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Hi, I wonder if anyone from NY can direct me to the good lumber store with decent prices on baltic birch plywood. Got one shop in Brooklyn that asks $63 for 5x5 3/8" plywood and found another seller in Arizona selling same panels just for $23. A bit confusing difference in the cost from coast to coast.
 

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Hi, I wonder if anyone from NY can direct me to the good lumber store with decent prices on baltic birch plywood. Got one shop in Brooklyn that asks $63 for 5x5 3/8" plywood and found another seller in Arizona selling same panels just for $23. A bit confusing difference in the cost from coast to coast.
Are the grades of plywood the same from both shops? I know things can be more expensive on the east coast but that difference in price seems a bit crazy. I just ordered a dozen sheets of 5x5 3/4" BB plywood that I'm picking up on Thursday.

I can't recommend a place in NY but I can share what I pay in Wisconsin:
Baltic_Prices_Jul_2020.jpg
 

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They’re most likely different products. That’s about what it runs for 5x5’s at my supplier.

I never use it the other A grade Baltic they carry in 4x8 sheets is good enough for cabinetry and jigs.
 

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Can't find my receipt but I recently bought some Baltic Birch ply - NOT Russian Birch
These prices are approx from memory and the actual sizes are in mm's. 1/4" for $18, 1/2 for $25 and 3/4" for $34. I bought the stain grade. Paint grade was slightly less expensive. The difference between the 2 is in the outer layers. The stain grade has less blemishes..
I use it mainly for drawer sides and bottoms. Occasionally, I will need a fairly rigid 1/4" sheet of something. That something usually is Baltic Birch Ply.
These purchases were made in the NW part of Houston, Texas at Houston Hardwoods.
 

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@difalkner Thanks for reminding me, I do use it for jigs and fixtures also. I dont believe the stain grade face is near what we would normally find as what I call furniture or Cabinet grade. I will find out more about the stain and paint grade difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Are the grades of plywood the same from both shops? I know things can be more expensive on the east coast but that difference in price seems a bit crazy. I just ordered a dozen sheets of 5x5 3/4" BB plywood that I'm picking up on Thursday.

I can't recommend a place in NY but I can share what I pay in Wisconsin:
View attachment 424802
Thank you, Bernie. I'll contact them to see if they ship out of state and for what cost. The one in Arizona charges for shipping $99 and still it is $2 cheaper when buying it locally in NYC.
 

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I just looked up my local supplier’s price list (near Syracuse, NY) for 5x5 BB. The grade is not listed. The amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar:

1/4” $48
1/2” $80
3/4” $91

I will need a few sheets of 1/2” in a few months for some drawers but not at these prices. When the time comes I’ll have to call around to see if anyone else in the area carries BB.
 

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Here in Virginia I pay about $30 for 1/2" 5x5 and $35 for 3/4. (Wurth Wood Group) Years ago I did a job in NYC and got materials from Manhattan Laminates, I think they are located in Long Island.
 

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I just looked up my local supplier’s price list (near Syracuse, NY) for 5x5 BB. The grade is not listed. The amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar:

1/4” $48
1/2” $80
3/4” $91

I will need a few sheets of 1/2” in a few months for some drawers but not at these prices. When the time comes I’ll have to call around to see if anyone else in the area carries BB.
That's some crazy prices. I'm paying less than half for BB. If you had a large order, would be worth taking a trip out of state. Kind of like the folks to with the cigarettes, come from the North East to Virginia
 

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Does anyone know who owns the trademark and defines the specifications on what we all call "Baltic Birch"? Is there a company, an industry trade group, or an official recognized standard that everyone follows?

I have tried multiple times to learn more, but so far no luck. The lumber stores around me that sell it don't seem to know.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Does anyone know who owns the trademark and defines the specifications on what we all call "Baltic Birch"? Is there a company, an industry trade group, or an official recognized standard that everyone follows?

I have tried multiple times to learn more, but so far no luck. The lumber stores around me that sell it don't seem to know.
It is called Baltic plywood since in USSR they started manufacturing it in Soviet Baltic states. So it was a Russian trademark. The quality of those panels was exceptional, don't know about now.
 

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Around us, you can buy Baltic Birch, but you can also buy a similar product called "Russian Birch." It seems to me that they want to imply that Russian Birch is comparable to Baltic Birch without paying the fees to license and use the name.

