Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Plywood Purchase

After leaving work on Friday afternoon, I picked up a sheet of 18mm WBP exterior plywood from a local timber merchant (Staddons). Before I had this van, I used to ask them to cut a full-sheet in to quarters (each approximately 4ft x 2ft), so that I could easily get it in to the back of my car. Now though, I can easily fit two half sheets (4ft x 4ft) in with room for plenty more!

In case you haven’t picked up on this from one of my previous posts, this plywood will be used to build the new cabinet for my table saw/router table station in the coming week, as I happened to have some spare holiday time from work, which has to be used up before the end of the year.

Dimensions of this cabinet have been altered slightly since I fitted the aluminium base rails to my table saw in a previous post. That 100mm depth of space just below the top will house some kind of dust extraction system that’ll prevent dust from building inside and below both my table saw and router table. Below that, I should also have plenty of room for power tool storage – even after all the work I’ve put in to improve my workshop over this past year, I still have large cases taking up floor space!

In order to get all the necessary components from one full sheet (and, to save the cost of buying any more plywood), I’ve re-designed this cabinet so that the top, shelf and also the back panel and made in a frame and panel style construction, with stiles and rails approximately 100mm wide. It’s all plywood and I’ll probably use biscuit joints to connect them (if only I had a pocket hole jig…). This should also reduce the weight of the unit. Holes in the top allow dust to fall through but, I’ll probably put some panels (12mm MDF, because I have lots of it) in between the shelf rails. I’m not too concerned about the back because it will rarely be seen, which is where I can also use some of the ply with the grain running in the ‘wrong’ direction, there.

Hopefully, I should have a little bit of plywood left over (it’s always nice to have some ‘in stock’; I rarely seem to have anything other than dusty MDF available, these days). I’ll keep you updated once the work is underway.

Thanks for reading.


7 responses to “Plywood Purchase

  1. woodshopcowboy 06/11/2011 at 13:20

    Enjoy the new router table & he time off. Make sure you take some time to smell the roses…you know, bring the circular saw outside to rip the big stuff!

  2. Alviti 06/11/2011 at 22:18

    I was the same when I got a van – I now can’t see how I coped without one. Wait until you get a roof rack, another world of possiblities open up for you!

  3. Bongo 07/11/2011 at 10:00

    Vans are great! How much was the ply round your way? Just wondering as we were trying to source some round here (an FSC hunting nightmare)… Ended up with WBP 18mm for £30/sheet ex VAT which was claimed to be FSC but when pushed they don’t seem able to supply any certification or anything 😦

    • Olly Parry-Jones 07/11/2011 at 17:54

      Hi Bongo,

      That’s about the same as what I payed. Actually, it was £29.99 plus VAT but, I’m sure their price has been the same for a few years now.

      I have an odd feeling that one of the sheds (B&Q or Wickes) may be slightly cheaper… There are also sellers on eBay but, they only seem to deliver to the London area.

      What exactly is the ply for? Is it something where you could substitute for OSB instead and save a bit of money?

      • Bongo 07/11/2011 at 18:34

        Hi Olly.
        It’s for a massive sliding door (3 full sheets and some) for the FE workshop 😀

        OSB would have been a possibility, but not as nice,.. I already have it now anyway, so no going back 😉 Out of curiosity what is the going rate for exterior grade OSB round your way?

        Having something that didn’t contribute to deforestation and environmental damage was an important concern for us (seeing as we are setting up as an environmental social enterprise!), So it was annoying to have them assure us it was FSC certified before purchasing,, and then…. I’ll spare you the rant and details 😉

        Long story short, I haven’t found anywhere remotely local, or in fact in Wales at all, that supplies what you might consider a sustainable ply product… Most places I phoned up have never even heard of FSC for **** sake! So yeah, upsetting.

      • Olly Parry-Jones 12/11/2011 at 10:11

        Hi Bongo,

        Sorry, I somehow missed your reply last week… I’d guess that 18mm OSB is just below £20 per sheet around here. I remember once buying some thinner stuff (think it was 11mm, fine for a shed roof) for just over £10. But, that was a couple of years ago.

        I completely understand why you wanted to verify the FSC certification. To be honest, I’ve never asked that question to any of my suppliers… Most of the timber used to construct these WBP/exterior grades of plywood looks as though it may have origins in Malaysia, possibly even further east than that, depending on where you buy it. It’s the low-quality CDX/shuttering grade that really concerns me though, as this stuff appears to originate in South America where, as I understand it, illegal logging is still rife with all the forged documentation and money exchanging hands… I’ve seen a ‘yellow’ type of OSB that’s stamped with Brazil but also, a pink species (with so many voids!) that apparently grew in Columbia.

        It’s a tricky one… There’s huge demand for plywoods in the construction industry on a global scale. China and Dubai, etc. have been demanding much of the world’s supply in recent years (timber as well). But, where we can usually go out and find hardwoods grown within fifty-miles of our homes, as far as plywood’s concerned, there is no home-grown alternative…

  4. Bongo 12/11/2011 at 15:01

    Yep, its a problem all right. I was recently browsing my very old Handbook of Hardwoods, and noted that it claimed many of them were suitable for plywood manufacture – including ones I had never associated with ply – like oak.. Now Oak ply, that would be interesting. Though I think it would be manufactured in a completely different way – I am guessing it would be fairly rare to find an oak straight and blemish free enough to be peeled in the regular style.

I welcome your thoughts.

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