Baltic birch plywood stands out as one of the best woods to use for your projects. You can use it to build racks, shelves, tables, drawers and several other items for homes and offices.
This article discusses extensively on baltic birch plywood. You’ll learn more about the types, sizes, different purposes and best maintenance practices for baltic birch plywood. See below, baltic birch features.
Features of Baltic Birch Plywood
Manufacturers build Baltic Birch Plywood by using a specific method. Experts jointly compress and bond baltic veneer (thin sheets of birch wood) to get baltic birch plywood. It happens to be one of the best kinds of wood that serves different purposes.
See other interesting features of baltic birch plywood below.
Is Baltic Birch Plywood a Type of Hardwood?
Originally, there’s no striking difference between hardwood and softwood. Both types of wood can fit different objectives when the need arises. Baltic birch plywood is a hardwood, but it’s not as sturdy or vigorous as maple or ash.
Although, it’s more popular than other plywood types due to its natural strength. Baltic birch plywood is a hardwood because of certain factors. See them below:
Extra Number of Plies
Like every plywood, baltic birch comes in multiple densities, with a particular number of layers or plies. The two outer layers that make up the front and back have vertical wood grains running all over them. Conversely, the inner layers have varying vertical or horizontal grains providing extra strength and resistance.
The plies in baltic birch are quite thick. Baltic birch also comes with solid birch veneers that provide a higher uniformity. The extra number of plies and steadiness of baltic birch plywood gives it an advantage over other hardwood types.
FIllers are additives for wood adhesives during wood composite manufacturing. These fillers may augment some properties or provide new functions. Fillers don’t undergo chemical reactions alongside the components of wood adhesive systems.
Sometimes, wood manufacturers include these fillers during wood production. However, that’s not the case with baltic birch plywood. The absence of fillers in baltic birch makes it a preferable type of hardwood.
Different Grades of Baltic Birch Plywood
Before you install baltic birch plywood, you need to know that it comes in different grades. The surface of the face and back veneers is the standard for grading it. The good side is the face, while the inferior side is the back.
Single Piece Face and Back Veneer (B/BB)
Face veneers are usually void of defects, and they come in a light-uniform colour. The inner cores comprise solid birch single-piece veneers. The back gives room for 3-6 colour-matched patches of an egg-like shape and size.
Single Piece Face and Back (BB/BB)
On average, the face and back of this baltic birch plywood grade permit 3-6 little colour-matched patches. It may also have a few light mineral streaks. In most cases, you may find tight pin knots. The inner core of this grade is solid single-piece veneers.
Single Piece Face and Back (BB/CP)
The back veneers of “CP” usually have a low grade compared to “BB” grade veneers. The low grade of CP veneers gives room for numerous sound knots and patches. One good thing is that it doesn’t entertain open defects. Inner cores are also solid birch single-piece veneers.
Single Piece Face and Back (CP/CP)
The face and back of the veneer of this grade of baltic birch plywood allow plenty of repaired splits, extensive patches, and sound knots. The panel on both sides is sound and suitable for laminating.
This grade allows small veneer splits, open knots, and patches. It also permits small core voids and veneer laps. Baltic birch plywood of this grade is usually not sanded and is most suitable for structural purposes.
Spotting an oval, football, or irregular patches of different shapes on baltic birch plywood shouldn’t worry you. The best grade of baltic birch B/BB) even allows for patches. These patches may be unattractive at first glance. But they serve an important purpose.
Patches make it possible to conceal corrections that may lead to bigger issues or annoy you. Some of these problems include discoloration or knots. Thankfully, patches blend with surrounding areas the best way they can because they’re colour-matched.
Baltic birch plywood is available in several sizes. Manufacturers usually produce these sheets to make furniture. The structure of the wood determines the size. Notwithstanding, there is a regular size of 5’ X 5’ sheets but different sizes can be cut to meet certain requirements.
