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Thread: BORG or local wood supplier for cabinet plywood?

  1. #1

    BORG or local wood supplier for cabinet plywood?

    Getting ready to do some wall cabinets, and I've got all my face frame and door parts milled and cut. Was going to start assembling carcasses this weekend when I happened to glance at plywood prices at the BORG !!!!!!! So the quality of BORG 3/4 plywood is pretty well known (lots of voids). A call to the local place that supplies the higher-end shops is 90$ for a 4X8 birch. Given the number of cabinets I have to do, 90$ a pop is pretty much a deal breaker. Convince me to do so anyway! How bad IS the BORG plywood? I've used it before in other projects (Xcut sled, etc...), and it is pretty "voidy". Assuming I'm screwing and gluing butt joints on these, are they coming off the wall anyways? There are no other options here: Super expensive place, or expensive BORG. If it helps, these are my walls they'd come crashing down from.....

  2. #2
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    What room of the house? The last year or so I feel like the quality at BORG went down even more, almost every piece is a potato chip unless you get the maple or red oak.

  3. #3
    Kitchen, Bath, Laundry. None of the Carcasses will be exposed, these will be face frame. My concern is about the "screwing" part, will the BORG wood be so bad that screwing is pointless? I do plan on corner bracing blocks, top and bottom. The total project price difference between the BORG and the wood supplier approaches several hundred $$$, and when I factor in drawer and door hardware, I'm getting quite out of budget range....

  4. #4
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    If you can pick up columbia purebond at Home Depot it will likely be the lowest grade but your best bet on quality. We dont buy tractor and trailer loads but just priced 3/4" C-3 domestic maple (not from home depot) today at 48.75. If your look for A-2 or something I'd guess in the 70+ range. We dont pay $90+ a sheet for anything other than plain sliced Walnut or something special and its not due to volume.

    Your going to get hosed at the home center. Its convenient (other than pushing a cart) but its a loser. Your best bet is to start to build a relationship with a local supplier (which it sounds like you kinda already have) and explain to them your situation and volume and perhaps they will set you up with some slightly better pricing. Unfortunately the nuisance factor (which honestly is real) with dealing with the retail public has to be paid for. Suck... but its the truth.
    Last edited by Mark Bolton; 01-12-2021 at 5:24 PM.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  5. #5
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    The other issue I've seen is a lot of wood filler in the show face. You might end up having to buy more sheets. That said, I've made a lot of shop shelves and rolling cabinets the past couple months and didn't have any structural concerns. The voids were not that big. The bigger pain was the warpage.

    If it were me I'd be inclined to buy the better plywood for the kitchen, but if its out of budget and you'll face frame it I doubt you'll have trouble.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Colson View Post
    Assuming I'm screwing and gluing butt joints on these, are they coming off the wall anyways? There are no other options here: Super expensive place, or expensive BORG. If it helps, these are my walls they'd come crashing down from.....
    Any box you build will likely have to be removed from the wall with a jackhammer as compared to any commercial box especially in the sense that hobby folk build everything out of 3/4" which is insanity but it is most definitely easier because its readily available.

    If your boxes are truly all hidden (other than interiors) talk to your non-borg sheetgoods supplier about 1/2" maple pre-finished one side. In that world ABSOLUTELY avoid import and ask for north America (columbia, states, et'al) as the import stuff is potato chip central but you can pocket screw your carcass to the faceframe with 1/2", rebate/dado/screw/staple, whatever your boxes together, and you will have a pristine cabinet interior with zero work on your part. I think we pay in the 50's for 1/2" pre fin 1 side maple.

    No brainer.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  7. #7
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    You're painting, right? Why wouldn't Purebond work? Rabbets and glue should be fine, or pocket screws as advised by Mark.

    That is to say, I haven't shopped for it lately. I just haven't needed sheet goods except for jigs for a while. I went to Home Depot yesterday and found exactly one species of Purebond 3/4 4x8: red oak. I wanted birch. I couldn't believe there weren't four of five species to choose from. That's what I remember from early last year, and before. In fact, over the past few years it has seemed to me that the Purebond quality was fine for this sort of work, especially when painted and face-framed.

    I'm going to go to the other HD near me and see what they have.

    Last year I also answered a Craig's List ad from a local guy who was retiring from carpentry and had 8 sheets of very nice 4x8. I only had room for one, but I wish I had been able to buy him out. Not sure how long he'd had them or where he'd bought them, but there were absolutely no voids. Seven thick plies. {sigh}

  8. #8
    Even if I was going to paint them, the amount of time I would spend filling the voids is a huge turn-off. I guess the real question is, what is your time worth? It's probably Chinese anyhow, but I get the 18mm birch stuff from my local lumber place and no complaints.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  9. #9
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    We have honestly never been lost filling voids and not that I would try to use it but even bringing in 3/4" D-3 shop grade for laminate tops spec'd with veener core its clean. Its not paint/stain grade by any means but its dead clean both faces.

