Materials selection ?

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Old 03-06-16, 10:35 AM
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Materials selection ?

Okay, I'm planning on doing some built-in bookcases at daughters new house. My design, but will generally have some characteristics of this project from Family handyman:

How to Build a Built-in Bookcase | The Family Handyman

So here's the question. I went to browse plywood at one of the local Lowe's yesterday only to find out they no longer carry 3/4" oak plywood. [Side note: I chatted with on-line Lowe's and it's available by order at a store 30 miles away and according to the chatter the local shortage is just that it's out of stock. I suspect otherwise as there was not even a shelf where it would be if it was in stock. Kind of odd]. Checked both close HD and they have some on shelf, but not a lot and didn't see an additional bundle on the upper racks. Don't know if there's something widespread going on.

Anyway, the BIG question is, I COULD use 3/4" birch, which is in plentiful supply at both HD and Lowe's, BUT the plywood is for the major pieces, i.e. sides and shelves with the trim being regular lumber. Using 3/4" oak obviously I would use 3/4 oak lumber for trim, etc. but (a) what would I use to trim our the birch, and (b) appearance wise would it look okay or weird with birch plywood trimmed out with oak, and (c) what other species of wood would make good trim against the birch (keeping in mind anything but oak and pine I would have to order; this isn't the New Yankee Workshop where I can drive over to the local lumberyard and browse their selection of white oak, cherry, cypress, maple, and walnut). Will likely be finished with a light to medium shade stain.

Any and all ideas/suggestions welcome except going elsewhere to get the plywood; it's HD or Lowe's. The trim lumber I will probably order on line and have delivered to house. I can plane and cut it to size.

 
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Old 03-06-16, 10:43 AM
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I've stained built ins that used birch plywood and poplar. IMO it looks good unless you get poplar with a lot of green in it.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 10:49 AM
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Use the cheapest furniture grade ply and veneer it with an oak veneer. I have done several mantle projects and used veneer to either mimic another species (pecan over oak) or to make the mantel look like a solid mass piece of wood (oak over oak). Contact cement, a mini paint (hot dog) roller and a laminate blade for a router are the only tools you need. I ordered my veneer online through amazon.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 10:52 AM
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Just curious, is there a reason you will only shop at Lowe's or HD? We have some very good lumber yards that will carry, or get what every you need.

I built a cabinet for my brother using birch and oak. I did kind of a two toned look and finished it with a clear poly. I thought is came out pretty good. Check back and I'll see of I can find a picture.

My only warning is be sure to check the plywood very closely. Some of my sheets were fairly beat up and one even has a section that the veneer bubbled up.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 11:16 AM
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Not a good variety of lumber yards. There's a couple that cater mostly to the trades where I could probably get it. Whether they have panel saws and will cut down the sheets to my desires is another matter.

Heck of a big project for veneering and not really in my skill set.

The birch I've seen actually is better looking IMO than the oak; I've just used a lot of oak in the past for availability and cost.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 11:30 AM
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I don't want to contradict marksr, but in my experience sometimes birch ply just will not take stain very well.... maybe it depends on the quality and grade of plywood, or the grit to which its been sanded, I don't know. But I would be especially cautious if using birch and poplar together as they may not stain up the same at all, even though you put the same stain on both, the poplar will usually turn out to be much darker. (Birch and Maple are more similar in how they stain up, and in their woodgrain, imo) The nice thing about oak plywood is it will usually stain up the same as oak does without any fuss. If your heart is set on oak, I would definitely find it or special order it. Hard to believe you wouldn't be able to get it at any lumber yard though.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 12:06 PM
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Just curious, is there a reason you will only shop at Lowe's or HD? We have some very good lumber yards that will carry, or get what every you need.
You're lucky, Tolyn. We used to have several around here, and one by one, they all closed. Not a one anywhere except for HD and Lowes.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 12:09 PM
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in my experience sometimes birch ply just will not take stain very well
True. A combination of Maple plywood and solid Birch (or maple) for the trim would work well.
Poplar is usually only for paint grade cabinets and works very well for that.

If you want Oak then I would find the plywood as said. Get at least shop grade.

Oak is a little out of style here, but looks fine and is traditional. One good thing about oak is it's easy to get a nice finish. Apply stain and you almost can't go wrong, the birch and maple can look blotchy if not properly prepared.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 12:13 PM
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I forgot to mention that different woods often need a different stain to make a better match
I've never had any issues staining birch although lighter stains tend to work better on birch. Maple doesn't accept stain all that well.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 01:44 PM
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I was told, for the few solid birch doors that I have put in, that they are very succeptible to the oil and sweat in your hands and body. So handle them gently and don't carry with a full sweaty arm. I think that is part of the problem with staining that X has experienced. Info came from a specialty building supply owner who was a door salesman before that.

