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5x5 Baltic Birch vs 4x8 Baltic Birch

Woodenskye (Bryan)

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Thread transferred from previous forum - Original Post by Bushwacked

Original Post:

I am curious ... Can you get the same quality 4x8 baltic burch as you can in the 5x5 sheets? Looking to get some prefinished sheets to work on closets as well, but wanted to test some non-prefinished out for some cabinets in the garage. 

So was curious if the quality was the same between the 2 or do I need to learn how to break down 5x5 sheets systematically since it is different than 4x8's 

Follow Up Posts:

1)  Looking at the edges should give you a good idea of the quality. You shouldn't be seeing any voids in the laminations on good quality stuff. Also I would be a little concerned if there was a lot of football patches on the surface. I just bought three sheets of 5 X 5, 1/2 inch thick for some shop projects and none of them had surface patches pretty nice stuff, I paid $24.22 a sheet.

At my lumber yard the 5 X 5 tends to be cheaper if you figure out the cost by square foot. But you need to be cautious because if you end up with more waste because of the 5 X 5 dimension then there may not be a cost savings. My mind set when I am using the 5 X 5, 1/2 inch stuff is the off cuts are nice to throw on the rack for future, temperary or permenent jigs and fixtures.

2)  Chet is correct, if the 5x5 sheets create more waste, the savings may not be as much, but most people can find uses for the scrap. The price of pre finished ply is usually more than I like to pay. It isn't hard to pre finish a sheet on your own before making your cuts. I have used poly in the past.

3)  I've gotten to the point where even if it costs me a little more because of the scrap, I just pay for it. The headache of dealing with something cheaper that tends to potato chip on me just isn't worth it.
Often times, I try to be mindful of the size of the sheet in my designs to best utilize the material I prefer to use.

4)  Thanks for the input guys, I really appreciate it!
So here is there first set of some basic cabs I am planning for the bathroom along 1 wall (Just the carcasses so not super pretty yet)... Would I be better using 5x5 on this build or 4x8? 

See Picture

he height of these right now is roughly 45" I am thinking and 30" wide on the outers and 23" wide on the inner ... 
I am still debating on having taller lower cabinets and then shorter uppers. Or just having the same height all around ... 

5)  What is the depth of the cabinets? If you are going full backs on each cabinet you will need 4@45"x30" and 2@45"x23". You will need 3 sheets of ply for the backs. Using 5x5 sheets you may run into an issue when taking the kerf into account, so a 1/4" rebate on the case sides should rectify this issue. If you did a depth of 18" you should get 3 side panels per 5x5 sheet so you would need 4 sheets. Now tops and bottoms will be another 2-3 sheets. So 10 total using 5x5 BB ply

6)  Depth - 23 1/2 to match the others that are already there ...
Thanks for the breakdown! 10 sheets seems a bit much ?? Although I have not broke down what it would be for 4x8 sheets yet.

7)  If you lay it out, I'm confident you will need at least 10 sheets. Remember if you make a panel 45" X 23 1/2" you will only get 2 sides out of a 5x5 sheet.  You will be left with a 15" w X 60" L strip and a 12" w X 45" L strip.  Can't do any other parts with the leftover. 4x8 may save you a sheet, but you will also have less waste in most cases.  

Looking at your drawing it gives the appearance of 6 boxes. Rough parts layout per box

sides 45 X 23 1/2 (qty 2)
top 23 1/2 X 30
bottom 23 1/2 X 30
back 45 X 30

Based on my assumptions above, this is 2 sheets of 5 X 5.  Your making 4 boxes this size so that's 8 sheets, the middle you might squeeze out of 2 sheets since dimensions are smaller.  You may be able to tinker with the layout of parts per sheet, but I doubt it will reduce by much.

8  One day I needed some bb ply and I didn’t have my trailer at home so I strapped the 5x5 to the top of my Suburban. I looked like a Woodworking carpetbagger. Luckily I only had to travel a mile or so.



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