Quantcast

Looking for high quality 1/8" plywood for scratch builds

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

whiskeyBear326

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2015
Messages
71
Reaction score
0
Anybody have recommendations on where to buy high quality 1/8" ply for mid-power and small high-power scratch builds?

The only places I can find 1/8" ply locally are:
  • Hobby Lobby - 1/8" craft 3-ply that is typically warped so badly it's not worth buying
  • Hobby Town USA - 1/8" aircraft grade ply usually very small / very overpriced sheets

I'm feeling like i'm going to need to buy online to get what I'm looking for at a decent price. Who do you guys use?
 

John Beans

Founder, Jolly Logic
TRF Sponsor
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jun 5, 2010
Messages
824
Reaction score
138
I got 12 pieces of 1/8 x 12 x 24 (laserable size) from Hobbylinc for $48 recently.
 

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
8,628
Reaction score
889
Anybody have recommendations on where to buy high quality 1/8" ply for mid-power and small high-power scratch builds?

The only places I can find 1/8" ply locally are:
  • Hobby Lobby - 1/8" craft 3-ply that is typically warped so badly it's not worth buying
  • Hobby Town USA - 1/8" aircraft grade ply usually very small / very overpriced sheets

I'm feeling like i'm going to need to buy online to get what I'm looking for at a decent price. Who do you guys use?
I suggest hobbylinc.com, the plastic shrink wrapped 6" x 12" stacks of six which are so rigid when packaged that warping doesn't happen in my experience. I haven't found warping to be a problem with them even after unpacking. 12" x 12" stacks of 6 might also be warp free for the same reason, but I've never bought that size and they might warp with time once unpacked, even if stored flat on a truly flat surface due to differential expansion/contraction of plies due to ambient humidity or lack of it. With any larger dimensions like 12" x 24", I've had significant warping issues even with thicker 3/16" and 1/4" birch plywood although that will depend upon your local climate.
 

whiskeyBear326

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2015
Messages
71
Reaction score
0
Thanks everyone for the recommendations. Now that I'm back from 4th vacation, I'll look these places over and see what'll work best for me!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

byoungblood

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2014
Messages
235
Reaction score
3
If you have a Micheal's nearby, they have a fairly decent selection of hobby ply. You may have to look through a few sheets if you want something dead straight, but I've built a couple of rockets with their ply and it did well.
 

chuck2200

Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
10
Reaction score
1
Depending on how much you want you may want to consider thinner material which will give you mass margin. You can get some high quality wood veneer from some online sources as thin as 1/64 and up, in 1/64th increments.
 

dr wogz

Fly caster
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
5,495
Reaction score
805
Location
Land of Poutine!
id say "Midwest ply" as they seem to be popular at eh local Hobby shops. I've used this itn eh past. Small pieces, but generally pretty flat..
 

Woody's Workshop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2011
Messages
4,091
Reaction score
118
Location
Reed City, Michigan (Lower)
I like threads like this.
I get to add a bunch of new bookmarks!

Besides Midwest Balsa,
I use "THESE GUYS" mostly.
Ships fast.

[EDIT] Haven't ordered in a while, I see they only sell balsa plywood now, bummer.
 
Last edited:

Threemorewishes

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
408
Reaction score
12
I got a desk off Kijiji.ca that I have started to take apart for the drawer bottoms, plywood sides and back. Many square feet of dry, warp free 1/8th and 1/4 inch plywood at a most reasonable price! The FREE section on like websites (Craigslist in USA) is a good source of rocket building materials.
 

aerostadt

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
3,163
Reaction score
184
Location
Brigham City, UT
I was buying thin plywood from Hobby Lobby, but that was about a 45 minute drive away. I was happy to find that my local ACE Hardware was stocking some in their craft area.
 

Steve Shannon

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
6,418
Reaction score
3,012
Location
Butte, Montana
It's not 1/8", but flooring places have really nice 1/4" birch plywood, no voids, in nice sized sheets at a reasonable price. They sell it for underlayment.
 

heada

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
3,376
Reaction score
672
Location
Indianapolis, Indiana
In nearly every major city in America there is a store that sells 4'x8' sheets of 1/8th Lauan plywood that is normally used for things such as door skins. It is a high quality veneer on either side with a balsa core. It is easy to cut using power tools or hand tools including a coping saw. A 4'x8' sheet is sold at my local Menards for $13.50 and they'll normally cut it into smaller sections for you if you need it done. $10 at Home Depot. There is a local lumber supplier that is a 15 minute drive for me that sells 1/8" 5-ply 4'x8' sheets for $20. Ask around at your big-box hardware stores, there's a good source in nearly every city.

