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How to buy baltic birch plywood

Updated February 21, 2017

Baltic birch plywood, or Russian birch, is a light-colour wood that is a low-cost but has higher veneer quality than American Baltic. The plywood is graded with Russian building standards, which are unlike American standards. When purchasing Baltic birch plywood, it is important to understand the grades to determine which is appropriate for your woodworking project.

Measure the area that you are using the plywood for and determine which size Baltic birch plywood size will work best. Baltic birch is typically available in 5-by-5-foot sizes, but is also available in 4-by-8-foot sizes. The smaller size is appropriate for small woodworking jobs, whereas the larger sheets are more appropriate for entire walls.

Purchase the proper thickness of Baltic birch plywood depending on what you are using it for. Baltic birch plywood is available in the following thicknesses, 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch and 3/4 inch. If you are using the plywood for a drawer slide or other tight spot, use a tape measure to ensure you purchase a thickness that will fit.

Buy Baltic birch plywood that has a "B" grade if you will leave it unpainted, or will stain it with a semi-transparent coating. This is the highest grade and is pre-sanded.

Buy "BB" or "CP" grade Baltic birch plywood for projects where appearance does not matter or where the plywood will be painted. Although these plywoods are still durable, they often have patches, knots and streaks, which affect the aesthetic appearance.

Save money by purchasing "shop grade" or "C" grade Baltic birch plywood, which is a slightly damaged product with cracks at the side. These are sold at a discount but you can easily cut off the damaged sections and use the remainder of the wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.