Base cabinets or firewood?

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Blog entry by pastor_shane posted 03-24-2008 04:57 AM 1847 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple of weeks ago, I started building 4 base cabinets for the workshop. Because these were “utility” cabinets and not kitchen cabinets, I decided to buy inexpensive (read cheap) “cabinet grade” 3/4” 18mm plywood from our local DIY box store. After I had ripped everything to size, the 3/4” plywood begin to warp and curl like a can of Pringles. Every part I cut with the excpetion of one, was warped, bent, curled, and one entire 6” x 24” x 3/4” piece came completely delaminated after I ripped it to size!)

Only after I experienced this, did I jump on here and investigate the quality issues other have experienced. Now I know there are other blogs on LJ about cheap china ply, but I just have to vent somewhere!

Anyone want a shop full of “cabinet grade” ply for free?

-- Shane, Guttenberg, Iowa

11 comments so far

View grovemadman's profile


556 posts in 3739 days

#1 posted 03-24-2008 05:54 AM

Shane, this will sound crazy but try craiglist under services/materials. A lot of times contractors tear out old cabinets to install new ones. With a little TLC you can usually make some old ones fit in your space and refinish them to your liking. Often there will be some screw ups/or change order that a contractor suddenly can’t use and wants to sell for cheap and they are brand new. As far as cheap plywood goes what happened to you could be a number of reasons. I know one thing for sure is, it’s Gods will and our handiwork which determines how a project will turn out – we just have to learn or be reminded of acceptance and move on to the next project he has waiting for us!
Peace and thy will be done…

-- --Chuck

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3841 days

#2 posted 03-24-2008 06:54 AM

Shane – if they are just for the shop, you might try to force the pieces flat and assemble the cases with plenty of screws. You might be surprised how close to square they are when you’re done.

-- -- --

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 3738 days

#3 posted 03-24-2008 07:00 AM


I bought 6 sheets of 1/2 ply from HD last year and half did the same thing… I took them back. And yes, they gave me all my money back even after cutting up 3 into panels. Remember, the squeeky wheel gets the grease.


-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes.

View Paul M's profile

Paul M

88 posts in 3687 days

#4 posted 03-24-2008 04:59 PM

Shane- I have used a fair amount of this stuff for general use and gree with Peter O. The mystery to me is how a multi-ply can warp and curl more than a solid board. Another mystery is how a panel made in China, put in a container, shipped to the west coat, then shipped to the east coast can sell for under $30??

Sounds like “dumping” to me.

Do have a general rule for “Specials” is that the farther it comes from the worse it is.
Canada= pretty good
Brazil= fair

-- Paul from New England "No man is a failure who is enjoying life". William Feather

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4266 days

#5 posted 03-24-2008 05:40 PM

I sounds to me like it got wet on its ocean trip.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4136 days

#6 posted 03-24-2008 05:41 PM

I think the operative words here are “real cheap”. As useual, we get what we pay for. ut, I still try for the bargin!

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View pastor_shane's profile


29 posts in 3790 days

#7 posted 03-25-2008 06:02 AM

Thanks for the advice Peter! about half a bottle of glue and a couple handful of scews is all it took to square up the carcasses. I’ll post some pictures as soon as I get the casters mounted.

-- Shane, Guttenberg, Iowa

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3841 days

#8 posted 03-25-2008 07:44 PM

I am glad you were able to salvage the project. Good heads-up on the cheap plywood, too, as I am going to build some cabinet/shelves later this spring.

View Belle City Woodworking's profile

Belle City Woodworking

354 posts in 3983 days

#9 posted 11-26-2009 06:17 PM


I have been using the CHEAP ply from Home Depot for a miter saw bench project. I have had some very minor issues like you have had. Except, it has not delaminated!

Miter Saw bench

It is $23.00 a sheet.


-- Formerly known as John's Woodshop - and NO not the one from Ohio!

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#10 posted 11-26-2009 06:26 PM

sorry for your problems

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bigfish_95008's profile


250 posts in 3070 days

#11 posted 11-26-2009 06:34 PM

Had the same issues as you. With some dado’s, lots of glue and screws I was able to get something more or less usable for the shop.

-- bigfish "I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it." Vincent Van Gogh

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