What's the deal with this crappy plywood, these days?!

This is the the second time I've bought 13 ply birch plywood that is NOT square, NOT straight, and over-sized.
It used to be a given that you could count on plywood having perfectly straight edges, perfectly square ends and corners, and being exactly 48x96.
I bought 5 sheets and not a single one is true. They are out of square by 1/32" to 1/8" on every side, and are all over-sized by at least 1/8".
I used to be able to use a factory edge as a straight cutting edge. Not with this crap. Every long edge is bowed slightly in or out.
Don't even get me started on the paper thin finish plies that are flaking off like acrylic paint.
"Made in China" saved me money, but has cost me 5x as much in time, so far. Are there any US wholesale suppliers/distributors that I need to look for who still make/source perfect plywood?
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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"-MIKE-" wrote:

Lots of them, if lowest price isn't the issue.
Simply get a bid that excludes "Made in China" material.
Lew
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You're not kidding. The only game in my town that I've found so far wants $90+ for a sheet of US birch plywood.
-Nathan
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Some 20 years ago I needed a couple of lifts of walnut veneer on particle board for a loudspeaker project.. Pre-internet, on the phone for a couple of days----> best price Sault St Marie Michigan. Including freight, brokerage, exchange, it was the best deal by 15%. The stuff shows up with Made In Canada stamped all over it. A genuine WTF moment.
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Buy your plywood at a real lumber yard, not at home centers, and it's unlikely you'll have this problem. In particular, grab the Yellow Pages, look under "Lumber", and search out the dealers that sell hardwoods. Those are the ones who will also sell decent plywood.
BTW, while you certainly want to avoid anything made in China, don't think that you have to restrict your purchases to US-made plywood only. I've bought plenty of plywood that was made in Canada and it all seems first-rate. I try to buy American when I can, but when I can't, I look next for Canadian products -- I figure if you can't do business at home, do business with your next-door neighbor. And I have never, even once, been disappointed in the quality of any Canadian-made product.
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Doug Miller wrote:

That's the deal, though. Both places are hardwood/plywood specialists. Nashville Plywood and Summers Lumber.
I would never buy from Lowes or Home Depot, so I expected quality higher than mediocre.

Yes, I say US, but imply North America. :-) Apparently Russia is exporting some pretty suspect stuff, too.
--

-MIKE-

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Ouch! Sounds like they're both locally-owned businesses, eh? Complain directly to the owner. I guess I just assumed that it must have come from the Borg, since that's the only place around here (Indianapolis) where I see crappy plywood. The independent dealers in this area all sell the good stuff.

I would too. Do you have any alternatives?

FWIW, I've not seen quality problems with Mexican-made products, either, but that's mostly auto parts. I doubt Mexico exports much plywood...

Imagine my surprise.
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-MIKE- wrote:

All best are off in the 21st century, dudes.
I buy LOTS of sheetgoods and I'm here to tell you that NONE of the above is true in this day and age. :(
Plywood, in general, varies so much from shipment to shipment that, at any given time, you may actually find better hardwood plywood at the Borg, than at the best lumber yard/hardwood dealer in town.
As we speak, I've got $120/sheet A1, rift cut, oak plywood, from one of the best dealers in town; and $49/sheet oak veneer plywood from the BORG, sitting in the shop, and the latter, even though it is being used as an assembly surface and ripped for tack strips, is MUCH better quality plywood, although it is an inferior veneer grade.
I see this constantly, and it is a constant source of frustration because, as with hamburgers or anything else, you don't necessarily get what you pay for any more.
AAMOF, the absolute straightest, squarest, best plywood I've bought in bulk lately is known in the industry as "China Birch" ... supposedly paint grade, it can be stained nicely with judicious cutting ... but that was last week.
Only one thing is predictable ... you will pay more at a good lumber yard, even if the plywood is crappy, so it definitely pays to simply look around and not buy sight unseen.
Another thing to consider if you're required to build "green". One of the few manufacturers of "urea formaldehyde free" plywood is Columbia Forest Products ... and guess who supplies Home Depot. These guys do make some much higher veneer grade sheetgoods that HD never sees, but the process is basically the same.
--
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Last update: 10/22/08
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This no doubt due the fact both US and Canada have the same major lumber companies in common.
nb
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wrote:

I didn't mean just lumber. That's why I said "any Canadian-made product". :-)
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For what it's worth the Lowe's in Hopkinsville just north of you sells American made plywood, the Lowe's in Clarksville 30 miles south sells Chinaply. Local real lumber yard sells only Chinaply. Check with different Lowe's in the area you might find one that has Made in the USA or Canadaply one it. Or make the 90 mile trip to Hopkinsville, it's worth it for the real stuff.
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-MIKE- wrote:

If you buy your plywood from HD, you get "one free cut" which can be used to square it up - at least partly - so it's not as bad as it seems.
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HeyBub wrote:

I hear you, but in my experience, their sheet rip saws are as hit-and-miss as the plywood we're discussing. I really doubt anyone is checking the adjustments on those things and as many times as they get hit with carts and forklifts, you simply can't take for granted that they will cut square.
--

-MIKE-

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The HD in my area is a higher class one. We get *two* free cuts. :)
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What are you complaining about? I just paid the big bucks for a sheet of 3/4" MDF, ripped it to length for a workbench top that needed to be exactly 96" long and THEN found that it was 1/8" short.
At least your stuff was long enough!
Pete Stanaitis ------------------- -MIKE- wrote:

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spaco wrote:

What, you didn't account for shrinkage? :-)
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-MIKE-

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Must've been cold out.
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That sucks. A sheet of MDF is supposed to be 49x97.
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Just put edge banding on both ends. Problem solved.
spaco wrote:

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