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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not really impressed with how the Big Box stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, and others are caring for their sheets goods.

Even their MDF boards are warped. Everything is banged up or left out in the rain and is wet.

A few years ago, I would have complained about prices being slightly higher at Windsor Plywood, but they do handle their sheet goods with great care.

You won't find more than the odd panel here and there warped at the lumber shops.

Home Depot and Lowes used to do a better job handling their sheet goods. It seems like they just don't care if their boards are damaged and warped anymore.

You not really saving $4-5 a sheet if the board you're buying is all buggered-up.

How do you guys feel about buying plywood at the Big Box stores?
 

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Doug
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I don't buy any sheet goods there I don't have to. I have to drive an hour north,south,or west to get to a decent sheet Goods supplier . Wurth Wood Group isn't the cheapest, but they have everything in stock usually. I just wish they had more room to park! I found them when I needed 3/8 inch MDF for a doll house project, then saw all the other goodies they had inside.

Plywood
 

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I don't. I buy sheet goods from a sheet goods distributor. Much better quality, sometimes less price, and almost never any damage.

Charley
 

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The problem with the box stores is the customers, not the employees. Stand and watch people go through a stack of any wood product. They pick it up and toss it on the back of the pike. Warped is another issue which I'm not sure about. Lowe's and HD here all have their products inside.
 

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I'm not really impressed with how the Big Box stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, and others are caring for their sheets goods.

Even their MDF boards are warped. Everything is banged up or left out in the rain and is wet.

A few years ago, I would have complained about prices being slightly higher at Windsor Plywood, but they do handle their sheet goods with great care.

You won't find more than the odd panel here and there warped at the lumber shops.

Home Depot and Lowes used to do a better job handling their sheet goods. It seems like they just don't care if their boards are damaged and warped anymore.

You not really saving $4-5 a sheet if the board you're buying is all buggered-up.

How do you guys feel about buying plywood at the Big Box stores?
that must be a local issue...
buy from a real deal yard ...
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I purchased 3/4 MDF boards from Lowes for some shed shelving. I picked some that were relatively straight, it was hard to find anything close to flat.

I would never use it for any furniture.

Ever since big retailers started using profit per a square in the early 2000's, to compare store and measure store profitability; it's been all downhill.

A lot of store manages jam aisles of their stores to max out those numbers to max out bonuses and the chance of getting a regional manager promotion.

They jam as many piles of sheets they can into as tiny of a space possible to increase their profit per a square foot. They do this at the expense of damage to the wood products being sold.

People have 4 inches between piles of sheets and the edges of the shelf brackets. The end result is a lot of warped and damaged products.
 

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Theo
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There is a building supply 5 or 10 minutes from my home. The however is, they only sell full sheets, don't cut them, and I just can't handle a full sheet anymore by myself. So, I normally wind up buying at a Lowes about 9-10 miles from me. They will cut the sheets, and the quality is not bad. They are always ready to help, they know where things are located, and at times take me to what I am looking for. I wouldn't shop at Home Depot on a bet.

With what I make, and how, I could actually get by with using warped sheets, but have always been able to find flat, or very close to it, sheets.

Another however, I think I have figured a way I can make cuts on a full sheet, without even taking it out of the truck.
 

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@JOAT If I have a sheet that's too heavy for me, I have three 2x4s that span my 8ft truck bed. I generally cut sheet goods down while sitting on these. However, I almost never buy sheet goods at big box stores. I prefer BB from a lumber yard 60 miles away. The difference in quality is astonishing. Last time I used big box ply, it turned out they'd filled the middle with tiny strands of bamboo. Splintery crap is a kind description. There is some 1x4 pine that I leaf through occasionally for decent pieces. Out of every batch, If I get there before it's been picked over, I can find 5 to 6 pieces that have decent grain, and several feet of knot free material. But I am very careful to restack the rejects neatly so they won't twist and warp. If I buy dimensional hardwood, I restack the same way. Hope you do too.
 

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@JOAT,

I too am no longer able to handle full 4 X 8 sheets of 3/4 and 1" material.

Some years ago I built myself a "cutting table" so I can break down full sheet stock outside my shop.This table has proven to be a huge improvement over saw horses, and I now take it with me whenever doing work for others.When not in use, with the legs folded, it just lays on edge against the sheet stock in my shop.

It's just a 1 X 4" pine frame about 30" X 70" (not critical dimensions) with 5 short 2 X 4 cross pieces, laid flat and flush with the top edge of the frame. One of these is attached across the center of the frame and then two more are placed near each end, spaced so that a set of Banquet Table legs can be attached using short wood screws. There is no metal at all in the top 1" of the table. When folded, these legs fit up inside the frame. All of the joints in this frame are glued together with #20 biscuits, so no metal is near the top surface.

