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Thread: Looking for Advice on Kitchen Cabinet/Closet Plywood

  1. #1

    Looking for Advice on Kitchen Cabinet/Closet Plywood

    So I'm building the kitchen cabinets for our new house as well as a custom closet, bookcases, etc. I'm having a hard time understanding and choosing the right plywood.

    Everything will be painted white, EVERYTHING! Haha

    So would a C-2 Birch (The Cheap Option) be fine since everything will be painted other than the insides of the kitchen cabinets? Only a few of the cabinets will have doors (visible inside carcass) and almost all of them will be drawer based, so not very visible interiors.

    or should I upgrade to something else? The people over at Wurth Wood Group are recommending a domestic Maple, but it's still C-2 and almost double the price. I don't think I want to go the MDF route due to the weight and concerns of holding up over time, but maybe someone here can change my mind! Ha

    Also, all of the drawers are built from poplar and the drawer faces/doors are maple, but still painted white of course.

    I am kind of thinking of going with MDF for the custom closet, but wasn't sure about all of that weight and how it would hold up over time.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Last edited by Josh Baldwin; 02-26-2021 at 3:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    I'm in the process of building cabinets for a neighbor. The carcases are made out of 3/4" maple veneer bought from Home Depot, about $50/sheet. It's paintable. The drawers will be made from 1/2" plywood, what Home Depot calls Sandeply. They sell it as paintable plywood. It's pretty plain in the grain category and should do well taking paint.
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  3. #3
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    I recommend you look at PlumaPly - HDF. It has a plywood core and couple of mm's of HDF on both sides. It paints great, even better than MDF because it's denser. And because the core is plywood you can use it for structural application like your pantry. It's not cheap, but it's really nice stuff. I bought it through my full service lumber yard.

    https://www.atlanticplywood.com/wp-c...d-with-HDF.pdf

    JOhn

  4. #4
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    A few weeks ago, I built some plywood cabinet doors, to replace scratched up ones in the dogroom. I used that Maple ply from Home Depot. It looks like painted plywood, as there are enough imperfections in the surface grain to look a lot like construction sheathing plywood. It was good enough for a dog room, but I wouldn't use it in a kitchen.

    Trying to save a few bucks on materials always comes back to bite me, although others seem to get by.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    A few weeks ago, I built some plywood cabinet doors, to replace scratched up ones in the dogroom. I used that Maple ply from Home Depot. It looks like painted plywood, as there are enough imperfections in the surface grain to look a lot like construction sheathing plywood. It was good enough for a dog room, but I wouldn't use it in a kitchen.

    Trying to save a few bucks on materials always comes back to bite me, although others seem to get by.
    Yea Tom I haven't had good luck with HD or Lowes plywood myself. Not terrible, but not great either. I think the C2 Birch that my local place sells is similar, but maybe a bit better.

  6. #6
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    Be very wary of the borg birch plywood. Last time I bought some it had paper thin veneer over voids that rippled and bubbled when painted-- and broke through if you looked at them crosseyed I had to find them, sand through, and fill prior to re-painting. A serious pain. I now spend a few extra bucks to get better material from a real plywood supplier and save hours of time recovering from bad material. Maple or birch will make no difference in your application, but what's under it might.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    I recommend you look at PlumaPly - HDF. It has a plywood core and couple of mm's of HDF on both sides. It paints great, even better than MDF because it's denser. And because the core is plywood you can use it for structural application like your pantry. It's not cheap, but it's really nice stuff. I bought it through my full service lumber yard.

    https://www.atlanticplywood.com/wp-c...d-with-HDF.pdf

    JOhn
    Hey John can you give me a ballpark on the pricing? My local places are closed til Monday, so just curious. Thanks

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    Be very wary of the borg birch plywood. Last time I bought some it had paper thin veneer over voids that rippled and bubbled when painted-- and broke through if you looked at them crosseyed I had to find them, sand through, and fill prior to re-painting. A serious pain. I now spend a few extra bucks to get better material from a real plywood supplier and save hours of time recovering from bad material. Maple or birch will make no difference in your application, but what's under it might.
    What exactly is borg? My local suppliers all just list it as C2 Imported Birch. Any time I ask them questions about quality, etc, they just say "yea it's fine". None of them are very helpful. Just not sure exactly what questions to ask sometimes. Thanks for the help.

  9. #9
    Since everything is painted white, why not use melamine for the boxes? In 2008 (13 years ago) I built a set of cabinets for local "Y." They were in the pool house. Boxes made from melamine, shelves plywood, hard wood face frames, MDF core veneer for doors with iron on tape on edges. Remember these are in the pool house, where the humidity is unreal, both summer and winter. No complaints of any kind. Buy your melamine from Wurth, or similar, not the BORGS. It's not the same stuff. Speakjng of Wurth, where are you located, as they are a regional supplier.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Baldwin View Post
    Hey John can you give me a ballpark on the pricing? My local places are closed til Monday, so just curious. Thanks
    I paid $106/sheet for 3/4" in April 2019. I know, not cheap, but it's dead flat, stays that way, has no voids, and will never show grain lines through the paint. I used it to make a row of cabinet doors/drawers on one end of my kitchen, yep, white, and they look like they came out of a high end factory.

    John

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Baldwin View Post
    What exactly is borg?
    The 'borg is a term that a "yuge" number of use have referred to the big box home centers...Home Depot, Lowes, etc. The backward reference is to an alien hive mind that dates back to the original Star Trek series. You have to be really careful with sheet goods from the home centers relative to quality, etc, for cabinetry work, etc. Better quality product is available from real sheet goods suppliers and higher end, independent lumber yards.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    The 'borg is a term that a "yuge" number of use have referred to the big box home centers...Home Depot, Lowes, etc. The backward reference is to an alien hive mind that dates back to the original Star Trek series. You have to be really careful with sheet goods from the home centers relative to quality, etc, for cabinetry work, etc. Better quality product is available from real sheet goods suppliers and higher end, independent lumber yards.
    The HD version of Columbia purebond can be decent (for the price) you still would have to pick through the pile and pull decent sheets.

    It stays flat though.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    Since everything is painted white, why not use melamine for the boxes? In 2008 (13 years ago) I built a set of cabinets for local "Y." They were in the pool house. Boxes made from melamine, shelves plywood, hard wood face frames, MDF core veneer for doors with iron on tape on edges. Remember these are in the pool house, where the humidity is unreal, both summer and winter. No complaints of any kind. Buy your melamine from Wurth, or similar, not the BORGS. It's not the same stuff. Speakjng of Wurth, where are you located, as they are a regional supplier.

    I couldn't agree more for the boxes. When you're done building, you're done; no painting required. Heavy as a mule and the edges will cut you just looking at them, but it's flat, stable, durable, and very reasonably priced.

    John

  14. #14
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    I just finished remodeling my kitchen. I painted the existing cabinets and added a row of 18" cabinets to the top. I used 1/2" prefinished maple plywood from the place I get the rest of my wood. It wasn't overly expensive and I don't think there were any patches. I didn't have to finish the insides. Scuffed up the outside and painted.
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    Last edited by Cary Falk; 02-26-2021 at 9:30 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    The 'borg is a term that a "yuge" number of use have referred to the big box home centers...Home Depot, Lowes, etc. The backward reference is to an alien hive mind that dates back to the original Star Trek series. You have to be really careful with sheet goods from the home centers relative to quality, etc, for cabinetry work, etc. Better quality product is available from real sheet goods suppliers and higher end, independent lumber yards.
    The BORG were not from the original Star Trek series (William Shatner/Leonard Nimoy) of the late 1960s but from one of the sequels: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Patrick Stewart)

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