Furniture grade plywood

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Philw

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Hi all,

1. Looking to build simple shelving within my airing cupboard and built in wardrobe out of plyboard. My research has turned up Birch plywood BB/BB is the best looking stuff for the job but ever so expensive at £100+ per sheet.
I've spoken to a local yard who have similar but I think its only BB one side and far more reasonably priced at £45 or so per sheet but none in stock for the foreseeable.
Any recommendations on what I could go with - should I hold out for the above to be restocked?

2. How do you recommend fixing the freestanding shelves? I am assuming simple battens fixed to the wall to rest the shelves on? Any alternate recommendations?

3. The largest shelf I will make is ~750mm x 650mm. In your experience will a single sheet of 18mm ply withhold most weight or should I brace it?

4. I've seen the key to a prime edge finish is careful planning to remove all saw marks then a sand from 120-240grit. Any further comments?

5. If anyone in the east midlands/nottinghamshire area has recommendations on a good timber yard also, it would be appreciated.
 

Jameshow

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I brought some Wickes ply for a camper conversion which had a very good veneer face.
It cut well with a jigsaw too.

My skills were the limiting factor tbh!!

Cheers James
 

Philw

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For airing cupboards people often use something like 2x1 pse and make slatted shelves.
I've actually moved the boiler into the loft so its currently void of any additional heat/moisture and is an empty cupboard.

Still a valid option however, and possibly much cheaper..
 

pulleyt

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5. If anyone in the east midlands/nottinghamshire area has recommendations on a good timber yard also, it would be appreciated.
My preferred supplier of sheet goods is Gibbs & Dandy in the Queen's Drive industrial estate in Nottingham. I've bought a fair bit of MRMDF and BB/B birch ply from them over the last few years.
 

TheTiddles

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For an airing cupboard you can make a dado jig for a router and then just used bendy pine from Wickes or similar to make lattice shelves, it’s most gratifying and easy with a jig.

The strength of your shelf will depend on the load you put on it (obviously), you can use much thinner ply and make a torsion box which will be stronger, lighter and cheaper, just more work.
 

porker

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One comment on the edge finishing. Unless you get premium birch ply then it is likely the edges will have some voids and overlapping plys. Quite difficult to get a great looking finish IMO even with fine sanding. Just something to be aware of.
Of course there are many other ways of finishing the edges such as filling and sanding, applying edge banding, solid edging etc.
 

thetyreman

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it's B/BB grade if you want the absolute best, BB/BB is not as good quality as B/BB, it's going to be expensive if you want the best.
 

Bristol_Rob

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The Sagulator helps you design shelves by calculating shelf sag (deflection) given type of shelf material, shelf load, load distribution, dimensions, and method of attachment. You can also specify an edging strip to further stiffen the shelf.

 

Dee J

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Tbh I've found B&q hardwood faced 18mm ply at £40 per sheet to be perfectly acceptable. Made some doors and shelves - got them to cut it too (surprisingly good edge finish) as I didn't have suitable transport. Sealed it with eggshell acrylic varnish as soon as I got it home. Unless you're desperate for a pale wood finish I can't see any reason to spend more.
IMG_20210703_090138.jpg
 

Ollie78

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I normally put a solid wood lipping on the front of shelves like this. Normally twice the thickness of the shelf ( hanging below if you see what I mean ). This serves two purposes, it stiffens up the unsupported front edge of the shelf and can serve to hide the battens supporting the shelf sides.

I prefer birch ply but it shouldn't cost £100 a sheet. The problem with the hardwood ply as pictured above is the face veneer is super thin and there will be voids.
There are poplar core plywood for indoor use I think Wisa do it. Should be cheaper than 100% birch.

Ollie
 

dephill

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For mine and my parent’s airing cupboards I used 18x45mm pine slats and I’m pretty happy with it. In mine I’ve added a tiny rad for the winter and a tubular heater on a timer for the summer.
12482BD5-E369-442B-8DFF-1A6847B76311.jpeg
868DE627-A581-480E-8C1D-74D7476A36E2.jpeg


I usually use bb/cp birch ply for furniture (knot super high end) which is one of the lower grades and haven’t had any real issues with voids etc. There will be bow-tie type fillers where knots used to be on the cp side I think but they sometimes look pretty cool as features, as in the drawer in the coat cupboard in this clip:


I buy all my sheet goods from Falcon Panel Products who I think are the largest importer in the uk. I've been to ones in High Wycombe and in Leeds but there’s a few more dotted around.
It used to be £30.36+vat for 18mm birch bb/cp just before covid but it was £51 a sheet two weeks ago.
 

Philw

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For mine and my parent’s airing cupboards I used 18x45mm pine slats and I’m pretty happy with it. In mine I’ve added a tiny rad for the winter and a tubular heater on a timer for the summer.

I usually use bb/cp birch ply for furniture (knot super high end) which is one of the lower grades and haven’t had any real issues with voids etc. There will be bow-tie type fillers where knots used to be on the cp side I think but they sometimes look pretty cool as features, as in the drawer in the coat cupboard in this clip:

I buy all my sheet goods from Falcon Panel Products who I think are the largest importer in the uk. I've been to ones in High Wycombe and in Leeds but there’s a few more dotted around.
It used to be £30.36+vat for 18mm birch bb/cp just before covid but it was £51 a sheet two weeks ago.

Annoying times to start woodworking. However I have contacted them, so heres hopes for a reasonable price.

Have you used melamine for your cupboard here? I am impressed with the finish you have achieved.
 

dephill

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I should have mentioned that even they (Falcon pp) have been out of stock on some thicknesses of birch recently. As they supply most of the timber yards in the area it gets bought in bulk as soon as it comes in. Fingers crossed!

The doors on that cupboard are 22mm MRMDF with a couple coats of Zinsser B.I.N. And two coats of oil based satinwood laid on thick with the doors horizontal.
There’s a few brush marks when you see them in the wrong light:
9FFD5B1D-D091-4C71-8B61-D561F8754BA1.jpeg
 

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