3/4" Baltic Birch defect, how to minimize

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Forum topic by jkjames posted 10-10-2012 05:45 PM 1404 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 1446 days

10-10-2012 05:45 PM

I have cut 3/4 Baltic Birch for a cabinet project and now at the finishing stage I have noticed a uniform wavy defect in the material. It is perpendicular to the grain, uniform in spacing at about 1”, seems to be a machine made “anomaly”. The waviness is visual… there is no waviness in the thickness of the panel.

I did go back and inspect the scraps and I can see the identical pattern in the raw stock, so my work on the wood didn’t cause the defect.

So now that my stain has accentuated the defect, I am pondering what to do to save the material. Anyone been here before??

The picture should give you an idea what it looks like, though it doesn’t truly show the prominence of the defect due to light and reflection, but you get the idea. It is across 100% of the panel.

6 replies so far

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2688 days

#1 posted 10-10-2012 05:57 PM

Use a cabinet or card scraper to scrape it at about a 45 degree
angle to the grain in the panel, both ways. This will knock off
the high spots.


View jkjames's profile


9 posts in 1446 days

#2 posted 10-10-2012 06:07 PM

The flatness of the outer ply is perfect. No high spots. I am wondering if the waviness is on an internal ply that may be showing through a non-100% opaque outer ply.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 1326 days

#3 posted 10-10-2012 06:56 PM

more likely they’re machine marks. Rollers under pressure can compress the fibers so they take stain differently.

View HorizontalMike's profile


6975 posts in 1954 days

#4 posted 10-10-2012 07:04 PM

I think Charlie is correct about the machine marks flattening the grain. With so little to work with on veneered ply, one has to wonder it it would be advisable to raise the grain with water and re-sand the finish. A dangerous prospect for sure.

The only thing I could think of, for the future, would be to use a wood pre-conditioner before staining, however that does not help here. Sorry.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View MrRon's profile


3447 posts in 2283 days

#5 posted 10-10-2012 07:12 PM

Was this genuine Baltic Birch ply that comes in 5’x5’ sheets? If you cut from 4’x8’ panels, then that wasn’t BB and there would be more defects.

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9 posts in 1446 days

#6 posted 10-10-2012 07:23 PM


It was 5×5 sheet BB/CP claimed by the lumber yard. No patches on either side of the sheet.

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