I hate what has become to ďcommonĒ plywood, and Iím on a serious rant. There, youíve been warned.
Weíve discussed here a number of times the decline in quality of many, many things, including plywood. In my continuing cabinet project, Iíve been working with plywood a lot lately, and I canít begin to tell you just how awful it is.
Thereís better plywood to be had Ė for a price Ė but for the shop cabinets Iím building Iím using standard, common off-the-rack stuff from the local Big Box store. The stuff with Made In China proudly labeled on each piece. To begin with, finding a sheet thatís relatively flat and not twisted like a tortilla isnít easy. Then there are the edge (and, presumably, internal) voids that are everywhere. There are even surface voids with a bit of filler thatís been smeared across them that require sanding.
But the main thing is just how incredibly thin the veneer is. Itís a marvel theyíve even figured out a way to even handle veneer that thin, much less work with it Ė it must be like trying to veneer with Saran Wrap. And it might as well be Saran Wrap, because itís almost as transparent. I can literally see the grain of the substrates underneath the veneer. I went to sand off a very light pencil mark on one sheet, and started to sand completely through the veneer before getting the pencil off.
And then there are the splinters. Plywood has always been a source of splinters, but this new stuff gives me dozens of them. Big splinters, little splinters, medium splinters, you name it. And they donít just come from the edges, either, but all over the surface. Ugh.
Now, donít start blaming the Chinese manufacturers for any of this, because itís simply not their fault. They make things to a companyís specs, whether itís crummy plywood or a crummy table saw, so theyíre just delivering what the company ordered. Blame has to be placed where itís due: the U.S. company who gave them the specs. Lots of U.S. companies are holding their foreign manufacturers to very high standards and specs; others, not so much. The fault is theirs.
OK, I feel a little better now. Rant off.
Till next time,