On one side of the table frame I attached two small squares of plywood with an off center bolt so that I can rotate them to extend above the table surface or rotate them to be down below the table surface. When I want to load a full sheet I turn these to their up position and then lay the table on it's side with these down against the ground, Then place a full sheet on edge on these pieces of plywood with the sheet laying against the table top. I then lift the sheet and the table together, rotating both until the table is upright on it's legs with the sheet laying flat on top of the table. I then rotate these two plywood squares until they are below the table surface and center or position the sheet on the table for the first cut. When the cut is completed, none of the pieces fall. They remain on the table until I remove the off cut and then re-position the remaining piece for the next cut.

I make all of my cuts using straight edges and a circular saw with a thin kerf high tooth count blade. The saw also has a guide attached that follows the straight edge guide clamp, kind of like a track saw. I've made and attached a "Lexan shoe" to this saw which has a hole cut in it for the blade guard to freely operate, but with a narrow blade slot where the front of the blade rises up through the wood, making it function like a zero clearance insert.

I always set the saw depth to cut about 1/4" below the sheet being cut. If I ever put enough kerfs in the cutting table for it to be too rough or weak, I'll save the legs and just make another cutting table. I usually cut the pieces about 1/4" oversize and then trim them to final size inside my my shop on my Unisaw.


Last week I built myself a 2 wheeled dolly out of axles and wheels from a discarded lawnmower a few scraps of 3/4 birch plywood and a piece of 1/4" plywood. Assembled, it has a 1" slot in the top of it, with a lawnmower wheel on each side. I can lift just one end of a piece of sheet stock and slide this dolly under it. If I want to, I can kick this dolly farther until it is about centered under the sheet, or just leave it near the end. Then all I have to do is pick up the opposite end, or if the dolly is in the middle, just kind of balance the sheet as I roll it to where I want it. The lawnmower had two large wheels on the back, so I saved them too. I haven't yet decided if I like the large or the small wheels, but I can change them easily. The large ones let it ride over rougher ground much easier, but the small wheels don't require the sheet to be lifted as high. So far this sheet carrier is making a significant difference and I've been using the small wheels.

I also ordered, and just received, a "Gorilla Gripper" from Amazon. I played with it in the shop today, and it seems to do what it's supposed to, but I haven't actually tried to carry any full sheets with it yet, only a couple of partial sheets have been carried around the inside of the shop so far. The beauty of the design is that you lift and carry the sheet from shoulder level using this and it doesn't require bending over to grab the bottom edge of the sheet at all. Even 5 X 5' Baltic Birch seems to be easy to move with it. The only bending needed is if you have to attach it to a sheet that is lying down. With my metal knees, bending or squatting down and lifting heavy weights is almost impossible for me now. Hopefully, these two additions will help me continue moving full sheet stock by myself.

I got a kick out of the Gorilla Gripper commercial too.
Fortunately, this didn't happen to me when I tried the Gorilla Gripper out.

Charley
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@JOAT,

I too am no longer able to handle full 4 X 8 sheets of 3/4 and 1" material.

Some years ago I built myself a "cutting table" so I can break down full sheet stock outside my shop.This table has proven to be a huge improvement over saw horses, and I now take it with me whenever doing work for others.When not in use, with the legs folded, it just lays on edge against the sheet stock in my shop.

It's just a 1 X 4" pine frame about 30" X 70" (not critical dimensions) with 5 short 2 X 4 cross pieces, laid flat and flush with the top edge of the frame. One of these is attached across the center of the frame and then two more are placed near each end, spaced so that a set of Banquet Table legs can be attached using short wood screws. There is no metal at all in the top 1" of the table. When folded, these legs fit up inside the frame. All of the joints in this frame are glued together with #20 biscuits, so no metal is near the top surface.

On one side of the table frame I attached two small squares of plywood with an off center bolt so that I can rotate them to extend above the table surface or rotate them to be down below the table surface. When I want to load a full sheet I turn these to their up position and then lay the table on it's side with these down against the ground, Then place a full sheet on edge on these pieces of plywood with the sheet laying against the table top. I then lift the sheet and the table together, rotating both until the table is upright on it's legs with the sheet laying flat on top of the table. I then rotate these two plywood squares until they are below the table surface and center or position the sheet on the table for the first cut. When the cut is completed, none of the pieces fall. They remain on the table until I remove the off cut and then re-position the remaining piece for the next cut.

