Happy holidays to all...
I was looking through American Woodworker #105 (Jan. issue) last night
and I've pretty much decided to build their "Dream Bench". One stupid
question has me stumped, though...
The plans specify 4 sheets of "AC fir plywood" and 1 sheet of birch
plywood. The thing is, I don't know what AC fir plywood is. They
unfortunately don't give the dimensions of the uncut sheets, but they
do show a cut diagram. The fir plywood looks smaller than the birch
ply sheet, but I don't know the dimensions...I just kind of assumed
all plywood came in 48X96 sheets.
If they don't know what AC fir plywood is at Menards/HD/somewhere
else, what should I be looking (or asking) for? Any ideas on the
dimensions of said sheet of mystery ply? (C:
Softwood plywood comes graded A through D on each side, based on the
number and severity of knots, splits, and other defects. Grade A is the
best, and means no knots. Grade D is the worst. Each side is graded by
itself, so AC mean grade A on one side, grade C on the other.
AC is a pretty common grade. Another common grade is "CDX", which is
really ugly looking stuff used for sheathing in house construction (the
X at the end means its made with waterproof glue for eXternal use).
You can find more details at
Hmmmm. Don't know what to make of that. Plywood does come in other
sizes, but 48 x 96 (commonly called "4 x 8", as in feet) is by far the
most common size for both fir and birch plywood.
It's hard to imagine one of these places that didn't stock AC fir
plywood in several thicknesses (3/4" being the most common). Just tell
the guy, "I want 3/4 AC fir plywood". That's about as straight-forward
as it gets.
That leads me to ask. Do most/many wood dealers in the US stock actual 3/4"
plywood or have you been inundated with metric sizes like we have been up
here in Canada? 17 mm, 18 mm, 19 mm, 19.5 mm are all sizes I've come across.
It's a pain in the butt and meant having to purchase a whole new group of
router bits, rulers and having to be extra careful with calculations and
You're right, it's not really 3/4". It's generally marked with some
sort of whacko size like 23/32nds, which is a couple of smooches plus an
RCH shy of 3/4". Does it work out to something exact in metric like
18mm? Maybe. Beats me.
If you are buying commercial products from yards that serve the construction
industry, will be metric.
If you go to a plywood distributor who specializes in serving the cabinet
and furniture market, they will typically have BOTH metric and US based on
S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
think it means one grade A side and one grade C side (one nice face) and the
fir is probably a regional reference to the species used for the plywood..any
A/C plywood should work fine....find a lumber grader at a sawmill and ask them
for the specifics, maybe you wpould get a better and more accurate answer
Plywood is all 4X8 sheets standard with larger sizes uncommon but they exist
some other posters have answered the question of what fir plywood
gradings and sizes are all about.
the birch ply may be birch veneer over a fir core- that stuff is also
4' x 8'. however, it may be the baltic birch ply, which has birch for
it's internal plies and comes in 5' x 5' sheets.
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