    The OP seems to need on clean interior face to me. I know HD runs the lowest grade of Purebond but at least your getting a north American sheet, low/no VOC/HAPS Free/Formaldehyde free (pretty much all now) sheet.

    If the interior can be any color (natural) the prefinished is the bomb. Grab a sheet of 3/4" pre-fin 2 sides for your shelves and and a roll of 1mm pre-finished maple banding and save yourself a mile.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  10. #10
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    I was lucky to find a supplier not too far from me. I do have a closer one, but they hardly had any plywood. What they did have was far worse than the Home centers stuff. It is worth it to me to drive an extra 30 minutes (one way) for quality. They are actually cheaper than the junk you get. They also have hardwoods, and Baltic Birch! 5 X 5, and 4 X 8 sheets, for around the same price as the domestic stuff they sell. They have many grades, and species of plywoods. The domestic stuff has a much thicker veneer.
    Me personally, I wont buy the junk anymore. I just thought that was all we could get. I am very fortunate to have this supplier, locally. Otherwise I would be stuck with the thin veneer junk. Some of it is decent.

    If you can afford it I would get the good stuff.

    I noticed quite a few cabinet shops on my way there the first time I went. I asked if they bought plywood from them. The gentleman looked up and said, YES. The cheap stuff only. They are all custom cabinet shops using garbage. Maybe $10 a sheet more.
    Sad that they are all not giving their customers the option.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Colson View Post
    Kitchen, Bath, Laundry. None of the Carcasses will be exposed, these will be face frame. My concern is about the "screwing" part, will the BORG wood be so bad that screwing is pointless? I do plan on corner bracing blocks, top and bottom. The total project price difference between the BORG and the wood supplier approaches several hundred $$$, and when I factor in drawer and door hardware, I'm getting quite out of budget range....
    What are you screwing into the plywood? I use groves and other joinery when building a cabinet. The face frames all have groves in them to accept the sides and bottoms. The side panels have a grove for the bottom and back as well as top supports. I make my back panel 1/2" from the back and than glue in hardwood boards behind it that lay flush with the cabinet to use as the anchor points for the cabinets to the wall.

    So, to answer your question about BORG vs Hardwood supplier is the quality. For furniture or cabinets where there is a lot of exposed sheet goods, I go with the better stuff, but for structural parts of cabinetry that wont be seen, i've used the BORG stuff to save some cost. If you do have some exposed sides, like the side of a vanity, and using borg stuff, just make sure you use the nicest piece you have in your lot.

    I am not sure where you are but $90 for sheet goods is really a good price. It's $110 to $125 depending on maple, cherry or walnut last time I purchased, so 55 or 60 for maple ply at the borg saves a ton of $$ on non-exposed parts of a cabinet.

  12. #12
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    I bought 3/4" ply at the BORG once about 20 years ago and it will always remain the ONLY time I ever bought plywood from them. Horrible crap.

    In your situation where the only plywood that will be seen is the interior of the cabinet, I switched to UL/AC. My local lumber yard carries it and it's fantastic for carcasses. It's the best of both of what used to be two different plywoods. Now they only have to stock one. Seven plies and the top veneer is very clean- maybe 2-3 footballs in a 4x8 sheet and often it is a perfectly clean veneer across the entire sheet. And it's thick- at least 3/64". But to your concern, since it is sold as underlayment ply, there will be NO voids in the top 3 veneers. Sells for between 55-60 bucks here for 3/4" 4x8 sheets.

    I would strongly consider it if it is available in your area. Yes it's pine or some other white wood, but I don't understand why anyone needs a hardwood veneer inside a cabinet. The thick top veneer gives the ability to sand it as smooth as you want.

  13. #13
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    Lordy. I've not seen a "football" in a sheet of ply in the shop ever and the last time I saw one I was probably sheathing a roof or the floor of a shed.

    Literally.. 3/4" domestic maple.. D-3, 48.75 a sheet one or a hundred. No footballs. Get off the home center

  14. #14
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    Pricing is going to be dependent on locale. I know I can't buy maple ply for 49 bucks. Plus different goods are available in different areas. Trust me Mark, this is beautiful plywood. Flat, stable and clean. The back is only slightly less perfect than the front. Perfectly smooth, exactly consistent thickness.

  15. #15
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    Just looked it up here- A-1 birch veneer 3/4" ply is $102 and B-2 (paint grade) birch veneer 3/4" ply is $97. And those veneers are thinner than paper. The UL/AC is $54. It's a no brainer. They don't carry a maple ply so no price but it could be special ordered. I will definitely check it out the next time.
    Last edited by Dave Zellers; 01-12-2021 at 8:45 PM.

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