plastic/phenolic sheet sources

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Forum topic by Tailor posted 05-13-2009 10:16 AM 8514 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 4130 days

05-13-2009 10:16 AM

This might be a dumb question, but that never stopped me before.

In many shop made jig and guide designs, I see phrases that go something like this:

“For this jig I chose a sheet of 4/5/6/8/etc mil sheet of acrylic/plastic/phenolic for it’s rigidity/flexibility/strength/etc.”

Or phrases like this:

“First you get a 1/4” plastic/acrylic/phenolic sheet and cut out a (fill in shape or dimensions here)/custom router base/etc.”

The question is this. Where are these people getting this stuff? Unless its just normal to call up a plastics supply place and order a few sheets of these materials, I have no idea where one gets the stuff. Maybe there is an obvious answer I have been missing, if so, please tell me.

I guess I would also like to know if there are any special considerations to working this stuff, does it need to be cut or milled in some special way?

19 replies so far

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420 posts in 3879 days

#1 posted 05-13-2009 01:15 PM

Lowes or home depot sells sheets of acrylic. You can also order from the custom cabinet area(formica)

I havent done any of this yet…

phenolic you can get from rockler, but its expensive.

-- If you can't build it, code it. If you can't code it, build it. But always ALWAYS take a picture.

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117417 posts in 3814 days

#2 posted 05-13-2009 06:06 PM

I have student that uses plastic cutting boards from a dollar store

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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1170 posts in 3695 days

#3 posted 05-13-2009 06:25 PM

-- San Diego, CA

View parkerdude's profile


182 posts in 3688 days

#4 posted 06-14-2009 06:17 PM

Hi Tailor,

Here in St. Louis there are a couple of plastic supply and fabrication companies that sell their odd cutoffs and scrap for a lower price than for whole sheets. They sell it out of their office by the pound. Most of the various plastic sheet goods aren’t so high, but phenolic is HEAVY and therefore a bit pricey.

Good luck

-- dust control

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Mike Gager

665 posts in 3504 days

#5 posted 06-16-2009 02:40 PM

try as well

you might have a local store close to you too, there is a store search function on their site

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Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3970 days

#6 posted 06-22-2009 03:02 AM

I live in Maine and can’t find anything like that around here – I use McMaster-Carr or Grainger. I can’t even find plastic laminate here – neither Lowes doesn’t carry any and I’ve only found one HD that carries nothing but full sheets and those are $60. Somehow I can’t justify spending $60 when I only need a 15×18 inch sheet and have no place to store the remainder. Can’t find any online either. Lumber stores in the area offer it at $3 per sq ft, minimum of 15 sq ft! What really sucks is that Pionite, one of the big producers is only 25 miles away but you can’t get it directly from them.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View skone's profile


147 posts in 3042 days

#7 posted 02-20-2011 05:06 PM

Thanks for asking this question. I believe I’ll be trying the local Grainger store — I’ve never been in it. I always thought it was a contractor only, wholesale sort of operation. As for dollar store cutting boards, I think that’s a great idea. You gamble on availability and actual material but I would imagine templates have been made from more questionable materials. And as I’m new to template making, cutting on inexpensive material for practice and room for error sounds great.

-- "Take extra care not to lose what you feel" (Winwood/Capaldi/Wood)

View harvey4804's profile


120 posts in 2919 days

#8 posted 02-21-2011 07:35 AM

Try Port Plastics I deal with this company very often. Very polite and informative and have a large variety in stock. They can even give you certifications for the material if you want them.

-- Ryan, FRMR HMM165 - HMX1 01-10

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3160 days

#9 posted 02-21-2011 02:15 PM

I use the dollar boards a lot. Also I poke around the Habitat for Humanity stores and sometimes you get lucky and find a piece of Phenolic cheap. When I do I always buy it whether I need it or not.

-- Life is good.

View 2talltary's profile


5 posts in 2873 days

#10 posted 03-08-2011 08:52 PM and are great places for acrylic and phenolic.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2876 days

#11 posted 03-31-2011 09:22 AM

Rockler ONLY has the 24” x 36” iirc. I want a 48×48.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 2869 days

#12 posted 03-31-2011 11:07 AM

IKEA sells a 2 pc pack of cutting boards for $1.99. I’ve also “sourced” good materials from garage sales. My freind has a nice router table he made from a clear plastic basketball backboard he bought for $10.
Materials are all around you. I can’t make it 20 paces in Ikea without seeing some item and thinking “hmmm that would make a good _ jig. “

View LaughingLarry's profile


1 post in 2726 days

#13 posted 08-03-2011 12:42 AM

Hey David,
Not sure they can help, but I just bought a sheet of stuff called paper based phenolic in .375” thick. The sheet was pricey, but fit my needs really well. I live in San Diego, and picked it up in Anaheim at Industrial Plastic mentioned above – and they cut it to size for me. I don’t know if they have the size you need, but I got a 39” X 48”. They are at: and they have lots of cut pieces of lots of materials in their store. Got some great blocks of black plastic stuff to work with. Here is their number – give-um a call: 866-832-9315. Good luck. Larry

View Pimzedd's profile


614 posts in 4379 days

#14 posted 08-03-2011 01:33 AM

Tailor, where do you live. If it is a major city, most have plastics supply houses. Some with custom cut to size. Some with have a drop-off bin with great prices. They all stock multiple types of plastics and multiple thickness. This is based on my teaching a Plastics Technology vocational course in Dallas for 34 years. Look in the Yellow Pages under plastics suppliers or plastics fabricators. Wait, do they still have Yellow Pages?

The sites others have provided will probably meet all your needs.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View MrRon's profile


5263 posts in 3480 days

#15 posted 08-03-2011 04:48 PM

There are many plastic supply houses with on-line catalogs. One such source is:

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