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Baltic and Finnish Birch Clarification

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  • Baltic and Finnish Birch Clarification

    Questions:
    Is there a difference between baltic birch ply online and what I can get from my local big box retailer?

    Are most online resellers of baltic birch selling 'void free' plywood or would that be more along the line of 'Finnish Birch'?

    I've tried looking for apply ply at my big box store (L) and haven't found it. Of course I often can't find something even when looking for it. I've seen birch and oak ply panels (2'x4') are these any better?

    Reason:
    I'm looking at using some plywood for some puzzles (wider than 5.5") and I'm trying to support my local big box retailer. I'll eventually switch to better wood elsewhere but since I'm still in the learning and kindling production phase I want to learn with low cost and readily available supplies.
    Sawdust King

    If there is one thing I can make perfect every time it is sawdust.

  • #2
    It may depend on location, but neither my local blue nor orange big box retailers have good plywood for puzzles. Their top quality is full of voids. I can get good Baltic birch plywood at local craft stores such as Michaels or at specialty hardwood stores.

    --Rob

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    • #3
      There is a big difference between Baltic Birch ply and Finnish ply. The layers in Baltic are much tighter and there should be no voids. Baltic should always be sold in metric measure. Baltic has very few if any footballs on the veneer layer. It's a consistantly light color making it easier to paint or stain.
      I've found ply like Oak ply, Maple ply and Cherry ply, sometimes have a particle filler making them unstable.
      I personally would not use anything except Baltic Birch ply, which I've never found in either big box stores.
      Marsha
      LIFE'S SHORT, USE IT WELL

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      • #4
        I have found that some old fashion lumber yards have or can get baltic birch plywood. Note it comes in 5' by 5' sheets and not your standard 4' by 8'. If your local lumber yards can't help you I would try places like these:

        Online Specials | The Hardwood Store of North Carolina

        Plywoods
        Scott
        Creator of fine designer sawdust.

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        • #5
          Guess I've been lucky, Our local LOWES has birch plywood ( 1/4" ) that i've been useing for years. have found very few voids and NO FOOTBALLS ... (check both sides BEFORE buying ) most of their panels are precut but you can buy 4x8 sheets and they will cut to size at no charge. i use it for all my crafts and both sides are clear and matching with very little difference in grain color. i do a lot of cabinet work and lottsa small crafts......none of the other big-box stores in this area carry the quality i've found at this store. ($15.88 for 4x8 sheets ) I imagine it will be just a matter of time before they too go the route of lousey panels due to unavailability or cost. i don't know who their supplier is but so far so good....i live in HIGHLAND, INDIANA.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by NC Scroller View Post
            I have found that some old fashion lumber yards have or can get baltic birch plywood. Note it comes in 5' by 5' sheets and not your standard 4' by 8'. If your local lumber yards can't help you I would try places like these:

            Online Specials | The Hardwood Store of North Carolina

            Plywoods
            Thanks,

            I found 5'x5' BB at two lumber shops near work ($22-$27). I have a 2x4 panel sheet I haven't cut into yet so we'll see what that looks like.

            Thanks all.
            Sawdust King

            If there is one thing I can make perfect every time it is sawdust.

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            • #7
              I am also fortunate to have a local suplier. I buy the Baltic birch (3mm) 1/8 andi also get what they call thin Fin (1.5mm)1/16 Finish birch. No voids
              Rolf
              RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
              Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
              Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
              And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association

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              • #8
                The difference between Baltic birch and Finnish birch ply is just the glue used between the plys. Finnish birch uses exterior glue.
                There is a bunch of different grades of birch ply. A good explanation of the different grades can be found at Dan's Hobbies — A baltic birch plywood primer
                Tom(tas2181)

                "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. ...[They] justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."
                -T. S. Elliot

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                • #9
                  one thing that I have found at the big box stores if you look on the edge you will see made in china, india, japan,etc.. I have seen filler such as thin strips of plastic and cloth between the birch outer layers along with voids that tear out.

                  I don't use them for scrollsaw plywood anymore.

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                  • #10
                    In the small town I live they will order 5'x5' sheets of balticbirch ply for me. I did have a problem once when I was told that he had been in the hardware business for twenty years and all Ply came in 4'x8' sheets. ( He looked like he was in his late twenties) lol

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                    • #11
                      I saw that too - wood made in South America or Mexico, ridiculous. The birch plywood I got from Lowes in Central NYS seems fine to me but I have not looked closely at it yet. I cut a piece out of it and did not notice anything wrong with it (I'll try to remember to look closely tonight when I get home). I don't recall if it was named Baltic Birch plywood or (more likely) just Birch plywood.
                      I read that some plywood has MDF in the center to make it more stable (and probably cheaper so who knows what the real reason is).

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                      • #12
                        The only thing I notice between the baltic birch and finnish birch is the price. With the finnish being 2-3 times more expensive. I get mine from woodcrafters.

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                        • #13
                          If you're looking for great Baltic Birch, try Dave and Rhonda Sloans Sloan's Woodshop - " The Scroll Saw Store ". I have always gotten really great wood from them.
                          Dan

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                          • #14
                            This is where I get BB. Ocooch Hardwoods - Supplier of Wood for Scroll Sawing, Carving Stock, Intarsia wood, Plywood for scroll sawing, and more.
                            I also use birch ply fro lowes and have very few voids.
                            May the wind at you back .....
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