1/8" lauan cut to rough shape with a hand-saw, holes cut with a drill or coping saw and then sanded true followed by coating in thin CA gives a rock-hard ply ring that's cheap and that anyone can make.

-Aaron
 

rharshberger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
9,573
Reaction score
1,608
Location
Pasco, WA
Baltic Birch and Birch Aircraft Plywood are superior materials to luan plys and underlayment both of which use outer veneers (very thin ones) . Aircraft ply is superior to all other plywoods in our hobby, luan and underlayment IMO should be restricted to MPR projects. Baltic Birch ply (true BB not Apple Ply or Tiger Ply) has All birch veneers and they are thicker veneers, Aircraft Ply is the same only more plys for a given size. Midwest brand hobby ply is usually birch face and back veneers with poplar or some other lesser wood core, however it is better than luan IMO.

As a woodworker I have worked with all of the above materials.
 

dhbarr

Amateur Professional
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Messages
6,487
Reaction score
1,107
Wouldn't Luan with FG or CF skins be plenty for almost any non-extreme HPR?
 

rharshberger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
9,573
Reaction score
1,608
Location
Pasco, WA
Wouldn't Luan with FG or CF skins be plenty for almost any non-extreme HPR?
Why not buy good quality ply, instead of spending extra money on CF or FG re-enforcement. Luan really isn't all that strong and is made from cheap material hence its $12 to $13 price (per 4'x8' sheet). Its used as doors skins only rarely these days since modern laminates and mdf have mostly replaced it for that purpose. If you can get it from a local supplier a sheet of 3mm Baltic Birch (not Aircraft Birch Ply) should be less than $20 for a 5'x5' sheet (its a metric thing) and will work un-modified for non-extreme performance HPR flights.

Notice in the photo below how thin the outer veneer of the luan is and how easily it has detached from the underlying veneer, this is actually fairly common occurence and is why I use luan for patterns and not structural. I don't have photo of Aircraft ply but it has even more layers of veneer. The Baltic Birch pictured is actually cabinet grade B/BB in 6mm (1/4"), 12mm (1/2") and 18mm (3/4"). Underlayment is a hardwood ply usually birch face veneers with poplar cores and it is a step above luan. A piece of common 3/8" AC plywood is pictured on the left side of the picture for reference. Marine ply might be a good ply as well but its extremely expensive and like BB and Aircraft plys should be devoid of internal voids or delaminations.


PlywoodComparison.jpg
 

Steve Shannon

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
6,418
Reaction score
3,012
Location
Butte, Montana
Why not buy good quality ply, instead of spending extra money on CF or FG re-enforcement. Luan really isn't all that strong and is made from cheap material hence its $12 to $13 price (per 4'x8' sheet). Its used as doors skins only rarely these days since modern laminates and mdf have mostly replaced it for that purpose. If you can get it from a local supplier a sheet of 3mm Baltic Birch (not Aircraft Birch Ply) should be less than $20 for a 5'x5' sheet (its a metric thing) and will work un-modified for non-extreme performance HPR flights.

Notice in the photo below how thin the outer veneer of the luan is and how easily it has detached from the underlying veneer, this is actually fairly common occurence and is why I use luan for patterns and not structural. I don't have photo of Aircraft ply but it has even more layers of veneer. The Baltic Birch pictured is actually cabinet grade B/BB in 6mm (1/4"), 12mm (1/2") and 18mm (3/4"). Underlayment is a hardwood ply usually birch face veneers with poplar cores and it is a step above luan. A piece of common 3/8" AC plywood is pictured on the left side of the picture for reference. Marine ply might be a good ply as well but its extremely expensive and like BB and Aircraft plys should be devoid of internal voids or delaminations.


View attachment 309131
I agree; when it matters buy Aircraft ply or at least Baltic birch, but if a person is in a hurry and needs something quickly, knowing about these other sources might save a project.
 
Top