Do you advise buying plywood at Lowes?

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Forum topic by Don46 posted 07-22-2008 06:12 AM 39037 views 1 time favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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44 posts in 3597 days

07-22-2008 06:12 AM

I’m a new woodworker and I’m planning wine racks for a basement installation. The racks will be seven feet high and one will be four feet across, andother seven feet across, all about 13 inches deep and backed with plywood. I’m thinking I’ll use 3/4 in plywood for most of this project. It will be a lot of wood in the end. Lowes sells 4×8 plywood w red oak finish for a little under $50. I’ve not compared w other suppliers. This is a basement storage area, so it is not fine furniture, but I want it to look nice. I welcome your advice.


-- --Don, Folly Beach, SC

31 replies so far

View woodspar's profile


710 posts in 4095 days

#1 posted 07-22-2008 06:23 AM

Do you have local lumberyards that you can check? Don’t assume that L’s or HD’s have the lowest price.

-- John

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3751 days

#2 posted 07-22-2008 06:38 AM

As John said, there may be less expensive places. There certainly places with better quality.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3811 days

#3 posted 07-22-2008 06:41 AM

John has a good point. I go to the lumber yard where all the cabinet makers in town get their stuff. The plywood is high quality and it is very comparable to the borg’s prices. The last time I was at Lowes, I looked at the stack of oak plywood just for kicks. It was all warped and damaged from being misshandled by an oaf with a forklift. They left that crap out till it all got bought by some poor soul.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3836 days

#4 posted 07-22-2008 09:18 AM

I have found that the material sold by Lowes and HD is junk. Their plywood is full of voids and tends to Delaminate. It is made in China, and has no know useage.
I would find out where the cabineymakers in your area buy from. Price should not five where you buy from. Go somewhere where they stand by what they sell, sometimes you only get what you pay for.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Don46's profile


44 posts in 3597 days

#5 posted 07-22-2008 02:30 PM

Many thanks for your warnings. I will do some calling around. A local building supply store (Boozers Lumber) is going out of business (bad timing: expanded into the housing bubble burst) and they had a lot of wood for sale, all at half price. There are other lumber dealers and lots of experienced people I can ask.

-- --Don, Folly Beach, SC

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 3633 days

#6 posted 07-23-2008 05:39 AM

I have to echo with EdC.

I’ve been using some of the product as supplied, but be aware of potential issues.

From the size of both racks, I assume you’re going to store more than three bottles of Boones Farm…

Caveat emptor, buyer beware…Paying more at a specialty shop doesn’t fix the problem if it came off the same boat.

Short changing quality in this stage may lead to a disaster later with a delam problem…

“Let’s all sing…300 bottles of wine on the floor, 300 bottles of wine,,,can’t pass them around , ‘cause they came crashing down, 300 bottles of wine on the floor…” Anyone want to see my shark bite scar? ( in a poor imitation of Captain Quint.)


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4396 days

#7 posted 07-23-2008 05:46 AM

The problem in living our in the low populated areas, mean the choice is minimal. I need about 12 sheets of maple ply for the kitchen cabinets that I’m going to make. I hope that I can find some good stuff.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Don46's profile


44 posts in 3597 days

#8 posted 07-23-2008 10:12 AM

Yesterday I stopped by a couple of places, including a cabinet shop that will sell hardwood sheets (ripped if I want for a small extra charge) for slightly more than Lowes, but much higher quality: B2 Birch He thought Lowes sold C2 for Birch. I went down the road to Stock building supply and was finding Birch in different thicknesses for less than Lowes and higher grade.

Now I need to do some thinking about what I want this to look like. I have a structural design in mind, and I think I know how to make my cuts and joints. But what kind of wood with what kind of finish remains to be decided. Most of the people I’m talking too say birch would be a common, good look, especially if I were to stain them.

-- --Don, Folly Beach, SC

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3986 days

#9 posted 07-23-2008 10:51 PM

Check the plywood for that “Made in China” stamp first. You’ll find we’ve been hashing it over and over here at LumberJocks. Avoid that crap. Avoid the hassles. Avoid the anger.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Andy McCormick's profile

Andy McCormick

31 posts in 3590 days

#10 posted 07-23-2008 11:46 PM

Only buy plywood from these places if its your only outlet. Generally the quality is not there. You will see problems in staing where the veneers butt up to each other.

-- Andy, Liberty,Indiana,

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 3766 days

#11 posted 07-23-2008 11:50 PM

You can spot the Chineese stuff easily if you know what you are looking for. If it looks bowed on the pile, don’t even get close, just walk away. That is unless you want your project with the same curve to it… Other things to look for, are many thin plies… Almost like baltic birch. Another, is the thinness of the exterior (face) veneer. If you can see the grain if the next layer through the veneer, walk away.

Noted here in the Chicago area, I have seen some ply marked with a Canadian maple leaf on the edge! It does not say made in Canada nor does it say China, but it is some pretty nasty stuff.


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

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3986 days

#12 posted 07-24-2008 04:13 PM

Canadian Maple leaf stamps? The stuff I got from Lowes was tagged with “SamLingUSA” which throws you as well. And Don, it was labled as a cabinet grade, maple faced ply. Looked good on the pile…Lowes sells a lot of it…but it’s some of the worst stuff out there! Like I said, there’s been numerous discussions here about the Chinese plywood…all bad.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 3737 days

#13 posted 07-24-2008 05:21 PM

In my area the closet remaining lumberyard almost seems to have hand picked sheets of grade A, handled and stored with perfect sides and corners. Cost may be 10-15% higher but worth every penny. Will usually try to tack it on an order if able, when my boss needs high quality wood for a job(yes, I pay him.) Sometimes will settle for the big box, with a little picking and choosing little or no quality issues. The yard just seems to have nicer patterns, could be my imagination. For small orders at the yard I try to avoid rush hours and have list, know what I want, have proper vehicle, etc. and at all costs avoid the pain in the ass customer list.

-- Ciao, gth.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3749 days

#14 posted 07-24-2008 05:40 PM

If you are willing to deal with the defects in the plywood then use it. I made my Miter Bench out of the stuff, much of the veneer was very pretty but I had a lot of waste working around some pieces de-laminating, those became drawer sides and cleats that are never seen. Just avoid any sheets with bows or cups in them unlike solid wood, cutting a piece down does not remove bow or cup.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View DanM's profile


90 posts in 3704 days

#15 posted 07-25-2008 09:16 PM

EdC – Who do you recommend in N. Seattle? What about Midway Plywood on 99? Any others?


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