Baltic Birch - Is This Normal

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Forum topic by todd4390 posted 08-23-2014 02:21 AM 2328 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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136 posts in 1303 days

08-23-2014 02:21 AM

I bought some Baltic birch plywood today at a local wood supplier and these patches are in numerous locations throughout the sheets. Is this normal?

11 replies so far

View Woodmaster1's profile


854 posts in 2422 days

#1 posted 08-23-2014 02:26 AM

It depends on the grade. A local supplier may not carry the best grade of plywood because of the cost and what you are willing to pay.

View rustynails's profile


721 posts in 2364 days

#2 posted 08-23-2014 03:09 AM

No I would not except that for BB

View cabmaker's profile


1621 posts in 2644 days

#3 posted 08-23-2014 03:24 AM

Yes it is typical

View LoriF's profile


119 posts in 1712 days

#4 posted 08-23-2014 04:57 AM

Todd- General Baltic Birch Grades with examples of possible defects.

-- There's a crack in everything that’s how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen

View skatefriday's profile


410 posts in 1318 days

#5 posted 08-23-2014 06:23 AM

The supplier should disclose the grade he’s selling.

I’ve actually never seen B/BB, which would imply no patches
in one side. I did buy a sheet of BB/BB from my local plywood supplier a
few weeks ago, and when it arrived at my truck it had more
defects that I was happy with. I refused that sheet and they
replaced it with another that was better.

They probably hate that, but I do buy all my wood there and
there are three other suppliers within about an equal radius of
me so I consider it fair. :-)

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2263 days

#6 posted 08-23-2014 06:36 AM

A more serious defect would be voids and overlaps when looking at the edges, on inferior grades. I usually pay quite a bit less for BB with knot patches on one side, the other being perfect. The BB my supplier has, is absolutely perfect when looking at the edges. Midway Plywood Lynnwood WA.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View robscastle's profile


4507 posts in 2040 days

#7 posted 08-23-2014 09:41 AM

Check the standard for plywood grades it will detail exactly what is acceptable as the grades go from AA to DD

From memory the example you show if it contained on only one side would be C or D grade however you do not indicate what the other side is in comparison to be able to determine what the overall ply sheet rating is.

Even the AA grade may have gaps in the edges which will become apparent after cutting.

AA is both sides suitable for furniture, and correspondingly the most expensive.

Here is one example:

Plywood face veneer qualities

Plywood comes in a variety of face veneers for both decorative & non decorative uses.
Plywood stores have a range of face qualities available, from AA appearance grade & Marine Plywood to CD, DD & Pallet grade plywood.


Plywood veneer face quality “A” A Grade Face
Veneer quality “A” has an appearance grade face with no visible defects. “A” grade veneer faces are suitable for clear finishing. Suitable to be used in applications where surface decorative appearance is a primary consideration.
Species include Hoop Pine & Marine Ply.

Plywood veneer face quality “B” B Grade Face
Veneer quality “B” has an appearance grade face. B grade veneer faces are suitable for high quality staining and paint finishing. However small, sound knots are allowed in a B grade face. Plywood species include Fijian Cedar, Hoop Pine, Kauri Pine and Radiata Pine.

-- Regards Robert

View todd4390's profile


136 posts in 1303 days

#8 posted 08-23-2014 11:49 AM

Well for the money I spent on a 5×5 sheet of this I would have been better off just going to a big box store and getting a 4×8 sheet of regular birch ply.

View REO's profile


923 posts in 1909 days

#9 posted 08-23-2014 01:17 PM

Todd the most important feature of Baltic birch is the void free intermediate layers. The patched knots would usually be on a c face although I have seen them on a b graded face. I have run into some pretty bad stuff on plain birch ply sheets even from “quality suppliers” open lamination, laminar folds that buggered up the face sheet. the face is so thin that it can hardly be sanded for a finish. for anything, you have to determine what works and go with it. Sorry you are having a go round with quality.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1260 days

#10 posted 08-23-2014 05:44 PM

I like my local lumber supplier. Family owned. He asks what you are working on and steers you to the best timber for the application and is still cost effective. Worth paying a little extra for quality wood, advice, and service.

The paint grade plywood he sells looks better than what I am seeing in this photo.
The furniture grade is incredible.

-- Brad, Texas,

View CreekOne's profile


113 posts in 1208 days

#11 posted 08-27-2014 02:49 PM

A lot of ‘Baltic birch plywood’ is made here in Sweden and i have never seen it without patches…

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