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I'm at my wits end trying to find decent plywood. Among the plywood issues I've found over the last few years: telegraphing through of machine marks from core to face veneer, delamination of face veneer, delamination of core veneer layers, glue showing in seams of face veneer, core voids directly under face veneer, holes in face veneer caused by some conveyer machine at the distributor or manufacturer and others. Would you wise and wonderful woodworkers please give me your opinion about what manufacturer consistently has the best veneer-core plywood right now. I would especially like to hear about any business that specializes in custom fabrication of hardwood veneers on a calibrated veneer core. Thanks.
I would say none.
Over the decades I've noticed the quality go to crap. The core is the basis of a high quality sheet. Now cores seem to be secondary to the veneer. And we all know that the veneers while looking good are incredibly thin. Most that I see are about 0.017" thick which is close to the transparency thickness of about 0.013"
When I started 3 decades ago the veneers were put on at 1/16" and sanded to about 3/64" The plywood was flat and stiff. The top sheet of the pile didn't potato chip because one side is exposed, it stayed flat.
You could use plywood for a door and it would stay true and flat. I'd have to think hard about doing that today.
Crap cores make crap plywood that is unstable because of ultra thin veneers. And it's 2.5x the cost.
With corporate America Now considered a person and running rampantly non reponsible Who at that level cares. the plywood assc hopefully have some pull on this but the race is for profit, not quality
As far as core quality I find Garnica plywood to be great .It's a poplar veneer core, 99 percent void free,always 3/4 " thick and usually very flat . I use the pre finished 2 side birch for my frame less boxes and have used it for doors on occasion for office and utility cabinets .
Pretty sad when you have to switch to an import for better quality.
What I suspect is that the garnica factory was recently built and is using state-of-the-art technology and the domestic manufacturers Are using older equipment and technology that just isn't capable of producing these results
While its not high end custom layed up sheets Ive always had good luck with Columbia Purebond. Quality is always good, veneers are most definitely very thin.
We have only brought in import a couple times when a salesman offered us a small job to try at unit pricing and everything we got was trash. So bad that the vac on the CNC had zero chance of pulling down many sheets not to mention the smell in the shop. Not my cup of tea. But if it were nice material I'd probably deal with the stink.
We have gotten a couple units of import lately that have been pretty good. It's been flat, good color, etc. Only seen 1 or to sheets out of 3 units were the very edge delamed. I believe its coming out of Vietnam...
If I may ask, why do you want plywood core stuff? I personally used to believe that it was necessary to build decent boxes, but it is not. Now I confidently build the "good" boxes out of high grade MDF (or ParticleBoard) laid up with nice veneers.
But also, if you are really unwilling to accept that certain old-fashioned materials such as high grade plywood are functionally extinct, then perhaps use some of the baltic plywood and have that laid up with your veneers of choice. Of course, using reputable press operator and not contact adhesive. I find that the 3/4" baltic birch plywood is very consistent in thickness and has uniform veneers throughout as cutting reveals.
Thank you all for your replies.
I chased Columbia Pure Bond from vendor to vendor for over a decade. Then I was introduced to Garnia. Been using it for the last 4 years. Best on the market, in my opinion. Not perfect but best I can find.
I find that imports are of better quality for years now, which is truly sad. It's like the American industry is going down the drain from this point of view.