Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Alternatives to Birch Ply for Workshop Drawers etc.

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

JoeSheffer

Established Member
Joined
3 Oct 2018
Messages
55
Reaction score
14
Location
London
Throwing together some more workshop drawers etc today and have run out of 18mm birch ply. Just looked at the price of it online an BB 18mm birch ply is now £70 a sheet or more in most places.

Do you guys have any suggestions for a cheaper grade of ply than the birch that isn't trash meant for shuttering etc and will hold a reasonable edge. I've no idea what to ask for at the timber merchant and most of the online guidance deals with the United States which has very different availability.

Thanks
Joe

P.S. Feel like i'm becoming a serial question asker on this forum! Thanks for all the help so far - finding myself asking questions on here the whole time at the moment.
 

JoeSheffer

Established Member
Joined
3 Oct 2018
Messages
55
Reaction score
14
Location
London
Cheers Bill - i only need a sheet and delivery from up north will be too much. I'm down south.
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,441
Reaction score
630
Location
Tunbridge Wells
Travis Perkins, much as I dislike them, do sometimes have (in the larger depots) 18mm and 24mm ply of decent face quality that would be fine for workshop drawers. I can't remember what I paid (trade price) last as it was several months ago that I bought half a dozen sheets of 18mm from them. I think it was around £30 a sheet, possibly plus VAT. Their quality varies so if they have stock you need to look at it IMO.
 

billw

The Tattooed One
UKW Supporter
Joined
26 Apr 2009
Messages
1,576
Reaction score
787
Location
Sutton Coldfield, UK
Thanks Bill as there are 2 depots within travelling distance from me. As it's BB what is the quality like?
Well I speak from chronically limited experience, but reading up on the difference between B and BB grade is interesting! In 4 full sheets of BB I'd say on either side I've found a mere handful of plugs, and if you factored in natural wastage I reckon you'd barely notice. Now that's because I've made stuff with small pieces so any defects I can hide easily so really if you're wanting 4 perfect 1200x600 sides then BB grade might let you down (occasionally).

Comparing to a much cheaper sheet of ply that I bought, the colour is paler and more consistent.
 

JoeSheffer

Established Member
Joined
3 Oct 2018
Messages
55
Reaction score
14
Location
London
Will run over to north london and pick up a couple sheets of the 12mm from Builder Depot. Not a bad price at all.
 

pcb1962

Established Member
Joined
28 Jan 2014
Messages
1,063
Reaction score
141
Location
Surrey
Will run over to north london and pick up a couple sheets of the 12mm from Builder Depot. Not a bad price at all.
They've been the cheapest place to buy birch ply I know around London for many years, my local in Guildford charges £90 a sheet.
 

JoeSheffer

Established Member
Joined
3 Oct 2018
Messages
55
Reaction score
14
Location
London
They've been the cheapest place to buy birch ply I know around London for many years, my local in Guildford charges £90 a sheet.
The pipper is that it's trade accounts only at the moment with the bloody covid and i don't have one (...and the process of setting one up seems a pain in the buttocks!)
 

Brian H

Established Member
Joined
12 Jan 2020
Messages
28
Reaction score
1
Location
Kent, UK
I'll start by saying complete novice... I am in the progress of setting up my first workshop, all very exciting but had to 'hold off' on cupboard / draws etc as the price of birch seemed astronomical in my humble opinion... that being said I just couldn't wait any longer as having stuff everywhere was making it a real pain.

So, I bit the bullet last night and purchased the poplar ply B/BB at around £30 per sheet, hopefully will have delivered by weekend... hoping it'll work out and I won't be gutted I went cheap option. Will happily post picture of face / colour quality if it will help?

Cheers
Brian
 

chris.gid

Established Member
Joined
13 Jan 2019
Messages
22
Reaction score
5
Location
Chesham
I can recommend Builder Depot, i have bought a good amount or their birch ply and normally one of the sides is defect free and just a few plugs on the other.

Depending where you are you can try Welbm i ordered some birch ply from them in Nov and its at least as good as builder depot and delivery is reasonable if you are close to them.

I would not recommend poplar ply/ marine ply, the veneer is wafer thin and really easy to sand through and it tears out really easily when cutting, plus i hate the smell of the stuff.
 

Spectric

Established Member
Joined
19 Feb 2015
Messages
713
Reaction score
248
Location
North Cumbria
I use BB/BB from here.... about £50 a sheet (although you'll be hammered for delivery depending on quantity)
This company is part of Arnold Laver and my nearest would be about 100 miles away in either Newcastle or Middlesborough. But I think they supply some of the more local timber merchants round here as I have seen there Yellow curtained wagons on the road.
 

Roberto Flintofski

Established Member
Joined
3 May 2020
Messages
142
Reaction score
54
Location
North Lincolnshire
I have bought B/BB And BB/BB and marine and never had a good experience, the stuff we get here in the uk looks nothing like the quality they get in the States
 

Chris70

Established Member
Joined
16 Mar 2019
Messages
43
Reaction score
14
Location
Semley
I hear on the www that the birch ply available in the USA surpasses anything available in the UK. Is this fact or rumour? I've no personal experience to corroborate this opinion. So, if I was to buy some superior 18mm ply, where would you recommend I look in my neck of the woods, no pun intended, please? Oh, I'm on the Wiltshire/Dorset borders.
 

robgul

Barry Bucknell is my hero
Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
275
Reaction score
124
Location
Stratford-upon-Avon
I hear on the www that the birch ply available in the USA surpasses anything available in the UK. Is this fact or rumour? I've no personal experience to corroborate this opinion. So, if I was to buy some superior 18mm ply, where would you recommend I look in my neck of the woods, no pun intended, please? Oh, I'm on the Wiltshire/Dorset borders.
The best ply I've bought is from Cutlist (they cut it too!) CutList | Sheet materials Cut & Edged, Spray Prime/Lacquer, Shaker doors - superb quality for "naked ply" furniture. Not exactly handy being between Oxford & High Wycombe but they do deliver - and are very helpful.

I agree that US ply is better - and from I've seen in the likes of Lowes and Home Depot much cheaper than here. I think that it tends to be from Canada rather than Russia or China which seem to be a major source in the UK
 

Chris70

Established Member
Joined
16 Mar 2019
Messages
43
Reaction score
14
Location
Semley
I remember Barry Bucknell. Do you remember Kenny Everett's DIY sketches?

Your feedback is appreciated. I'll look at 'CutList'. So you've been over the pond to visit material in 'Home Depot' and the like. Do you know if the Russian material is superior to the Chinese? Just wondered!

Chris
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
16,719
Reaction score
251
Location
Derbyshire
18mm birch is a bit OTT unless you really need heavy grade drawers.
For most puposes you can use cheap meranti 6mm ply for drawer bottoms and 12 for the sides.
Even cheaper if you use solid wood; redwood etc
 
Top