"Made in China" plywood

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Forum topic by WoodshopJoe posted 02-18-2010 09:13 AM 3293 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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99 posts in 3283 days

02-18-2010 09:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: china plywood birch plywood

OK, I don’t vent much and usually keep my emotions in check but this really burns me. I went to Home Depot this evening to get a couple sheets of Baltic Birch plywood. I needed just two 4×8 sheets. I get to the bin where they have it and they had about 30 sheets in the bin and it’s already been picked through entirely. Not being the one to make a fuss I started to pull out sheets to see what I could find. After pulling out 6 sheets of crap is when I started getting aggravated. Every sheet had pink filler in the holes and cracks in the veneer. The veneer is so thin you can literally see the glue through the veneer. I mean come on, they want $40.00 a sheet for that!!! What a joke. I did find one decent sheet and took that it but that will be the last time I go there for plywood of any kind, I’ll just get it through my lumber supplier. Why can’t our American owned stores supply us with decent American or Canadian made plywood? I would be willing to pay the few dollars more for decent material. I don’t know how they cut that veneer so thin, it’s thinner than paper!!!

Alright I’m done, on to better things.

-- Joe Truehart - The Craftsmans Woodshop

40 replies so far

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


708 posts in 3296 days

#1 posted 02-18-2010 09:30 AM


You make good points here. I’m sure most, if not all, of us have felt that same frustration.

If I may respectfully make a suggestion, one that we should ALL practice?

When one finds him- or herself in this same situation, take a few minutes and go to the courtesy desk. Ask for the duty manager and calmly explain your displeasure. Don’t take it out on that manager. Not even a store or regional manager can do anything about their stock. That’s top driven from corporate. But if they’re worth their salt, they’ll listen. And if they’re really worthwhile, they’ll pass your comments up the line.

Then ask them for a comment card, or if they don’t have a comment card, the address for complaints. Or you could even ask for the name and mailing address of the regional manager. Then take the time to voice your concerns and complaints without emotion. If the missiff is scalding, it will be dismissed as just another crackpot. But if it is professional and sincere, you would be surprised how much potential impact it will have.

I was told by regional managers (of both Home Depot and Lowe’s, as I’ve worked for both) that three comments or complaints on the same topic from the same store or region raises a red flag. Management stands up and takes notice. I would guess that Menards is probably much the same.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can influence what the big box carries. It takes a little effort on our part, though by no means a great effort. But if we don’t choose to take action, we are doomed, as the philosophers have reminded us, “to forever curse the darkness.”

Okay. I’ll step down off my soapbox now.

But first I’ll light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View LarryDNJR's profile


209 posts in 3117 days

#2 posted 02-18-2010 09:44 AM

I totally agree with Dave. It is just like in any situation be it social, consumer related or what not you or someone needs to take a stand. Doing so as he said in a respectfully polite manner and using tact will do us all good in the long run. When we sit back and don’t speak out is when we either get taking advantage of or things get totally out of hand.

-- ~Larry Columbus, OH

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18285 posts in 3699 days

#3 posted 02-18-2010 09:52 AM

As long as there are enough people who don’t know any better so HD and Lowes can keep moving that garbage, it will not change. When they get stuck with dead stock, they will do something about it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Waldschrat's profile


505 posts in 3459 days

#4 posted 02-18-2010 11:48 AM

Dave has a great point! If enough people complain then it should help get noticed by the management and hopefully move to change something.

I have a great idea, we should have a link, a link right here on Lumberjocks. A link that lists Local wood suppliers and Lumber yards so that people can easily see who is, or where is the next closest non-chain, local owned lumber and hardware supplier. If you are willing or we are willing to pay a bit more for quality then these small operations will be supported and not these large corperations. I bet that people would be suprised, lumber may not be as cheap, but I bet the quality and service is way better at the small saw mill than at the “big box store.” The small guy can not afford to provide poor goods, but the big companies can. They can outlive the small companies.

Anyway, back to the link thing… it could listed what they carry and if its FSC certified or where the wood is comming from.

I do not currently live in the US but America is supposed to be about the rooting for the underdog right? I buy from local lumber yards every oportunity that I have. Hardware too, if its local I try that first, service and quality are usually much better.

