Router Forums banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe this topic had been discussed before, but I couldn’t find a direct answer.
My question is about the manufacturing standards for plywood. In almost all cases plywood thickness comes rated as a rounded number: 1/4”, 1/2”, 3/4”…But in reality all of them are significantly thinner. For example the 1/4” plywood is 5mm, while the 3/4” is only 18mm thick. That is a significant difference. Therefore the question is why?
And, is there any kind of plywood that is made true to size and if so, who sells it?
Also, there doesn’t seem to be a standard about the number of ply for any thickness. At least it’s never specified in stores and in lumberyards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,686 Posts
The rest of the world is on the metric system, so no point in manufacturing in imperial as well. Having to reset the machinery that peels, handles, stacks, glues and compresses sheets of ply is fraught with waste and costs. We just have to adapt because imperial fans are a nearly insignificant minority now and the differences are minescule.

I recently found this chart of standards for plywood types and grades. I really use a lot of A-B grade for my projects.
Font Material property Parallel Number Document
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1) That is no excuse since a lot is manufactured for the US market.
2) But even if they produce by the metric system, they could say it’s 5mm, or 18mm thick. I’m more annoyed by the fact that it’s advertised (and sold) in fractions of inches, when in reality it’s not.
So, when you buy a sheet of plywood you can’t really tell what will you get (in terms of thickness, number of ply, and what the inner layers are made of). The only way is from previous experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,686 Posts
1) That is no excuse since a lot is manufactured for the US market.
2) But even if they produce by the metric system, they could say it’s 5mm, or 18mm thick. I’m more annoyed by the fact that it’s advertised (and sold) in fractions of inches, when in reality it’s not.
So, when you buy a sheet of plywood you can’t really tell what will you get (in terms of thickness, number of ply, and what the inner layers are made of). The only way is from previous experience.
Imperial sizes are no longer a world standard. We're about the only place left using imperial sizes.

I see using the imperial sizes as a convenience. Massive quantities of metric sized ply is imported to the US. I'm not sure if there is any manufacturer in the USA producing ply. And if they hope to sell it overseas, they will have to produce metric.

Not sure it matters much so long as the makers identify it by its metric size. Calling 18mm 3/4 inch is something done in ad copy and price tags. I don't think there's anything to be done about it. I mean, if you want to use plywood, you don't have any alternatives anymore.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,686 Posts
I would also like to add, that no plywood is exactly the thickness advertised. A little moisture, or dryness and the dimension will change. That's why we have to buy or make exact fit jigs to cut dados and grooves rather than just buying one or two router bits or fixed with dado sets.

My big issue with metric is that I grew up imperial and I know what a 4x4 should be, but a 100 mm measure is something I have to think about for a few seconds. And how long is a meter? That isn't instinctive to me. A little over a yard, three feet and a nuggie? But my complaints have as much influence as a fart in a hurricane.
 

·
Official Greeter
Joined
·
19,749 Posts
Even the cutters for making dadoes, are not true to size....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Imperial sizes are no longer a world standard. We're about the only place left using imperial sizes.

I see using the imperial sizes as a convenience. Massive quantities of metric sized ply is imported to the US. I'm not sure if there is any manufacturer in the USA producing ply. And if they hope to sell it overseas, they will have to produce metric.

Not sure it matters much so long as the makers identify it by its metric size. Calling 18mm 3/4 inch is something done in ad copy and price tags. I don't think there's anything to be done about it. I mean, if you want to use plywood, you don't have any alternatives anymore.
Imperial sizes are no longer a world standard. We're about the only place left using imperial sizes.

I see using the imperial sizes as a convenience. Massive quantities of metric sized ply is imported to the US. I'm not sure if there is any manufacturer in the USA producing ply. And if they hope to sell it overseas, they will have to produce metric.

Not sure it matters much so long as the makers identify it by its metric size. Calling 18mm 3/4 inch is something done in ad copy and price tags. I don't think there's anything to be done about it. I mean, if you want to use plywood, you don't have any alternatives anymore.
You’re right. Anyway, I read somewhere that plywood made to the full size of 1/4”, 1/2”, etc can be purchased. Do you know about such products?
 

·
Registered
Mike
Joined
·
3,940 Posts
If you are having problems with plywood measurements then you should really have problems with solid lumber sizes. If they list it as a 2x4 then it is actually 1 1/2 x 3 1/2.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,686 Posts
You’re right. Anyway, I read somewhere that plywood made to the full size of 1/4”, 1/2”, etc can be purchased. Do you know about such products?
Never found any in the usual places, but I bet you can find a big lumber supplier who will have it or can order it. I live in the desert now, and my supplier is an hour's drive away, and so far as I know, they only have Baltic Birch ply in metric, 5x5 feet square.

l think 2x and 4x is actually 1 5/8ths and 3 5/8ths, which is to say 41.28mm and 92.58mm. To confuse us all even further, lumber is sold by the board foot, which is 12 inches square by one inch deep. Don't know how they sell it in metric countries, but the metric equivalent is 304.88 mm square, by 24.50mm.

Out in the shop I have a mesuring stick that's one meter long, with both metric and Imperial numbers on the same face, so I can, if needed, just look and see how long a metric measure is in inches and feet. I do think metric is easier in most ways, but I can't visualize a meter and think of it as a "fat" yard.

I found this on the web. It's a conversion chart. Detailed down to 32nds of an inch.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Never found any in the usual places, but I bet you can find a big lumber supplier who will have it or can order it. I live in the desert now, and my supplier is an hour's drive away, and so far as I know, they only have Baltic Birch ply in metric, 5x5 feet square.

l think 2x and 4x is actually 1 5/8ths and 3 5/8ths, which is to say 41.28mm and 92.58mm. To confuse us all even further, lumber is sold by the board foot, which is 12 inches square by one inch deep. Don't know how they sell it in metric countries, but the metric equivalent is 304.88 mm square, by 24.50mm.

Out in the shop I have a mesuring stick that's one meter long, with both metric and Imperial numbers on the same face, so I can, if needed, just look and see how long a metric measure is in inches and feet. I do think metric is easier in most ways, but I can't visualize a meter and think of it as a "fat" yard.

I found this on the web. It's a conversion chart. Detailed down to 32nds of an inch.
The 1 5/8 x 3 5/8 hasn't been used for 40 years. It's been 1/2 x 3 1/2 for years now. 1x lumber used to be 13/16 also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
I stopped in to buy some 1/4" birch flooring underlayment to make some boxes out of. 31.00 per 4x8 sheet. It was 13.00 per sheet a little under 2 years ago. I opted out for a storage bag to put the portable wood stove for a canvas tent in and saved $10.00. 43 years ago when I was framing houses our 2x10 floor joists would sometimes need to be cut down as they often had 1/4" to 3/8' difference in width. That was aggravating!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Never found any in the usual places, but I bet you can find a big lumber supplier who will have it or can order it. I live in the desert now, and my supplier is an hour's drive away, and so far as I know, they only have Baltic Birch ply in metric, 5x5 feet square.

l think 2x and 4x is actually 1 5/8ths and 3 5/8ths, which is to say 41.28mm and 92.58mm. To confuse us all even further, lumber is sold by the board foot, which is 12 inches square by one inch deep. Don't know how they sell it in metric countries, but the metric equivalent is 304.88 mm square, by 24.50mm.

Out in the shop I have a mesuring stick that's one meter long, with both metric and Imperial numbers on the same face, so I can, if needed, just look and see how long a metric measure is in inches and feet. I do think metric is easier in most ways, but I can't visualize a meter and think of it as a "fat" yard.

I found this on the web. It's a conversion chart. Detailed down to 32nds of an inch.
I own a cabinet shop. When ordering plywood for a job I must specifi domestic or import. Domestic is imperial measure and import is metric. The domestic plywood has much thicker outer veneer than the import, sometimes as much as 3 time the thickness. TRhe core veneers are usually better wood in the domestic and the domestic is less prone to warp. It really depends on what you are making. That being said, the domestic is about 25% more in cost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
It occured to me that I believe "real" Baltic Birch plywood (sold in 5' x 5' sheets, not the common 4' x 8') is specified with the correct actual thickness. It also has many more layers (I think 13 for a 3/4" vs. 5-7 in regular plywood) and is supposed to have no voids.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jw2170

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
It occured to me that I believe "real" Baltic Birch plywood (sold in 5' x 5' sheets, not the common 4' x 8') is specified with the correct actual thickness. It also has many more layers (I think 13 for a 3/4" vs. 5-7 in regular plywood) and is supposed to have no voids.
It is called 1/2" but is actually metric. At least all I have used in the past few years has been.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Maybe this topic had been discussed before, but I couldn’t find a direct answer.
My question is about the manufacturing standards for plywood. In almost all cases plywood thickness comes rated as a rounded number: 1/4”, 1/2”, 3/4”…But in reality all of them are significantly thinner. For example the 1/4” plywood is 5mm, while the 3/4” is only 18mm thick. That is a significant difference. Therefore the question is why?
And, is there any kind of plywood that is made true to size and if so, who sells it?
Also, there doesn’t seem to be a standard about the number of ply for any thickness. At least it’s never specified in stores and in lumberyards.
I’ll try to attach a doc I found informative Meet Google Drive – One place for all your files
 

·
Official Greeter
Joined
·
19,749 Posts
Supposed to be 2400mm x 1200mm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,890 Posts
It seems like it would take a lot of effort to write out a shopping list to build something as small as a shed. How would you order an 8' 2x4? And then a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" plywood ripped down to 5' 3 1/2 "?
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top