which plywood

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Forum topic by daddywoofdawg posted 09-27-2014 08:23 AM 2151 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1028 posts in 1540 days

09-27-2014 08:23 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jig

I see all of these jigs on all these sites made from what looks like baltic birch 50+ a 5×5 sheet,are people really using that? or is there a type of ply that just looks like it?

10 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2936 days

#1 posted 09-27-2014 08:44 AM

Are you asking, “Are people really using expensive, $50+ dollar a sheet baltic birch plywood for jigs?”
are you asking, “Are people finding real baltic birch plywood that is only $50+ a sheet to use for jigs?”
are you asking, “Are people finding a substitute for expensive baltic birch plywood that’s only $50+ a sheet?

Can’t really tell the tone of voice in a web posting, and in this case it makes a huge difference.

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1028 posts in 1540 days

#2 posted 09-27-2014 08:53 AM

Are people really using expensive, $50+ dollar a sheet baltic birch plywood for jigs?”
and is there a alternative other than cdx ply.

View bondogaposis's profile


4682 posts in 2316 days

#3 posted 09-27-2014 12:44 PM

That comes out to $2/ bf which is a lot cheaper than most of us pay for hardwood lumber, so yes, I use it for jigs sometimes, if it is one that I plan on using over and over. For one time use jigs I will use particle board or MDF.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1900 days

#4 posted 09-27-2014 01:19 PM

I use BB when I feel like I need to, as in a jig that is going to get used repeatedly. It sounds expensive, but it goes a long way. For instance, I bought a 4×8 piece of 1/2” BB for about $53 a few months ago. So far I have made a drill press table, a large 45 degree crosscut sled, and a large SLR/tapering sled, and I still have some left over. So, at $18 per sled, I’m not really sweating it too much.

I also use mdf and cabinet grade plywood for jigs as well. My trusty ole crosscut sled was made from cabinet grade ply left over from a job and it is still going strong.

In the end, I think any high grade plywood will do, and even mdf if used the correct way. Just stay away from junky particle board or low end plywood unless it is for a one or two time use jig.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Crank50's profile


173 posts in 1541 days

#5 posted 09-27-2014 10:01 PM

I really hate CDX ply at the Box Stores. It’s full of voids, overlapped plys, knot hole cutouts, and generally warped and useless for anything requiring precision.

I asked a local lumber yard if they could get me Baltic Birch and they said, “Birch plywood? Yes, we can get it.”
Turns out that was cabinet ply with a veneer of Birch way thinner than paper.

I have found some AC sand ply at Home Depot that was decent and had 7 plys for 3/4” material, better than that 5 ply CDX stuff, it had almost no voids and had exterior glue. The sand ply was a special purchase at $27 per sheet and I bought 4 sheets, but they have never had it again. Too bad, but this is still not going to help if you need 1/2”, 3/8” or 1/4” plywood. That is just going to have to be ordered, perhaps from a cabinet shop.

View JAAune's profile


1788 posts in 2281 days

#6 posted 09-27-2014 10:14 PM

I use whatever scraps are left lying about and that’s usually cabinet grade plywood which runs between $50-$80 per 4’x8’ sheet. Some jigs are disposable but others need to be built to last because if they stay precise, they’ll save thousands of dollars over their lifetime in time savings.

For some jigs I’ll use cabinet-grade particle board or MDF but I prefer the particle board as it seems to be less effected by humidity. It’ll swell in direct contact with water but that’s generally not an issue in the shop.

-- See my work at and

View ChefHDAN's profile


1057 posts in 2814 days

#7 posted 09-27-2014 10:18 PM

I’m a vicious wood hoarder and have been fortunate to work in and around places where melamine cabinet ply and MDO ply are thrown out rather often. Whenever I see it I get as much as I can into the car. As Bondo said, it can be cheaper than hardwood, and it’s also cheaper to only build the jig once, and have it on the shelf when you need it again, so if I didn’t have the “reclaimed” wood I’d buy the BB

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Redoak49's profile


3195 posts in 1953 days

#8 posted 09-27-2014 10:28 PM

I will use baltic birch plywood when necessary. I have found Aruaco Plywood at a couple places. It is cheaper than the baltic birch but is also of a high quality (not quite as good as the baltic birch). and not as expensive at about $33 for a 3/4×48 x 96 sheet.

I used this to build all of my shop cabinets and it worked very well.

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1494 days

#9 posted 09-27-2014 10:45 PM

I like using BB for jigs. I don’t find it that expensive.
I’m buying unfinished (import) 5×5’s for 26.00 a sheet,
pre finished (import) 5×5’s for 32.00 a sheet. For an import, it’s not bad. It’s the only import material I will buy.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Loren's profile


10260 posts in 3613 days

#10 posted 09-27-2014 10:59 PM

You can buy veneer core ply in other formats too.

Baltic and Russian birch ply have a full-thickness
veneer on each face, so you can round and bevel
the edges and the faces work more like solid
wood than thin veneer. Other than that it’s
not structurally so different from any veneer
core ply.

I use 1/2” prefinished maple ply for jigs sometimes
when I have it on hand. It comes in 4-8 sheets
and is not too expensive. The face veneers are
thin but the finish is very tough and has some
thickness to it that protects the veneers pretty
well so it can, sort of, be used in the same kind
of exposed edge applications as Baltic birch type
stuff. It’s probably not as flat or stable but it’s

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