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3797 days

#5 posted 02-18-2010 02:27 PM

Any people near central Illinois might be interested in this supplier: I get all my hardwood and plywood from Pekin Hardwoods near Peorea, Illinois. They have a quality product at a fair price. If you buy in quanity you get a discount. Call Kathy Brawner 309-642-6102. I totally agree that the China plywood is crap and we should complain! The Wooworkers Shop is also located there that deals in all the major machines and tools. I bought all my equipment from them.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 3078 days

#6 posted 02-18-2010 02:51 PM

I have written letters to Lowes about some things, did it very professionally and polite. Not only was the matter taken care of, they also sent me an apology letter with a $25 gift card, for my inconvenience.

I don’t know as that is the usual and I don’t think we should complain to get free gift cards, but that just shows you that they do listen, they want our business, so if enough send in complaints that are not whiny, they will deem them as credible and change will begin.

--, Making design and application one. †

View EEngineer's profile


1103 posts in 3636 days

#7 posted 02-18-2010 02:54 PM

With all due respect, Firehouse, it won’t change a damned thing!

The last time I bought plywood at HD (and I do mean the last time), the plys separated on the way home! When I tried to return it, I was told that they didn’t warranty foreign plywood! They didn’t even want to give me my money back for obviously defective product. I got my money back but it took escalation up to the manager.

It isn’t just plywood, either. I recently installed a new steam plant in my house. Most of the plumbing came from a contractor supply house. Good Wards, made in the USA, stuff. When it came time to do the water supply line, I figured what the hell and bought some 1/2” copper pipe and a 1/2” union from HD; it was convenient. Cheap Chinese junk! I could not get the union to seal! I went back to the contractor supply house and paid more for an American fitting.

All this talk about cheaper foreign goods is a crock! If they would accept the same shit quality from USA manufacturers that they get from China, then, hell yes, we could compete!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3915 days

#8 posted 02-18-2010 04:03 PM

I think you would be paying more than “a few dollars more” if HD carried American made plywood. If you are that concerned about the quality of the wood, you should be buying from a lumber supplier, where you have a choice of grades, rather than a DIY store.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View sparky52's profile


6 posts in 3044 days

#9 posted 02-18-2010 04:09 PM

I don’t know about where you all are from but here in central California I would estimate the 60 to 70 percent of Lowes and Home Depots customer base does not speak English as there first language. They don’t know any better or care about quality. I go to the local hardwood supplier when I need quality product.

-- Amateure wood worker,I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. Thomas Jefferson

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3494 days

#10 posted 02-18-2010 04:26 PM

1/3 to 1/2 ???? whew!

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3092 days

#11 posted 02-18-2010 05:33 PM

It’s always been a mystery to me why people expect high quality materials at big box prices. Their business is selling large volumes of low cost material to a large customer base (can we say Wal-Mart?). It works for many situations, but it’s unrealistic to expect to get high quality plywood for $40 (or less) per sheet. I’m sure that the big boxes would gladly carry high quality ply, but it wouldn’t be selling for $40/sheet – and they probably wouldn’t move the volume necessary to fit their business model.

Would you complain about a KIA dealer not selling BMW quality cars at KIA prices??


-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3327 days

#12 posted 02-18-2010 05:42 PM

Bring money…

Good post.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3167 days

#13 posted 02-18-2010 05:53 PM

Menards is a great option if you have one in your area. They do carry the C3 & C4 grade import plywood, but they also stock A-C grade US manufactured ply. Some of that is carried as regular stock, some is special order.

Also, if you go to their racks and see only warps and splinters talk to the special order desk, generally Menards cares about the quality of their lumber and you’ll be able to special order the common types.

View LarryDNJR's profile


209 posts in 3117 days

#14 posted 02-18-2010 09:53 PM

I like the idea of listing reliable wood suppliers in our areas. I am trying to find one in Columbus, OH. Anyone have any good ideas? I checked out this one place called Smith Dodson Lumber & Millwork Co: Retail Sales on Colton Rd and boy was it a joke. I actually had my hopes on going in there considering what I’ve heard in the past. They didn’t have any wood. They did however had a bunch of doors and windows and some OLD packaged drill bits, saw blades and a bunch of misc boxes of screws/nails to grab from. They guy had some excuse that they don’t have much right now because they are changing things around. Looked to me like its been baron for a while. Guessing their focus is mostly on siding/decking/door sales etc. Anyways so long story short I don’t recommend there at least not right now. :) Any one else have good wood supplier in the Columbus or local area?

-- ~Larry Columbus, OH

View Dave Pearce's profile

Dave Pearce

108 posts in 3696 days

#15 posted 02-18-2010 10:12 PM


Check out this thread for Lumber suppliers in Central Ohio.


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