If you already know about my recent plywood nightmare this post may sound a bit redundant and you probably won’t want to read this. However, it has come to my attention that a lot of people who visit this website don’t do the social media thing and aren’t aware of my Chinese plywood wasted day from last week. Combine my experience with the fact that Chinese manufacturers were recently caught admitting to illegally mislabeling hazardous manufactured flooring imported to the USA to save money and it makes me want to do everything I can to shine a light on the issues about disappointing and possibly unsafe Chinese plywood.
The miter saw station that I am currently building (now with different plywood by the way) requires 12 sheets of 3/4” plywood. That’s obviously a bit of an expense and the reason I have been putting it off for several months after finalizing the design. So in an effort to save a few bucks I went to a local lumber yard that had the least expensive 3/4” plywood in town. I’ve used this stuff previously with good results so I got 10 sheets. It saved me about $100 up front.
The top and bottom faces of the ply didn’t look that great visually but this is a shop project so it’s not a deal beaker to me and everything else looked structurally sound. So I started batching out my cabinet pieces on the table saw.
I cut everything largest to smallest so it wasn’t until several hours of work after starting the work day that I realized how bad this junk was. The smaller the pieces got the more the problems were noticeable. When ripping my 3-1/2” and 1-1/2” strips a good percentage of my pieces were either filled with voids or literally falling apart. I thought it might have been a problem with just the sheet I was working with but after checking all of my pieces from the the 4-1/2 sheets that I cut I could tell that the problem was not isolated to one sheet. Almost every piece that I cut that day had some type of delamination that I could pull apart to some degree with my hands. Some pieces took a little effort and others just literally crumbled.
I ended up cutting 4-1/2 sheets and wasted a day’s worth of work from buying this junk just to save a few dollars. Luckily I was able to waste even more time taking the rest of the full sheets and all of my cut pieces back to where I bought it and got a full refund. It was a hard lesson learned. Don’t waste your money or time on cheap Chinese plywood…..ever! And who knows what’s actually in it. A follower of mine said “good things aren’t cheap, and cheap things aren’t good.” When it comes to plywood I couldn’t agree more.
So how do you know if the plywood is made in China? It’s tough to tell sometimes. Obviously you can tell if it is labeled but if it isn’t you may need to do a bit of research.
If you are wondering how this affected the miter saw station build it pushed my schedule back one week so I could find some better plywood that was made in the USA. I’m very please with the quality of the plywood I ended up getting and the first part of that huge build should be published this Sunday morning.