Purchasing plywood

What are the recommended places to purchase plywood from? Lowes? Home Depot?
What is the average price for a plywood sheet?
Are most open desk projects built with plywood sheets of 4’x8’, 3/4"?
What are the different types of plywood that are good to build furniture from? Are there types to stay away from?

Buying wood products is a big, somewhat complicated topic, because there are numerous types and grades of wood. I would recommend reading a little about the topic on woodworking sites. Here’s one article, although the plywood section is very late in the article. https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/primer-on-lumber/. This one doesn’t cover other materials like MDF, OSB, Melamine, etc.

Answers to your specific questions:

The big boxes (Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, and others in the U.S.) are usually the cheapest option. Their stuff is sometimes picked over, although this is more of a problem with board lumber than sheet goods. If you are looking for a really nice surface, you will want a higher grade (e.g. A rather than B) and possibly a hardwood on the surface layer. Baltic Birch is a common very smooth surface layer. The big boxes tend not to carry the higher quality plywoods because there’s not enough sales volume.

It varies widely by location, and quality of the material. Where I am, plywoods of reasonable thickness start around $20 and go up.

Depends on what properties you want. A B/C plywood (B grade surface on the outside, C on the inside) will give you a pretty good surface where it shows, but save you money on the less seen surfaces. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) has a very smooth surface, but will disintegrate if it gets wet, so it is limited to indoor uses. Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is generally too rough for furniture.

Disclaimer: I’m a hobbyist, not a cabinetmaker, so I’m sure there are people who can tell you a lot more.


The key thing with Baltic Birch isn’t the surface layer, it’s that the inner
layers are especially good


I haven’t used the stuff at Home Depot yet, but compared to the stuff I see furniture made online with opendesk, and such it doesn’t have as many inner layers, not sure if that means it is slightly lesser quality, but I do plan on getting some from HD soon, as it is the closest place to me.


I sometimes get extra plywood from neighbors, including cabinet grade plywood scrap (last week I got two that were 2’ x 8’ cabinet grade) that neighbors don’t want to throw away. Check the neighborhood listserve or Criaglist. Or you can just put a note on the local listserve saying you’ll take high-quality large plywood scraps.

Here is one example: https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/mat/d/wood-that-must-go-huuuge/6761860951.html

This post appeared in my moderator’s inbox, and I debated whether to approve or reject it. I checked their website and they do appear to be a legitimate business based in Russia. Beyond that I know nothing about the company. Since plywood is “on topic” for Maslow and the post does not appear to be robot-generated, I approved it.


It’s an interesting site, worth checking out. Birch as house sheathing, for example, and a news section that shows they think somewhat different than USAians. They may be of interest to some of our EU members but I suspect they only sell in wholesale quantities (Mrs Moose, sigh) and shipping would be prohibitive to this side of the pond.

It’s a spam attempt to boost their search engine ranking (I’ll quote and giggle it for fun, see it it’s being mass posted), and while likely not something a maslovan could buy I enjoyed poking around their site. It’s in Russia so the NSA may enjoy shadowing you :grinning:. Overall I’d vote for keeping the post.

1 Like

No other posts found with giggle so if they’re spamming enmass it hasn’t hit the search engines yet. I’ll see if I can PM and ask about a North American distributor.

The arborist came out yesterday to examine the Bokeelia moosely manor property. Off with their heads (roots, too), thinks we should remove a good part of the foliage and do some planned re-landscaping. He especially didn’t like our queen palms, messy and disease prone.

Mrs Moose, who wanted the property because of the fruit and other trees, now agrees with him. The poor layout has cause disease problems and the attempt at a small citrus orchard was overshadowed and crowded. Fortunately everything grows at least 4x as fast as a “more temperate” climate, which means about 8x as fast as Mooselake North, plant and jump back so you don’t get hit by an upward hurtling tree. The stately live oak that I thought was at least 50 years old is more like 15-20 and is on the keep list. Pine Island is covered with fruit and palm tree orchards, no lack of replacements in a myriad of sizes. And we have a couple serious fruit planting hobbyists on our road to help with the replanning. Now if a day of heavy tree demolition didn’t involve truckloads of large equipment and cost more than a clapped out Bridgeport…

Even more OT, while Florida does have some native palms they’re mostly imports that some of the natives consider “invasive species”. We’re not purists but will keep that in mind. Now to find a fos landscape planning package, if one exists

You should familiarize yourself with how plywood is graded, lots of sites that detail this…

I would caution against big box store plywood, they aim for low prices not quality and because of this even their ‘grading’ isn’t alway up to the standards it should be… For many projects the big box store is plenty good, but I would never use it on high end stuff…

If you want premium quality plywood you are going to have to find a real lumberyard or woodworking supplier and yes pay a premium…

For furniture you are probably going to want to look into cabinet grade plywoods, there is no single one that fits every bill but Baltic Birch is going to be the most common…

That isn’t’ to say big box store plywood isn’t useful, I use it all the time but I will post these images up here to show what might pop up when you use it… Last year I was making bottom boards for beehives out of 3/4" BCX plywood from Menards and it was honestly some the worst BCX plywood I have ever seen, ‘good’ enough for what I was using it for but still horrible… The C grade for the interior and bottom layers allows for 1" voids and solid knots to 1 1/2", the pictures below show what I encountered in several sheets and this is only where I cut and saw it, who knows how many more voids in excess of 1" were present that were not supposed to be in C graded plys…

You can also see folding over of the inner veneer causing distortions in the same piece…