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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m making a shooting board using Rob Cosmans technique / video. It calls for 1” (or 3/4”) MDF base and Baltic Birch plywood surface. MDF is easy enough to find, but I can’t seem to find baltic birch in my area (upper midwest). Will other plywoods do? I would think it primarily needs to be very flat and square for this project but was curious if anyone had input on alternatives.
 

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Yep - Just got a quote for almost a hundred for a 3x5 sheet or so. It’s probably great stuff, but I think I’m going to try some scrap plywood in the garage. It’s a small project and if it ends up not being flat or durable enough for some reason, I’m not out much.
 

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I’m making a shooting board using Rob Cosmans technique / video. It calls for 1” (or 3/4”) MDF base and Baltic Birch plywood surface. MDF is easy enough to find, but I can’t seem to find baltic birch in my area (upper midwest). Will other plywoods do? I would think it primarily needs to be very flat and square for this project but was curious if anyone had input on alternatives.
Why bother with the BB ply? I would use MDF and glue on a strip of hard wood for the contact edge. Joint the edge and you should be good to go.
calabrese55
 

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BB ply is great stuff because it has so many layers, each going crosswise to layer above and below. So it tends to stay flat. It also doesn't have any unfilled gaps the you discover later.

It comes in 5x5 sheets for the real stuff. There is an American made brand called Applewood ply that comes in 4x8 sheets.

For some projects the better quality "maple" surfaced ply at Home Depot is more than adequate, but it doesn't have as many layers and does have the internal voids. But for your use, it should be OK. You can buy smaller sized sheets, but take a straight edge with you to make sure it is still flat. Their precut sheets tend to be warped.

I must warn you that once you start using real, imported BB ply, you won't like working with the ordinary stuff.

The big thing about a shooting board is that you have really straight 45 and 90 degree angles on the holding pieces. Take great care in getting these angles just right. Be fussy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your input, Tom!
Well it’s gluing up now so wish me luck. I’m using old dresser legs as cauls. The base, instead of MDF, Is a good, flat, square pine surface I had laying around. I still have to get a nice square fence on it. The plywood I had laying around seems decent enough, and I cut a small rabit in it so the planer blade doesn’t grab it. I have a cleat going on the bottom so it can rest against my workbench. Again, wish me luck, things can still go south from here 😅
Table Wood Workbench Tool Gas
 

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I went with Wood River planes. I have a #4 and #6. But I think a 4 1/2 is a better basic plane. I have a nice Stanley block plane I use more than any other. The whole plane game is about how you sharpen the iron (blade). It important to flatten the back side of the blade first, then sharpen to beveled side. Out of the box, most planes are not really that sharp.

I love the sound a plane makes as it slices through hard wood. I sometimes use the #6 to flatten or straighten a slightly warped chunk of wood. It is helpful especially for dimensional hardwoods from the big box stores. Faster than firing up a jointer

Glad your shooting board turned out well.
 

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Baltic Birch is in fact Russian Birch and is subject to sanctions against Russia. Rocklernow has an American Birich plywoow that is is Birch veneer over Fir plus. They sell it as 24 x 48 sheets.
 

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Baltic Birch is in fact Russian Birch
Not from what I've seen locally. BB comes in 5x5 sheets and has no voids, Russian Birch comes in 4x8 sheets and has different layering, glue type, and some voids. Locally BB is only available from one source and Russian is available from a couple of sources who will tell you it's different from BB.

On the Internet where all info is correct you'll find folks who say it's the same and folks who say it's different; I only know what I've seen locally, though.
 

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@difalkner, I was sloppy in saying Baltic Birch is in fact Russian Birch. Baltic Birch is a product of Russia. Until your post I was unaware of a distinct product called Russian Birch.
 
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I haven't bought any 5x5 BB ply for awhile, but still have three 18mm sheets covered in the garage, plus some smaller pieces of 12 mm. Once I started using it, I've seldom used 4x8 ply, unless there will be a face frame to cover up the voids.
 

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I was in WoodCraft Orlando this morning and saw the 3/4" BB 30x48" was $89.00.
I stopped by Home Depot on the way home and got some A/B pine for my project.
For me, regular ply can be OK, I just usually put a hardwood edge on it. I do like the HD, 3/4 maple faced ply. Lots of layers and not filled with strands of bamboo. But it's not cheap either these days.
 
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