I make all of my cuts using straight edges and a circular saw with a thin kerf high tooth count blade. The saw also has a guide attached that follows the straight edge guide clamp, kind of like a track saw. I've made and attached a "Lexan shoe" to this saw which has a hole cut in it for the blade guard to freely operate, but with a narrow blade slot where the front of the blade rises up through the wood, making it function like a zero clearance insert.

I always set the saw depth to cut about 1/4" below the sheet being cut. If I ever put enough kerfs in the cutting table for it to be too rough or weak, I'll save the legs and just make another cutting table. I usually cut the pieces about 1/4" oversize and then trim them to final size inside my my shop on my Unisaw.


Last week I built myself a 2 wheeled dolly out of axles and wheels from a discarded lawnmower a few scraps of 3/4 birch plywood and a piece of 1/4" plywood. Assembled, it has a 1" slot in the top of it, with a lawnmower wheel on each side. I can lift just one end of a piece of sheet stock and slide this dolly under it. If I want to, I can kick this dolly farther until it is about centered under the sheet, or just leave it near the end. Then all I have to do is pick up the opposite end, or if the dolly is in the middle, just kind of balance the sheet as I roll it to where I want it. The lawnmower had two large wheels on the back, so I saved them too. I haven't yet decided if I like the large or the small wheels, but I can change them easily. The large ones let it ride over rougher ground much easier, but the small wheels don't require the sheet to be lifted as high. So far this sheet carrier is making a significant difference and I've been using the small wheels.

I also ordered, and just received, a "Gorilla Gripper" from Amazon. I played with it in the shop today, and it seems to do what it's supposed to, but I haven't actually tried to carry any full sheets with it yet, only a couple of partial sheets have been carried around the inside of the shop so far. The beauty of the design is that you lift and carry the sheet from shoulder level using this and it doesn't require bending over to grab the bottom edge of the sheet at all. Even 5 X 5' Baltic Birch seems to be easy to move with it. The only bending needed is if you have to attach it to a sheet that is lying down. With my metal knees, bending or squatting down and lifting heavy weights is almost impossible for me now. Hopefully, these two additions will help me continue moving full sheet stock by myself.

I got a kick out of the Gorilla Gripper commercial too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRmCpP9tiek Fortunately, this didn't happen to me when I tried the Gorilla Gripper out.

Charley

Charley,

If you're having trouble lifiting sheets Charley, the PM-1800 is the best reviewed sheet lifter overall.

They don't have a hottie helping you carry your board. It gets the job done including lifting the board up to the cutting area without straining your shoulders.
 

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make yur own...

.
 

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I own the Pm 1800 and I do use it and it is nice. Making one of a similar design out of wood is for me would be WAY to large and cumbersome compared to the PM 1800, it's different animal. The PM 1800 is light as a feather and actually very small and even if twice the weight would still be better than anything made of wood, IMHO.. One pull of a lever and the sheets being carried flip up like a table. The PM 1800 is not really for storing or holding plywood long term if at all, something like that I could see being made of wood. The PM 1800 is for moving the plywood around and flipping a sheet horizontally now and agsin, to load or offload form a horizontal position. it's just not designed to hold sheets for storage, it is way to narrow, thats why the kit usually includes the extra roller. I store all my plywood flat anyhow, I highly suggest everyone should. But to move plywood around the PM 1800 does work.

The PM 1800 can definitely be improved though. The wheels should be larger, larger and air filled type even better. Even an extension cord with a single sheet is near impossible to roll over, larger wheels would solve that. I would like more clearance from bottom support to ground and the push button on the fold up legs needs to be easier to press and better placed. I also think the unit should a full 6" to 10" wider over all, heck I wish there was a model that was twice as wide because the balance on an 8 foot sheet isn't great when rolling a 96" sheet alone. If you dont place it perfectly it tips and the ply hits the floor and you cant move it., even 4" extra width might solve this issue. Maybe all my updates can be made in a super duty version.

Still it' s the best I have seen ready made and I am buying another.

Without it I couldn't move 60" inlays and larger. A crate I simply can't move alone measuring 78" x78"x2" weighing 200 lbs I can easily move with the PM 1800. I can roll it from my shop right out to the UPS truck. Without the PM 1800 not a chance.

I really do hope they make an updated more beefy version with my described improvements, but if I make one it will be out of lightweight metal, not wood.
 

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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u1kV03VCRxM

Charley,

If you're having trouble lifiting sheets Charley, the PM-1800 is the best reviewed sheet lifter overall.

They don't have a hottie helping you carry your board. It gets the job done including lifting the board up to the cutting area without straining your shoulders.


