Alternatives to 3/4 inch birch ply

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Forum topic by Jamesswales posted 08-29-2014 12:00 AM 1707 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1395 days

08-29-2014 12:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: pantograph plywood cheep

Hi I am a young woodworker from the uk and have bee wanting to billy a router pantograph for quite a log time I have downloaded mattias wandals plans but found when buying the 3/4 inch ply it was not only hard to find but extremely expensive so I was just wanting to ask anyone if there is a alternative material that could be used or if there is eny were to find cheep birch ply

6 replies so far

View skatefriday's profile


418 posts in 1511 days

#1 posted 08-29-2014 03:05 AM

I had to look up what a pantograph was, but looking at
photos I’m going to say, “No.”

You want dimensional stability and baltic birch is going to
give you the best stability.

You could make it out of shop ply but when it warps
and binds, you are going to blame the author of the
plans, so he specified the material that he felt was most
likely to produce a successful result.

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2530 days

#2 posted 08-29-2014 08:38 AM

I would think that you may be able to use mdf in place of some of the 3/4” ply (the large surfaces), but from what I can see there are pieces on his plan that you would definitely not use mdf for.

It occurs to me that you could e-mail Mattias and ask. Perhaps let him know what you are able to purchase and let him respond to that rather than asking a very open question.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1452 days

#3 posted 08-29-2014 12:44 PM

If there was something just as good and cheaper than Birch plywood, we would all be using it instead.
There are several grades. If you are going to laminate it, then get a cheaper grade with one good side. I can usually get a painters grade with one good side. If not, then you have to either fill the holes or step up and spend the extra cash for furniture grade plywood.

And you are right, plywood sheet pricing has gone through the roof!

P.S. MDF does not take screws very well and is prone to damage if it comes in contact with water or severe humidity.

-- Brad, Texas,

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)


18353 posts in 1885 days

#4 posted 08-29-2014 12:49 PM

How about MDO plywood if you can get that.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View ChrisK's profile


1973 posts in 3110 days

#5 posted 08-29-2014 01:07 PM

About $60 US, I agree that plywood has gone up.

I have found for screws in MDF it is best to drill and tap a machine screw thread. I have used 10-32 and 1/4-20 screws. Not as strong as hardwood, but you can get quite good results.

-- Chris K

View Jamesswales's profile


2 posts in 1395 days

#6 posted 08-29-2014 04:57 PM

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