I spent my Saturday morning doing the rounds of the home centers
(Lowes, Home Depot & Menards all within a mile of me) in search of some
decent oak or birch plywood. I'm not asking for much, just something
reasonably straight for some walk-in closet cabinets. I came home
empty handed. There was some nasty looking Chinese junk I'm afraid to
use or otherwise banged up and bent generic C-3 stuff (the
manufacturers are too ashamed to put their names on them). It's quite
sad. I've got a few five year old stashed away scraps of States and
Roseburg ply -boy, those were the days - nice, straight, reasonably
priced (as I recall) home center stuff. Next weekend I'll have to
check out the lumber yards (farther away and quite a bit more
expensive). Well, guess I'll just veg-out instead with some final 4
A lot of them have acquired this new fuel-saving device called a
"telephone," as well.
Look around and find someone with one of those big yellow books with numbers
in it, and see what might be there under Lumber.
By your description of 3 Home Improvement super stores within a
mile, I presume you live in 2nd generation suburbia of a major city.
I live near Detroit, and had the same problem as you described. Just
on a chance, I went to four lumber yards located in the 1st generation
suburban cities in close to Detroit. I finally found a counter salesman
willing to go the extra distance to help me find Baltic Birch plywood
for me. (Baltic Birch is considered a special order product.)
It turns out there is a plywood wholesaler located in one of the
economic distressed areas of Detroit that had very good quality
Baltic Birch plywood and lots of other quality hardwood veneer
plywood at good prices. But you need to be either a Kitchen
remodeling counter top / cabinet shop of have a Purchase Order
from a lumber yard to even drive into their parking lot (security gate.)
As I relayed this story to another, but older person, I received a hearty
belly laugh from him. I quote: "you don't really think kitchen remodeling
business would put up with the crap from Home Depot do you?"
Call around, you may find a real lumber yard that will special order for
the home hobbyist some plywood or hardwoods. Don't get
discouraged, many lumber yards ONLY deal with builders and customers
that order pine and spruce building products in quantity.
Obviously, these resources (willing salesman, wholesaler) are more likely to
be open during weekday normal business hours which may not be convenient
to you. Also, you need to have your own car / truck to handle full sheets
of plywood, no cutting in parking lot.
If your near Toledo Ohio, Toledo Plywood stocks a large selection of
hardwood plywood and is open on Saturdays untill 1 PM. Also sells to the
general public. Check out www.toledoplywood.com for a stock list and prices.
I stoped by this Saturday and picked up 5 sheets of 3/4" birch for some new
cabinets. And no, I don't work for them.
This thread is interesting.
At our BORG collection, in NM, I see that oak and birch ply will run about
$45 + or - depending on day/store/sale, and it is horrible, dings, scratches
and never seems to be flat. Cabinet grades can be had for around $75(oak and
birch, cherry,walnut $90+/sheet), at hardwood suppliers (no voids, flat,
I'm curious as to what you are paying for plywood in your area, and the
quality that you're getting.
Go to a real lumber yard. These DIY stores like Lowes, Home Depot &
such just don't have it & never will. It's a shame, but those stores
are running a lot of the good hardware stores & lumber yards out of
business. I don't mind paying a little extra for the quality & the
knowlegable, courteous staff.
I've been able to fins some decent birch at the HD store, but most anything
else is a crapshoot at best. I wanted some 1/4" ply for drawer bottoms. You
had to see the crap they had for sale. If you put it flat, the waves would
vary from one to three inches over the 48" span. I used hardboard instead.
No they aren't. They are running a lot of not-so-good hardware stores and
lumber yards out of business. Good for them. Those guys have done nothing
but rip people off for years before the big stores moved into town. The
real good hardware and lumber stores have not been affected by Lowes or Home
Depot, or any other others. Nor will they be. They serve a different
customer and they provide a different service.
About a week ago I had 10 sheets of HD "oak plywood"
delivered (amongst other stuff). It was all wrapped
in big plastic bundle. About $850 total order. Remember,
I'm just a hobbyist, so this is a once a year event for me -
When I finally unrapped it and hauled it sheet by
sheet into my shop (a PITA), I was disgusted at the quality
of this crap. $42.50/sheet - should I expect anything better?
I complained, but did not want replacement (not that they
offered) because none of the sides would be visible for the
corner AV cabinet I'm setting up to build. Only face frames
and doors/drawers will be visible. For those few visible
ply areas, I can pick and choose from the crap I got.
I will *NEVER* buy cabinet grade plywood from HD
again. Melamine - maybe.
I was/am disgusted.
Then I thought that about 10 years ago, I bought some oak ply
from a "real" local lumberyard. They are now out of business.
Cost me about $60/sheet back then, but it was really nice stuff.
Got what I deserved maybe.
I looked at some 1/4" birch in HD last week and it was horrible. So I
bought a sheet from Windsor Plywood. Yesterday I was in Loews and their
1/4" birch was as good as the Windsor Plywood sheet. A little cheaper,
but not much.
I bought a half sheet just for insurance and because I was right there.
Found out that Loews charges $5.00 extra for a half sheet compared to
half of the whole sheet price. Windsor Plywood only charges $1 extra.
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