Jump to content

Plywood


Hirilonde
 Share

Recommended Posts

I think it is a shame you locked out your opinions on plywood Jeff.  I disagree with you on 2 points in particular, and I think they are very valid opinions.

 

1.  Baltic Birch is not the best plywood for kayaks or any boat.  There are several that are better.  BS 1088 Okoume,  BS 1088 Meranti,  BS 1088 Sapele and AS2272 Hoop Pine are all superior both structurally and in resistance to delamination from moisture.  Whether they are necessary or not is a matter of opinion.  Baltic Birch may be the best bang for your buck, but that is a subjective statement at best.  

 

2. MDO is no better for kayak frames than other American made Fir plywoods.  The surface is superior to other Fir plywoods, but the interior laminations are no better.  It has the same number of laminations, thus the same thickness of laminations, they are fir and the same glue is used.   It is great for painting, and that is what it was designed for.  Signs are a common use for it, but that does not make it any good for boats or structural items like frames.

 

I am sorry if this thread offends you Jeff, but there is more to evaluating plywood than your post offers and a lot more to the engineering of plywood than you present.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Before you start slamming Baltic Birch ply....Stick a pc. of it outside in the elements for a few yrs. without a coating on it and see the results ....It doesn't delaminate!  And it is accessible and shipping doesn't cost a fortune in my area...

I am not slamming it.  As a matter of fact, I use it.   It works well for kayaks, but I wouldn't even think of using it for a plywood boat.  It is heavier, not as strong nor as immersion proof as any of the BS 1088 plywoods.  Therefore, to say it is the best is not accurate.  As I stated above it may very well be the best bang for the buck, but that is a subjective statement. As an opinion it has value, but it is an opinion.  A proper analysis should be objective.  The BS 1088 plywoods and the AS2272 have been specifically engineered as structural marine plywoods.  I have yet to find anything superior.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave, I think Jeff said Baltic Birch was the best he had used, not best period. I don't disagree on te British Standard plywood but it is twice as expensive for me here and that is before shipping. I had never heard of Baltic birch until finding Kudzu Craft and this forum. Found some locally and like the looks of it. Can't wait to work with it. Wish I was close to your area for a better selection of material.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back up there Dave! That is an FAQ thread, not a discussion thread. There is nothing that stopped you from voicing your opinion on the subject by starting this thread, nor do I have a problem with that.

Neither is the FAQ set in stone, it can and will be edited as I go along. The goal is to address the commonly asked questions in thread that stays at the top of the forum.

Secondly, I said BB was 'the best I have used', not the best plywood. And I stand behind the statement that BB and MDO are probably the best choices from what most people have available to them. My most common question has to do with finding suitable plywood.

Most of us have two options, BB and MDO and it usually an either/or situation. That is unless you want to pay $100+ freight for a sheet to shipped in. I drive 65 miles one way to buy my Baltic Birch and I am glad to find a supplier that close! There is no one that even knows what BS 1088 is around here. No doubt it is superior product but it doesn't matter when you have no access to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

I recently received the plans for a mess about, my first boat, and I am struggling with plywood options.  I haven't been able to find BB or  BS 1088 around here.  My two options are shown below.  Based on these two options, do you have any recommendations?  The lower cost is obviously attractive, but my primary concern is which would have the better quality.  Comments on this thread have me wondering about the quality of the Douglas Fir plywood, especially seeing the C grade interior ply with up to 1/8" gaps.  I have no idea what the G1S on the MDO indicates so I was hoping someone with experience with both could comment.

 

G1S MDO Plywood - $42/sheet
 
 
Marine Grade Plywood - $80 - $100/sheet
 
AB marine grade Douglas Fir.
Made with exterior glue.
A grade face veneer.
B grade back veneer.
Inner plies are C-grade veneer with core voids limited to 1/8" in width.
Can be used indoors, outdoors, and in marine applications.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MDO has a very smooth paper face and is great for making signs, but the interior plys are no better than any other fir plywood.  It comes G1s and G2s which designated how many sites have the good paper facing on it.  AB marine grade Fir means both faces are sanded and relatively smooth but as you show, the inner layers have knots (C grade) and voids.  Marine grade simply means it is extremely water proof, it implies nothing in regards to strength.  The key characteristics for building kayak frames are:

 

- good waterproof glue but does not need to withstand extended submersion in water as you will dry your kayak out between uses

-9 (hence thin), void free, well glued veneers

 

It is the fact that there are 9 instead of 5 layers that makes the plywood so much stronger when cut into frames.  The only plywoods I know of that have 9 layers are Baltic Birch and BS 1088 and similar graded marine plywoods.  If you can't get any of these I would look for Birch cabinet grade or furniture grade plywood.  These will at least have all hardwood veneers and probably less and smaller voids.

