View Full Version : Difference between Baltic Birch and Finnish Birch plywood???

Bruce Dorworth
11-08-2011, 7:43 PM
Well, I mean other than price. I was at Woodcraft and they had several sheets of Baltic Birch in stock. I started picking some up when I noticed that some pieces were about 4 times as much as others. Well it turns out it was those darn Finns, they must be proud of their products.

Let me know if you have any experience with these two products.


Joe Pelonio
11-08-2011, 9:20 PM
I was told by a European cabinetmaker one time that Baltic birch is made here in the U.S. with domestic wood. Finnish is from Europe where it is native and has a much more clear surface, hence the higher price. The difference in cutting is still the glue used, and can vary depending on the manufacturer.

Michael Kowalczyk
11-09-2011, 9:08 PM
Hey Joe,
You were misinformed by this European. Baltic/ Russian Birch is made in Russia and in the Baltic Region. It comes in Bundles of 130 sheets and is an imported product. Some are also made in Belarus and it stinks in my humble opinion. There are many mills through out the region and I am very selective when I can be as to which ones I get but it is getting harder to find a vendor that stocks a good mill. Most is sold off before it hits port. I use what I sell so it has to meet my needs also.

Finnish is very select material. usually used for model airplane and other crafts needing thin clean grain wood. It also usually has exterior glue which does not laser well. Not sure if Finnish wood is CARB II certified or not because I have never seen the crate it comes in to see if it is stamped with it.
212510Here is an old picture I took with my old Droid last year. These were only CARB I certified.

Joe Pelonio
11-09-2011, 9:52 PM
Interesting stuff. My impression was that the domestic stuff was from imported trees or seeds and grown here, but it sounds like he was wrong.

Craig Matheny
11-10-2011, 1:27 PM
Interesting stuff. My impression was that the domestic stuff was from imported trees or seeds and grown here, but it sounds like he was wrong.

Joe not 100% wrong there are state side made Baltic Birch and Chinese made these will be your 4 x 8 sheets and made with exterior glue and sub par material Mine all come from mill 12 in russia.

Michael Kowalczyk
11-10-2011, 3:19 PM
Hey Craig,
Do you have a name of the mill here in the States? 4x8's are made in Russia also. I have never heard of a US mill making Russian Birch. I could be wrong.:eek: The new mills have them, 4x8's or 8x4's, as they are phasing out 5x5's or not making any new 5x5's production mills. At least that is what my vendor tells me.

Craig Matheny
11-10-2011, 3:26 PM
Mike i donot have a name but I think we call it appleply here in the states and I have heard nothing about this phasing out and going to a 4 x 8 sheet that makes no scents as the cost to modify the mills to do that would be extreme. I will ask around

Michael Kowalczyk
11-10-2011, 4:53 PM
Hey Craig,
Yes I am very familiar with Appleply. It is made up in Oregon and uses solid veneer core from Russia or Poland but it is not marketed as Baltic Birch and is almost twice the price. It is also made to have other veneers laid up on it. I believe they do not make anything under a 1/4".

No one stocks it down here and it is all special order. Shipping hits it pretty hard.

So since it is actually called "Appleply" and not marketed as "Baltic/Russian Birch", Joe, I guess we can both be right, well sort of ;).

Craig, I was told that any new mills and retrofits are going 8x4 and 4x8 (Vertical or Horizontal grains). 5x5's were originally to appease the European markets. But then the European machinery manufactures started to build for the US market, which was and is predominately 4x8, so the trend carried back to Europe and I guess that the manufactures of the Mill equipment went with the 4x8 as the standard. You don't find many 5x5 CNC tables being made as a standard offering. 4x8 and 5x10's are more of the standard. I would love to be able to afford to retrofit my big CNC with two 5x10's. I could still cut 5x5's, in fact 2 per table, and also cut 5x10's. Over 25k :eek: to do it but maybe some day:cool: