I hate what has become to common plywood, and Im on a serious rant. There, youve been warned.
Weve discussed here a number of times the decline in quality of many, many things, including plywood. In my continuing cabinet project, Ive been working with plywood a lot lately, and I cant begin to tell you just how awful it is.
Theres better plywood to be had for a price but for the shop cabinets Im building Im 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 thats relatively flat and not twisted like a tortilla isnt easy. Then there are the edge (and, presumably, internal) voids that are everywhere. There are even surface voids with a bit of filler thats been smeared across them that require sanding.
But the main thing is just how incredibly thin the veneer is. Its a marvel theyve even figured out a way to even handle veneer that thin, much less work with it it must be like trying to veneer with Saran Wrap. And it might as well be Saran Wrap, because its 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 dont just come from the edges, either, but all over the surface. Ugh.
Now, dont start blaming the Chinese manufacturers for any of this, because its simply not their fault. They make things to a companys specs, whether its crummy plywood or a crummy table saw, so theyre just delivering what the company ordered. Blame has to be placed where its 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,