Phenolic Faced Plywood

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Forum topic by psient posted 08-05-2015 07:59 PM 1418 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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82 posts in 2339 days

08-05-2015 07:59 PM

Hello All:

I want to share my recent experience attempting to source phenolic faced plywood. I live in the Los Angeles Basin and thought that population density and attendant economics would make it easy. Not so. I have tried to get a quote on this material and cannot find any source capable of selling.

The best I could do was with 7 sheets minimum @ 80 USDs per sheet. Why is buying this product so expensive and rare. I have talked with major plywood wholesalers who don’t have a clue what I’m referring to. How do you guys get a hold of a 4X8 sheet when you want to make router tables, inserts, outfeed tables etc?


9 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2519 days

#1 posted 08-05-2015 08:04 PM

You might check with Whitecap supply (there are a few listed in LA), that’s where I got mine a few years ago when FWW was crowing about how good it is for “stuff”. It’s used in construction for concrete forms, that may be why your seeing the minimums. To be honest, the piece I bought was all that great. The plys overlapped and were crushed to get the 3/4” thickness, so the surface wasn’t dead smooth. Here’s a pic of the plies I found when started cutting it apart:

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View waho6o9's profile


8207 posts in 2602 days

#2 posted 08-05-2015 08:06 PM

Did you try Philips in Slymar?

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2453 days

#3 posted 08-05-2015 08:44 PM

Tread mill walking surfaces are very slick phenolic type coated very high density foam/plastic type material. I went to a Costco certified repair agent who gave me a very slightly used walking platform, he had several that he had to pay to dispose of, so giving me one saved him trouble. The belt only wears one side.
This material is very easy to rout. I backed this material 3/4” thick for my router table with 1/2” baltic birch ply.


-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


708 posts in 3299 days

#4 posted 08-06-2015 02:11 AM


This may sound off the wall, but I’m fairly sure that you can find it in Los Angeles. Try a United Rentals store and ask them which branch store in the LA area handles Trench Shoring. Typically, a single store will handle Trench Shoring for a particular region. With a metro the size of LA, you may find multiple outlets.

You might also try Googling “Trench Shoring Suppliers” in the LA area and you might find other sources as well.

At any rate, Finnform (and there is another brand name that escapes me which also meets the requirements) is the brand I get. It is 13-ply baltic birch with a phenolic resin coat on both faces. I get it for Trench Rescue classes I teach (day job, what can I say) as well as for woodworking. The outlet I go to in Kansas City stocks both new and used sheets.

They usually have a stack of used sheets that I can pick through. (They also rent these to contractors.) As has already been pointed out by Fred, this is also used to form concrete work. They usually have a smaller number of new sheets on hand or can order whatever I need. $80 a sheet sounds about right for new sheets.

This stuff is dead flat, heavy as sin, and meets the strength requirements for trench sheeting in accordance with OSHA standards (29 CFR 1926). it is 3/4” thick (nominal). No voids or overlapped plies. It is a beautiful product that is wonderful to work with.

Give it a try. Good luck!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View MrRon's profile


4795 posts in 3269 days

#5 posted 08-06-2015 04:57 PM

Are you sure it’s phenolic faced plywood you want or is it MDO? MDO is a plywood faced with a resin. It is used for concrete forms and also for highway signs. The stuff used for concrete forms isn’t as smooth as the MDO type; and yes it is expensive. Here is a place in Toledo, Ohio that sells by the sheet and quarter sheets for UPS shipping.

View psient's profile


82 posts in 2339 days

#6 posted 08-07-2015 11:18 AM

Are you sure it s phenolic faced plywood you want or is it MDO?

- MrRon

Thanks for the response amigo!

I looked at medium density overlay and it isn’t what I am speaking of here. I have seen it used many times in a variety of applications. Here I am specifically speaking of phenolic resin.

View psient's profile


82 posts in 2339 days

#7 posted 08-07-2015 11:26 AM

I wish to add a comment to my Original Posting

My interest started with creating a zero clearance insert for my Table Saw, a PM3000. As it is 14” the insert is non-standard @ 21” in length. The OEM is a phenolic on melamine core. I sourced this material in a 4X8 sheet at over 300 USD. Cost prohibitive unless the application is demanding the specific surface and substrate. I can get the same performance from Riga Pour or Finnform. As I stated, sourcing this material ends up being insufficient due to the 7 sheet minimum. I was hoping to find a source for a single sheet here in the LA basin.

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2453 days

#8 posted 08-07-2015 04:50 PM

Buy off cuts of melamine and phenolic, laminate, and cut them out to make your inserts.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View widdle's profile


2069 posts in 3024 days

#9 posted 08-07-2015 05:20 PM

Andersen plywood…

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