yard to rip full sheets in half for me unless they are going to do it with precision. My shelves need to be 23 15/16" deep and 47 15/16" wide to match the dimension of the original chip board. If they didn't divide 4x8s exactly right my saw kerf would use up too much material to get two shelves out of each 4x4. This is also why I would rather use the table saw than circular saw.
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-15-2012, 06:18 PM
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I don't know that I'd be willing to trust them to rip for me either. Any chance you could get someone you trust to help you on your own table saw?
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-15-2012, 06:31 PM
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I don't think I've ever seen cedar plywood. The most cost effective shelving would be MDF, as long as it was sealed. Moisture would create sagging even in plywood if not sealed. Cutting with a circular saw would be my choice. Just clamp a straight edge on it.
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-15-2012, 06:32 PM
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I would not be concerned about using an outdoor material.

Yes, in the garage you will get temp and humidity changes. That is NOT like being outdoors where it RAINS.

Do not waste your time or money. The standard old plywood in my garage has lasted over 35 y ears.

George
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post #5 of 22 Old 12-15-2012, 06:44 PM
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CDX would be my choice for that job. It isn't pretty, but one side will be smooth (with fillers). If you have good measurements, and watch the yard guy closely, I can't see why you wouldn't get dimensions you need.
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post #6 of 22 Old 12-15-2012, 07:03 PM
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Ditto on the cdx. It is made with exterior glue, 5/8" minimum.
Mike Hawkins
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-15-2012, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I could use CDX. It is certainly a lot cheaper than cedar, which actually costs more than oak plywood, if you can believe that.

I can get someone to help me rip it, but even with two people, it's still hard to rip a 4x8 without proper feed tables. I guess I could just stop procrastinating and make the tables!
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post #8 of 22 Old 12-15-2012, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
which actually costs more than oak plywood, if you can believe that.
What I wouldn't believe would be cedar ply cheaper than oak. - lol

If you have a curcular saw, two sawhorses, and a chalk line you should be good to go. Shelves don't need cabinet quality edges so if you can stay reasonably close to a chalk line, you'll be fine. If you really have to get pretty edges, get a straight edge and some clamps and use that as a saw guide.
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post #9 of 22 Old 12-15-2012, 10:22 PM
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OSB would also work fine, maybe more stable than plywood. If your worried about sagging, just nail/glue a 1x2 along the bottom of the front edges

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #10 of 22 Old 12-16-2012, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe it's helpful to post a link to the shelf frame: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...ctId=202067997

The shelves are supported by an extrusion on all four sides. This means the closer the shelf is to the correct size, the more support it has.

Because the shelf is 23 15/16" x 47 15/16" a small error would mean I don't get two shelves from a 4x4 or four shelves from a 4x8. Or if I use the mis-cut piece anyway, it is not supported as well. That is why I want to get the cut right. It's not about appearance.

I guess this matters less with CDX because the material is cheaper, but still, I need to cut 25 of these so that's a lot of money in plywood if I make a bunch of errors. If I don't make any cut mistakes the CDX would cost about $250 (I think) starting from 4x8s. Cedar about $550 from 4x8s.
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post #11 of 22 Old 12-16-2012, 01:22 AM
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there are 50" circular saw cutting guides that clamp across plywood for such tasks. i have one from Emerson which gets good reviews and i've seen other brands at the hardware stores which may be in the same ballpark ($30). just gotta look at em closely to make sure they're not bent/bowed. the wood has to be flat against some supports, though, or else the saw plate's edge can dive past the straight edge if the wood sags.

if you're not too concerned with where the wood comes from, i've been able to pick up sheets of plywood off Freecycle. may not be exactly new, but they're free. if time is of the essence, though, you're better off buying.

good luck and let us know how the project goes since i have the same type of shelves and predict i too will need to replace those flimsy shelves in the future.
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post #12 of 22 Old 12-16-2012, 09:47 AM
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Hi Jeff - Link helped, nice shelf unit. I'd pick up a 1x3x6' 4S4 pine from HD, about $4, for a straight edge. Should be wide enough to clamp down without interfering with a circ saw. Just make sure to double check your offset and account for the kerf and you should be great. Support will also be important. I lay the stuff on the ground with some 4x4's under it, I have heard some that pick up a piece of 2" thick foam board insulation to lay the stuff on. Good Luck

John

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post #13 of 22 Old 12-16-2012, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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I understand what you guys are saying about the straight edge. I have some 78" pieces of aluminum angle that are very straight. It sounds like it will be time-consuming to set up every cut and stretch out to push the saw 4 feet, but at least that is an alternative to dragging 4x8s across the table saw without really having the tables for it.

I'll go get materials in a couple days and decide if I want to go ahead and build feed tables now or go with the fenced circular saw method.

Thanks!
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post #14 of 22 Old 12-16-2012, 11:27 AM
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For such a project with such simple pieces that dont need to be that accurate just set the plywood on saw horses and snap a chalkline and use a circular saw. I mean come on were not building a jewelry box here.
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post #15 of 22 Old 12-16-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyjames View Post
For such a project with such simple pieces that dont need to be that accurate just set the plywood on saw horses and snap a chalkline and use a circular saw. I mean come on were not building a jewelry box here.
OP did indicated he wanted 1/16" accuracy.

John

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post #16 of 22 Old 12-16-2012, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffsw6 View Post
I guess I could use CDX. It is certainly a lot cheaper than cedar, which actually costs more than oak plywood, if you can believe that.

I can get someone to help me rip it, but even with two people, it's still hard to rip a 4x8 without proper feed tables. I guess I could just stop procrastinating and make the tables!
Just go purchase a couple of roller stands. With just my wife as a catcher (to keep the wood from rolling right off the back of the stands) and two roller stands I have no problem with 4x8, 3/4 plywood.

George
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post #17 of 22 Old 12-17-2012, 04:42 PM
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Cedar Plywood

I wouldn't worry about the shelving material not being able to withstand the temperature changes, it is the moisture that is a problem, and being in the garage, and being sealed would give you no problems. The problem, as I see it, is the size of the plywood being 48"x96" and no room for error with a saw kerf. The answer is simple, use indoboard (industrial particle board) which is 97"x49". The only problem....I don't know if the big box stores carry it. But you should be able to find it, it is used by many cabinet makers. One problem, it is really heavy. I would think wherever you buy it they could cross-cut it in half making the 48-1/2" pieces easier to handle. If you have trouble finding it in your area, just contact a cabinet shop and they could tell you where they get theirs.

Best of Luck,

Bandman
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post #18 of 22 Old 12-17-2012, 05:00 PM
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The MDF sheets at Lowe's/HD around here are oversized in each dimension, too, if all you're worried about is losing the saw kerf. Have it ripped to close to spec and then finish it yourself with a circular saw guide of some kind. I wanted 3 x 16" strips once and the saw operator was actually surprised to know that he could actually get that for me on his panel saw with the extra inch on there. You may want to wander around and check the signs for the different sheet goods, since the employees may think everything is 4x8 on the nose.
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post #19 of 22 Old 12-17-2012, 05:22 PM
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LOL probably not the time to mention that I used OSB for my shelves. I have a picture around here somewhere of me standing on them too.
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post #20 of 22 Old 12-17-2012, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ctwiggs1 View Post
LOL probably not the time to mention that I used OSB for my shelves. I have a picture around here somewhere of me standing on them too.
I have also used Oriented Strand Board (OSB). In my garage I first use anything that is already there. Looks has no input!!! Convenience and cost are the drivers.

George
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