In the post-Soviet era, there must be someone who controls the name "Baltic Birch" and how it can be used. Otherwise we would be seeing a flood of cheap, inferior products with that label.
 

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Baltic birch is sought after for its superior quality. It's manufactured with thinner plies than most plywood. which would greatly increase cost. It's fully constructed with nearly voidless birch. which I'll tell you, you have to have access to very very large logs, to make that economical feasble. or they are hogging lots of waste. I'm guessing the 5x5 dimensions are for shipping purposes.(fit more in a sea can)

My observations come from working at a plywood mill. Make mostly sheathing. I hear stories from the old timers at work, used to be a clear grade (these grades are used internally for the individual veneers, when its pressed into plywood there is different consumer grading system)of veneer at work. 4x8 sheets of veneer without even a single knot whole.. thats not a grade anymore. Actually we've been phasing out the grade below that as well, select, there isn't enough of it to try and sort out.

If you had a few hundred million you could build a plywood plant anywhere. Trouble is going to be sourcing the logs. And logs that can produce consistently that high of grade of wood isn't really that renewable. I'm guessing they have lots of 100s of year old trees, like our ancestors did here in North America before they've all been cut down.


Eventually even "the real Baltic birch" will decline in quality. Or go up in price. The % of veneer that is void of defects will eventually go down. They will need to allow in voids, or will not be able to not produce as much voidless true Baltic birch, which should drive up the price.
 

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That's some crazy prices. I'm paying less than half for BB. If you had a large order, would be worth taking a trip out of state. Kind of like the folks to with the cigarettes, come from the North East to Virginia
I need 3 or 4 sheets. Not really worth going out of state. Hopefully I’ll find another supplier in the area with more reasonable prices.
 

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Baltic birch is sought after for its superior quality. It's manufactured with thinner plies than most plywood. which would greatly increase cost. It's fully constructed with nearly voidless birch. which I'll tell you, you have to have access to very very large logs, to make that economical feasble. or they are hogging lots of waste. I'm guessing the 5x5 dimensions are for shipping purposes.(fit more in a sea can)

My observations come from working at a plywood mill. Make mostly sheathing. I hear stories from the old timers at work, used to be a clear grade (these grades are used internally for the individual veneers, when its pressed into plywood there is different consumer grading system)of veneer at work. 4x8 sheets of veneer without even a single knot whole.. thats not a grade anymore. Actually we've been phasing out the grade below that as well, select, there isn't enough of it to try and sort out.

If you had a few hundred million you could build a plywood plant anywhere. Trouble is going to be sourcing the logs. And logs that can produce consistently that high of grade of wood isn't really that renewable. I'm guessing they have lots of 100s of year old trees, like our ancestors did here in North America before they've all been cut down.


Eventually even "the real Baltic birch" will decline in quality. Or go up in price. The % of veneer that is void of defects will eventually go down. They will need to allow in voids, or will not be able to not produce as much voidless true Baltic birch, which should drive up the price.
I could be wrong but I don't think it's a raw materials shortage but I believe Baltic birch is all about how it's constructed, very few voids in the cores. I believe all plys used in BB are plain sliced and not rotary cut like they do here in North America. If they are rotary, they take the time to cut out the junk. Even common "quality" hardwood plywood such as Columbia or Purebond has huge voids, bark, knots, dirt in the core layers that would have not been acceptable just 10 years ago. The money face of standard BB grade baltic birch isn't all that attractive but that isn't why most people are using it. We use it because we're tired of using the junk created domestically. (Coming from a flag wavin' buy made in America first guy)
 

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From what I understand, BB is not a type of birch it is the manufacturing process that is used in the Baltic States. Russian birch is a cheap knock-off of BB..
I believe the inner plies are rotary cut from decent logs also birch, that are fairly defect free - thus, the cut edge is almost totally void free. This manufacturing process is similar to quality marine grade plywood with the exception of the adhesives and water resistant species.
I buy BB for drawer sides and jigs.
 

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Hi, I wonder if anyone from NY can direct me to the good lumber store with decent prices on baltic birch plywood. Got one shop in Brooklyn that asks $63 for 5x5 3/8" plywood and found another seller in Arizona selling same panels just for $23. A bit confusing difference in the cost from coast to coast.
Have you looked at Lowes?
 
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