 

Where do you live Garrett?  I am starting to appreciate that in other parts of the country from me that good forrest products are hard to come by, but I would think you could find BB with a little more investigation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information, that is very helpful.  I live in the Detroit area.  In my initial search, I have only found the marine grade l had listed.  Based on this discussion and some research, I have specifically asked several places if they have the BSS 1088 and am waiting to hear back.  Based on your info, I was able to find a source that has European Birch (I missed it originally as I looked specifically for Baltic).  The description is below and that sounds comparable to the baltic.  It isn't cheap though $112.

 

I thought you would find this humorous.  One lumber store said they had marine plywood.  I asked for information on the grade and number of plys and was told 'I Do not know the precise details.  I can tell you that I have supplied others to build canoes and kayaks and none have been reported sunk.'  Guess what store I'm not buying from.

 

European Birch:

  • Excellent for cabinet doors, drawer sides, furniture, trailer floors, and marine use.
  • Free of core voids.
  • Exterior glue.
  • Clear face, a few wood patches allowed on back
  • 1/2” 4x8 9-ply

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you tried L.L. Johnson Lumber in Charlotte,Mi? Their website is www.theworkbench.com. Their website lists several kinds of marine plywood rated bs1088..and there is quite a bit of information about the differences in marine plywood, and they seem to deal quite a bit with boatbuilders. Check it out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finding good plywood is never easy. I drive about 100 miles (one way) to buy Baltic Birch because there is nothing local to me that I will use. Sadly the US made ply I have seen is so poorly made I will not use it. On the other hand high quality marine grade plywood is a bit overkill but that is not always a bad thing. 

 

I have not used MDO but I know a builder that does and that is about all he uses on his boats. I was going to try it when I found the Baltic Birch. I have heard of several people that have used it and I have never heard of a problem. It is a bit of a gamble but I wouldn't be afraid to try it.  The European Birch sounds good but like the MDO, you will only know once you start cutting and see what is inside. 

 

Either would probably work just fine. The real question is how long will it last? But if you keep it dry and out of weather when stored then most likely a long time.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It may pay to go to some local lumber stores and ask.  They may have it or be able to easily get Baltic Birch for you.  First time I needed it I assumed I wouldn't find it locally, so I drove over 130 miles to get some.  Second time I needed some I decided to look around locally, just in case. I found it at a Unfinished furniture store and at a couple lumber yards. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And to add to what Paul is saying, I find mine at a wholesaler(?).  They cater to the commercial clients like cabinet shops. They don't carry the stuff you find at big box stores or the building supplies. They are not lumber yards as most of think of. They are more of a specialty supplier. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The placed mentioned in Charlotte,Mi sounds like they have what I need and at reasonable prices, but they are 100 miles away.  I know a couple of you have driven that that far, but I hate to do that for one sheet.  I found a local place that can get Joubert Okoume but it is $260/sheet.  I could get the cheaper stuff and build 3 sets of frames for that price.  The European birch sounds like the best bet if I can't find a source for BB, but I'll spend the weekend looking. 

 

Thanks for all of the help, who knew looking for plywood would be so much fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joubert is one of if not the best manufacturer of BS 1088 in the world, but $260 is very high.  It would however be enough for 3 kayaks, 4 if you build laminated combings.  How many laminations does the European Birch have?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joubert Okoume but it is $260/sheet.  I could get the cheaper stuff and build 3 sets of frames for that price.  

 

For that price I could almost make them for you.  Great wood but totally overkill.... but you know that.

 

Sounds like Spyder has found some sources for BB and in a town the size of Detroit I can't believe it is not available.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the things I quickly learned when I started looking  around for lumber to build my SOF & wood stripper was that tracking down who carried different species of wood took some time.  Forget the big box stores for western red cedar, redwood or BB.  Local lumber yards around my area (Louisville Metro) carried WRC & redwood as well as marine ply which I was ready to use until I talked to a friend of a friend who worked in veneer and told me to check out one of their suppliers,  Hood Distribution. Sure enough, they had 1/2"x 5x5  BB for $35 a sheet.  Took a few weeks to find it, but with due diligence it can be found.  Hood Dist. is located mostly in the southeast.  I would think in other parts of the country there would be similar companies.  Finding suppliers for this & that is just part of the building process.  

If you decide to construct your own float bags out of vinyl, check your local fabric store, but for the HH-66 vinyl cement I could only find that online.

Happy Building.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I thought I would follow up to post where I found my plywood in case anyone else in my area comes looking.  Fingerle lumber in Ann Arbor can get baltic birch (they stock the European Birch), marine plywood (bs 1088) and has excellent clear cedar at various lengths (oddly, the 9 ft 1x4s were only 7 cents more than the 8 ft ones).  I also found that Woodcraft stores carry BB.  They carry it in very odd sizes from 30x48 down to 12x12.  While this seemed odd, it actually worked well for the frames and worked out significantly cheaper and is only a few miles from me.  Woodcraft also carries system 3 epoxy,

 

Hope this helps if anyone else is looking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.