Beach House Kitchen – Cabinets – Plywood

I enjoy building cabinets when I use good quality plywood that’s straight and stable. I really don’t like building them with poor quality materials that warp or delaminate,  since I spend my time fighting with it.

I found a great source for high quality birch plywood at a good price: Building Materials Bargain Center in Salem, Oregon. I bought 3/4″, 11-ply, 4′ x 8′ sheets for $33 each. So if you live near the Willamette Valley, I’d stop by and check them out. It takes me about 40 minutes to get there – well worth it.

This is the way the edge of a good sheet of a plywood should look (in the back of my truck):

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This is how bad quality plywood looks:

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It’s often referred to as “China Ply”, and it will warp all over the place. I’m a loyal fan of Home Depot for most things, but plywood isn’t one of them. Most sheets I’ve had to buy there look more like this second image, and they cost more at about $40 a sheet.

I don’t mind lugging around sheet of plywood if it’s 1/2″ or less, but 3/4″ gets heavy and hard to lift onto my table saw. I ripped them to rough width right out of the truck. I put one sheet of the plywood on sawhorses with spacer boards on top to protect it from the saw blade.


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I used my track saw to rip each sheet once, cutting different widths based on the cabinet plans. They are much easier to handle.

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I store plywood on end in this rack by front door to the shop. Once I started storing it on edge, I would never go back to keeping it flat. It’s so much easier to sort through everything this way. I keep cut-offs in the small slots on the right.

Image 2016-06-22 - 1777

I bought 15 sheets, which included what I need for the pantry and another bookcase I want to build for the living room. For the kitchen, I’ll probably end up using about 9 to 10 – so I’ll call the cost of it $330 for the kitchen.


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