Baltic birch, need to have long arms!

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Forum topic by firefighterontheside posted 05-15-2013 10:03 PM 891 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5918 posts in 611 days

05-15-2013 10:03 PM

I just bought my first baltic birch. I am not short at over 5’ 10”, but I can barely move the stuff around my shop. Who ever thought to make this stuff 5 by 5 must have been very tall. Have never used the stuff, but I am going to build a storage shelf unit for LP records like you used to see in record stores. Anyone have any recommendations to go along with using baltic birch or is it pretty easy to work with. I plan to round over a lot of edges. Is this done easily on baltic birch?

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

13 replies so far

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1724 days

#1 posted 05-15-2013 10:34 PM

In my experience, BB ply is the nicest of the plies to work with. It will rout and sand well, if you are looking for a timber to almost match it, use maple.

View poopiekat's profile


3748 posts in 2489 days

#2 posted 05-15-2013 10:37 PM

Best for projects requiring a fair bit of precision and flatness; that’s what you’re paying for.

If you have a full-size van, Econoline, etc, or any pickup with a cap on the back, you’re not getting a full sheet home in one piece.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Loren's profile


7832 posts in 2403 days

#3 posted 05-15-2013 11:23 PM

It’s metric. 1500mm I think.

In some ways it works better than solid wood. It takes
detail on the edges well.


View NiteWalker's profile


2710 posts in 1332 days

#4 posted 05-16-2013 12:50 AM

BB ply is great.
The edges can splinter if you’re not careful with them. It takes edge details just fine.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View nwbusa's profile


1017 posts in 1041 days

#5 posted 05-16-2013 02:22 AM

BB is good stuff. Flat, void free, and works well. I’m about your height, I just stand the sheets up, spread my arms and hoist is up against my chest. Not the most graceful way to move it but it gets the job done.

-- John, BC, Canada

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1286 posts in 827 days

#6 posted 05-16-2013 06:22 PM

It is also available in 4×8 sheets now in most places. That is all I buy currently. 5×5 sheets were the product of drawer box, and cabinet yields in certain cabinet systems about 10 years ago. Now, with under mount guides changing yields, 4×8 sheets are common.

-- Who is John Galt?

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5594 posts in 2340 days

#7 posted 05-16-2013 06:43 PM

Great stuff but very pricey still if you want the best then buy baltic.You can also buy finished mdf with both sides or one side finished with a nice veneer to it.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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2710 posts in 1332 days

#8 posted 05-16-2013 07:48 PM

Appleply is pretty much the american version of baltic birch. It’s just as nice. Maybe a bit nicer as the faces have maple and are very smooth. $$$ though.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View RogerInColorado's profile


310 posts in 709 days

#9 posted 05-17-2013 05:37 AM

Appleply may or may not be more expensive than Baltic birch. Need to compare price for 32 square feet of apple ply vs 25 square feet of Baltic birch. Wouldn’t hurt to at least do a quick and dirty estimate of the waste for both sizes.

View Grandpa's profile


3213 posts in 1430 days

#10 posted 05-17-2013 02:03 PM

I have radiused lots of edges on BB ply. it can splinter but it isn’t bad about that. take it easy and keep the grain straight and you are usually okay.

View MrRon's profile


2993 posts in 1998 days

#11 posted 05-18-2013 08:15 PM

Be careful if you buy BB locally. Some dealers precut panels into handy sizes. If you see panels that measure 15×30, then it will be BB. But if you see panels cut to a size like 24×48, or 12×12, or 24×36, then they were cut from a 4’x8’ sheet that came either from here or China. Only BB comes in 60×60 sheets.

View Jerry's profile


2253 posts in 2302 days

#12 posted 05-18-2013 11:09 PM

We use it to build dovetail drawers a lot. It machines well with router.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio,

View Moron's profile


4725 posts in 2648 days

#13 posted 05-18-2013 11:30 PM

try a 5’ x 10’ x 3” sheet of MDF with cherry veneer on both sides

300 sheets later a sheet of 5×5 seems as light as a popcorn fart

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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