Heck of a big project for veneering and not really in my skill set.
I've seen your work before, don't sell yourself short. I found the veneer to be surprising easy to work with. I just laminated 128 linear feet of 10" wide ply for bathroom skirting to do 13 countertops for a local hotel. Took me less than a day to glue them up. Then waited a day and trimmed them with my rotozip and a laminate bit. I assume that you would only do it for the inside carcass of the shelving unit and the shelves and trim would be solid material.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 02:02 PM
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Well, I'm holding out hope that when I get to buying, the oak will still be available at HD at least; there were 7 sheets at one store and 5 at the other when I looked. If I had time to spare I would get it now, but I'm up to my ears in one thing or another right now. As stated, one of the big pluses is the fairly easy match with the oak trim for finishing. Plus I've done a lot of pieces in oak (some of the more recent Fair-entry pieces were white oak I had to order online), so I'm comfortable working and finishing it.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 02:08 PM
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Phone in an order and pay for the plywood, they will pull it and set it aside for you. It is a "will call" and is done for contractors all the time. The key is, of course, that you pay for it at the time of ordering. Call and ask to be transferred to the pro desk, tell them I sent you.
 
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Old 03-06-16, 02:35 PM
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tell them I sent you
The "contactor only" stores will probably be more than willing to get you the oak plywood you need. They're sometimes strict about who they sell to, but will probably just ask for a name for your cash account so they can process the order. If all else fails, tell them Czizzi sent you or tell them you're a Marine.
Any company that sells shop grade or above plywood and hardwood understands your need.

Here there are many but one stands out and the inventory they have is amazing.
 
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Old 03-07-16, 05:14 AM
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And cutting? I'm going to need those 4-5 sheets cut down on the long side, probably three times each sheet to get me to the size of the sides and shelves without having to wrestle them on my table saw. Not sure contractor place is going to want to do that or that they routinely have panel saws. Also, the ones I know about are Mon-Fri 7-5 places AFAIK; I hadn't planned on taking half a day off to get materials. Big box I can shop after hours and weekends. I can browse the contractor places for hardwood lumber, though, to see what they have.
 
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Old 03-07-16, 05:37 PM
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Here, the contractor store I use has panel saws but charge $5.00 per cut, obviously anyone would only pay for a couple of cuts.

If you can get oak at a home store, you're better off. They will rip it on the panel saw, probably a fee, but reasonable.
If you want to rip it yourself, you can do it with a jigsaw and a flush trim router bit. It takes time but you get nice cuts.
Let us know if you want tips on the router method.
 
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Old 03-07-16, 05:41 PM
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It's pretty easy to make an outfeed table for your table saw with a couple saw horses, a couple 2x4s, and a piece of plywood. With the outfeed table, one guy should be able to rip a 4x8 sheet into thirds no problem.
 
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Old 03-08-16, 06:47 AM
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Still a lot of man-handling. Much easier to let the big box guys do the ripping. They used to charge (long time ago) additional for more than I think 2 cuts, but now they'll cut as much as I need. If I have $250 worth of plywood sitting on the cart needing ripping they'll do whatever I want.

Stay tuned.
 
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Old 03-08-16, 12:42 PM
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You can't beat a panel saw. I always wanted to buy or build one but wouldn't use it much anymore.

I used to have an outfeed table that hooked up to a vacuum exhaust and the panels would float. Worked really good.
 
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Old 05-22-16, 06:27 PM
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Soooooo, here's the finished product. Came out pretty good, I think:

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Old 05-22-16, 06:35 PM
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Did that yesterday. Then 18 holes golf this morning and 3 hour drive back here late afternoon. I might not be getting out of bed tomorrow.
 
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Old 05-22-16, 06:35 PM
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Yep, looks great!!! Nice job!
 
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Old 05-22-16, 07:05 PM
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You're a Marine, I think you will be OK.
The book shelves look great.
 
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Old 05-23-16, 03:59 AM
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Looks good

Is it permanently mounted to the wall? The reason I ask is it can be a pain to repaint the open areas when that day comes. That's why I prefer them with a closed/wood back ..... just something to think about for next time
 
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Old 05-23-16, 05:34 AM
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Yep, you missed your calling. If the tow business ever dries up, you definitely have a skilled trade to fall back on. Nice work my friend, very nice work!
 
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Old 05-23-16, 05:46 AM
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Semi-permanently mounted to 2x2 attached to wall that slip into open cavities in back of verticals. Brought subject up with daughter during design, open back or backed, specifically mentioning painting. She opted for the open back. Won't be any painting any time soon, house was reno'd shortly before it went on market and has good paint throughout.
 
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Old 05-23-16, 05:48 AM
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And thanks for the kind words. BTW, shelves are adjustable; I just put them in that even, symmetrical position to start off.
 
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