Plywood - how to keep from warping and buying tips needed


I have several Home Depots near me as well as Lowes. Particularly the Home Depots, which I visit more frequent, I am finding most of they smaller sheet plywoods are warped. They store them on end standing up. I was looking at 1/4" 2' x 4' boards and ALL of them were warped (~20 boards). It this normal? Is standing them on end the prefered way to store plywood or lumber in general? When I do this, and lean the boards against the wall, within a few months I find the board start bowing.
Sorry if my questions seem somewhat nieve, but I am just beginning in woodworking and am still learning. Spent year slowling collecting tools (had money for either tools or wood, not both). At point where I finished a good solid workbench, have a good tablesaw (Ridgid 3650), Mid-sized router with plunge base, Delta 13" planer, small dust collector, ... Next purchase looking at is band saw. This is where I am fighting the "what I need, what I want, and what I can afford" scenario.
- Clayton
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On Sun, 18 Jun 2006 02:04:51 -0700, malathan_A_T_comcast.net wrote:

Ideally, plywood should be stored flat. Also, if one side is dryer than the other side, it will warp.
Home Depot's prices are high when buying wood. I buy the highest quality tools I can find, and buy the cheapest wood. I get much wood for free from fallen trees. When buying tools, buy as you need them. Quality hand tools are always useful, lat a long time, and still useful after buying power tools.
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If you do need small plywood sheets and must buy from HD or Lowes, buy a whole sheet that has been stored flat and have them cut it to the size(s) you need. Most places will make the cuts for free or 50 cents each. Compared to the cost for warped but smaller sheets you are even or ahead.
As your skills improve you will be working with classy veneered plywoods bought from a plywood distributor that takes care of his stock. My distributor loads each sheet individually with cardboard in between.
malathan_A_T_comcast.net wrote:

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What Borg have you been going to that stores any sheet flat? The ones around here store their sheets on racks that have three horizontal support beams. The beams in the middle are higher than the ends. Built in warp.

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As you can see, he was looking for 14" plywood. The Borgs only have them in 2 x 4 sheets so buying a large on from a flat pile is not an option.
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When you need it to be flat see if they have "Russian" or "Baltic" Birch. My store has the Russian in smaller sizes only. These are also closer to the nominal dim, but are poss. metric though; easier for tooling. It is wise to know products that are, mdf is very close, consistently, to the actually nominal dim stated.
-
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On Sun, 18 Jun 2006 02:04:51 -0700, malathan_A_T_comcast.net wrote:

Menard's stores them like that as well, and warping is always a problem. At the hardwood dealer, the plywood is laid flat on racks, and it's always in nice shape. It's hard to keep them flat at home, though- I usually buy plywood only as needed, so that it doesn't get stored on edge.

I hear ya. I spent the first several years using recycled two by fours for almost everything.

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