Over the years I have had fair to good luck with HD Oak Veneer plywood
for basic casings, cabinets, etc. If I needed the really nice veneer
grain I went to a yard and paid the extra.
About three weeks ago I bought the worst piece of 3/4" Oak Veneer
plywood at the "local" (35 miles) HD I could have imagined. It looked
OK on the rack and, in fact, the grain and veneer looked above
average. When I got it home and began ripping it, I came across large
voids, just beneath the veneer, on both sides. I was building a
cabinet that was embedded in a wall so I was able to flip sides around
to make it work. If it hadn't been for the 70 mile round trip, and a
need to get the work done, it would have gone back. This afternoon
while moving a remaining 1/2 sheet, my finger went through the veneer
on one side and there was a 2" square void that just disintegrated.
Then, just to piss me off a little more, I tried to remove the price/
UPC tag that was far from the edge and it was absolutely un-
removable. I'll pay more at the yard in the future.
I wonder if this has anything to do with comments I got from three
different southwest Missouri hardwood dealers about a month ago. "All
of the good stuff is going to China!"
The operative word above is "luck".
Since material costs usually represent less than 25% of a project's
cost, what's the incentive to save maybe 5% by using schlock
If you have a problem with schlock, factor in transportation and lost
time to correct the problem and you end up a loser every time out.
Can't disagree with the principle. If it was a commercial build I
would spend the extra $20-25 and buy it from the local yard and pass
it on. BUT, when you are finishing your own cash-based (no mortgage)
retirement digs, you have to hold cost where you can*. Besides I had
been doing pretty well with HD up until now. Good news is since I
purchased the crap sheet, I have been able to buy some very nice sheet
goods through a local cabinet shop at a good price.
(* We learned a new definition of BALLS during this project. We dug
the basement hole in August of 2008. Beginning September of 2008 we
started spending from pocket on the house, while watching 40% of our
retirement accounts disappear, and pretty much stayed the course on
the house plan. A few concessions, yes. But we are still ending up
pretty much were we wanted to be. Except for that %#%* sheet of
plywood :^) The retirement accounts rebounded but we didn't feel so
sure at the time.)
I take an 1/8 inch piece of baltic plywood and a stud finder to the
lumberyard. I turn the stud finder on on the baltic plywood and slide it
onto the 3/4 inch ply. It beeps when I do, then beeping away, I slide it
around the sheet looking for voids. I reject, even at good lumber
dealers, some of the sheets. One of the good yards did not believe what
I was doing, so they gave me chalk. I marked the voids, They cut the
sheet to see if I was right. Unfortunately I missed a few smaller voids.
Problem with plywood is that no matter where you buy, and how much you
pay, it can still be a crap shoot.
It's always been that way to a certain extent, but the swings in quality
from batch to batch from the same manufacturer, and even the same
supplier, do seem more pronounced the past ten years.
I buy a goodly amount of sheet goods on a yearly basis and I ocassinally
find better plywood, at half the price, at the BORG's than any of my
half dozen lumber yard suppliers have at the moment. (The Columbia
Forest Products sheet goods at some Home Depots can be very acceptable
and at a good price ... but no guarantees.)
The ONLY defense for guaranteeing an acceptable quality plywood is to
diligently search out a stack of same, no matter where you find it, and
buy much more than you think you need from the SAME stack.
On Sun, 27 Feb 2011 03:18:01 -0700, Lobby Dosser wrote
My "local" supplier (75 miles away) carries the plywood core
w/hardboard-veneer outer layers. Even though there is the occasional void in
the core, the hardboard surface beneath the veneer layer makes everything
nice and flat. Price is not too bad either.
My only gripe is that in 3/4", they only carry the rotary cut veneer. In my
opinion that looks like hell for woods such as oak. Another gripe is that the
veneer is so thin, you can sometimes see the hardboard through the pores in
Out of curiosity, do you know where that sheet was made ?
Only rarely have had to delay projects occassionally until I could find
I often work with HD's paint grade maple 3/4", and have to pick through a
few sheets until I find ones worth buying.
I have also found that they will often discount a defective looking sheet
if pointed out to them
I have the same bitch with HD sheet goods and a lot of their other wood
products. They seem to take perverse pleasure in placing the stickey
backed UPC label in the most damaging locations, and always on the "A"
side if there is a difference in quality of the sides.
What works for me is to peel off as much of the label as possible, and
then use a freshly sharpened cabinet scraper to lighly go over any
residue. I follow up with some solvent on a clean rag if necessary.
I have had to peel lots of labels off of their sheet products and then
wipe with spirits to get rid of the sticky. This time it was darned
near permanent. I am not a pro so it is a nuisance. If I was paying
to have it removed it would be a different matter. The main reason
for my OP was a heads up for other readers to tap around before they
carried sheets out of the store. I don't know if I got a singular bad
sheet or the result of a process change. I'm guessing latter.
Also, was the comments I received from the SW MO hardwoods dealers. I
have dealt with two of these guys for about 5 years. The other on a
less frequent basis. One provided nice common or FAS planed to about
15/16" to 1" which gave you some flexibility when you got home.
Another primarily cut trim, but also dried and provided planed or un-
planed hardwood in similar thicknesses. Quality and dryness has never
been an issue, and prices are good. All three of these dealers sang
from the same hymnal. Most (or all) of the good stuff was going to
China. In the past it came back as sheet goods or finished product.
Now it just goes. Two of the guys still provide some thicker stock
but with the one, which was best, you get what you get - barely 3/4"
and no un-planed. They don't have time or incentive to provide what
the stateside buyers want any more. We are on the hid tit.
GooGone (or cooking oil) has never failed me.
Not sure how it would affect whatever stain/finish you're planning,
In any case, why can't they just print all that crap on the edge of the
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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