I tried one of these, but decided against it. Unfortunately, it needs more space to use as well as store than I have. His must have been an earlier version, because the rear leg of his didn't fold against the front and this might have helped. I borrowed his, tried it once, and gave it back to him. It works great if you have a big shop like he does, and break down your sheet stock inside the shop with a big spacious and level shop floor around your saw. I can barely get full sheets in and out through the door of my shop to break them down outside on the cutting table and the trip from inside to outside is a ramp with 2" drops at each end. The museum shop that I frequently work in has a hinged hook arm on the side of their table saw for tipping full sheets up onto the saw table that works great when you have the space around the saw to use it. Theirs is shop made, but similar to this Leg Up Panel Lifter for Table Saws | Rockler Woodworking and Hardware and they have panel carts that hold up to 20 sheets of 1" on edge at a time that can be pushed easily around their huge level and smooth shop floor.

Charley
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don't think it helps that Home Depot and Lowe's lower the performance of their HVAC systems at night to cut costs. You end up with wood products that exhibit some of the similar issues as wood that's exposed to the elements outside.
 

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I only visit the big box guys under duress for any wood products and then only just enough material to squeak out the day. But we are firtuante here in the greater Portland area to have access ot great lumber yards as well as shops that sell only hard woods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I only visit the big box guys under duress for any wood products and then only just enough material to squeak out the day. But we are firtuante here in the greater Portland area to have access ot great lumber yards as well as shops that sell only hard woods.
It's part of the frustration many wood workers in Westren Canada feel. We don't have very many options for buying hardwood.

I'm beginning to wonder if a trip to the US to stock-up on hardwood lumber might make sense.

If a White Oak or a Cherry Tree is missing from someone's front yard, you know a Canadian did it.
 

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Guys, my back is just too bad anymore to let me mess with even a sheet of 1/4" plywood. Alone that is, if I had someone to help I could make do. Also, my shop is too small to do cut up full sheets. And if I were to cut them from the pickup bed, then I'd still have to carry them in, and sliding them out enough to cut them would be a lot of strain on my back too; otherwise I'd just do that, and make any fancy gadgets I needed. But by getting them cut at Lowes, I can just leave them in the cab, on the rear seat, and get them one or two pieces at a time, later. If I had a bigger shop, no problem, I'd just back up to the door, slide the sheets out on a wheeled cart (homemade of course), and cut them at my leisure (probably on a homemade panel saw). But I don't have one, so can't do it.

The Lowes I go to usually has flat sheets, but at times there is a warped sheet on the top of the stack. So far I have been able to slde the second sheet down out and wrestle it onto one of their carts, leaving the warped sheet neatly in place. Then wheel the cart to the saw, and the saw operator takes it from there. Then it's out to my vehicle and load the pieces one at a time. My back can survive that easily enough. Then in my shop, rather than messing around with my bench saw, sawing them to desired lengths, I mounted a sabre saw upside down in a shopmade stand, and can cut them to length with no issues at all. In fact I find it easier, and faster, to use that for rough cutting then my bench saw.
 

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After I retired I worked at our local HD in the lumber department for 2-1/2 years. The quality of their sheet goods is marginal. Very seldom does it come off the truck wet.
Yes, as mentioned in a previous post customers pick through the stacks and literally beat the crap out of the ones they don't want and many times leave it laying on the concrete floor. As for warped sheets, yes that is a consistent problem. Pop the banding and watch the pile grow. Also you get associates that never operated lift trucks prior to working on them. But with minimal training are certified to operate. These individuals more often than not damage the packs of sheet goods on the metal racks trying to load them.
Problem compounded.
 

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I'm not really impressed with how the Big Box stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, and others are caring for their sheets goods.

Even their MDF boards are warped. Everything is banged up or left out in the rain and is wet.

A few years ago, I would have complained about prices being slightly higher at Windsor Plywood, but they do handle their sheet goods with great care.

You won't find more than the odd panel here and there warped at the lumber shops.

Home Depot and Lowes used to do a better job handling their sheet goods. It seems like they just don't care if their boards are damaged and warped anymore.

You not really saving $4-5 a sheet if the board you're buying is all buggered-up.

How do you guys feel about buying plywood at the Big Box stores?
That surely must be a local area phenomenon. I have several Lowes and HD's within a short distance of me and I've never seen any lumber stored outside. There are several bays indoors and any inventory is in outbuildings, roofed, doors etc. The last thing they want is inventory that doesn't move and it won't if it's junk. Likes it's been said in this thread, the worst are the customers. Little respect for the product or the next buyer. They sort and never replace, leaving a mess.
 
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