Baltic Birch Plywood ‘5×5’ (155o x 1550mm) Specifications
The standard size of this plywood is 5’ x5’ irrespective of the thickness in millimetres (MM). See a variety of this plywood in its different forms of thickness below:
- 3mm: 3mm (comprises 3 plies, urea serves as glue, 130 sheets per unit, thickness tolerance of +0.3mm to -0.4mm, and a dimension tolerance of +/- 4mm)
- 6mm: The 6mm consists of 5 plies, the sheets per unit are 65, urea is also glue. Thickness tolerance is +0.4mm to -0.5mm, with a +/- 4mm dimension tolerance.
- 9mm: 9mm baltic birch plywood contains 44 sheets, making up per unit, 5 plies, and urea glue. The dimension tolerance is +/-4mm, while the thickness tolerance is +0.4mm to -0.5mm.
- 12mm: The 12mm comes with 33 sheets in a unit, urea glue and 9 plies. Thickness tolerance of 12mm baltic birch plywood is +0.5mm to -0.7mm, and dimension tolerance of +/-4mm.
- 18mm: 18mm limits 22 sheets in a unit, 13 plies, the glue urea. The dimension tolerance is +/-4mm, while the thickness tolerance is +0.7mm to -0.9mm.
Baltic Birch Plywood 4’ x8’ (1220 x 2440mm) Specifications
The specifications of 4’ x8’ baltic birch plywood in different millimetres include:
- 6mm: This size of baltic birch contains phenolic glue, 5 plies and per unit comprises 65 sheets. Thickness tolerance is +0.4mm to -0.5mm while the dimension tolerance is +/-4mm.
- 9mm: It contains phenolic glue, 7 plies and 44 sheets in a unit. Thickness tolerance is +0.4mm to -0.6mm, and dimension tolerance is the typical +/-4mm.
- 12mm: Per unit of 12mm contains 33 sheets. The 12mm size also includes 9 plies and phenolic glue. The dimension tolerance is +/-4mm, while the thickness tolerance is +0.6mm to 0.7mm.
- 15mm: Thickness tolerance for 15mm is +0.6mm to -0.7mm. The dimension tolerance for this size is the same as those of +/- 4mm. Per unit of 15mm contains 26 sheets and phenolic is the glue.
- 18mm: The 18mm size comprises phenolic glue, 22 sheets in a unit, and 13 plies. The dimension tolerance is +/-4mm with a thickness tolerance of +0.7mm to -0.9mm.
Guide to Installing Baltic Birch Plywood
Baltic birch plywood is suitable for any wood construction project because of its unique properties. See baltic birch plywood installation tips below:
The measurement stage is a sensitive part of installing plywood from baltic birch. It’s not a process that you should rush. You need to be patient for the piece to come out perfect. A guiding principle you can adopt during measurement is to measure twice and cut once.
After getting your measurement parameters correctly, you can make erasable markings on the wood for guidance. This way, it’ll be difficult to miss it when cutting out the pieces that you’ll need.
Strengthening and Fixing Natural Flaws on the Wood
At this stage, you have to ensure the wood doesn’t spread or weaken over time. Splits, voids, and cracks are natural in woods. However, these minor deformities shouldn’t be left that way during construction. Basically, you have to make the wood look good before putting it together.
You’re to sand and fill to strengthen and repair the natural flaws on baltic birch plywood. Strengthening and fixing natural flaws on baltic birch enables it to come out better and finer.
Joinery and Finish
This is the completion stage of the project. You have to couple the cut pieces to make sense of what you intend to achieve. After assembly, the next step is to stain and finish the wood for the final effect.
Finishing involves protecting and polishing the surface of the wood. It is different from wood painting. Finishes improve the appearance of wooden surfaces, painting hides the original surface.
Where to Install Baltic Birch Plywood
The qualities of baltic birch make it a superb option for constructors to carry out different projects. Even in homes, offices and schools, baltic birch plywood is good for constructing different everyday items.
See below for further details:
Cabinets are cupboards for storing or displaying articles. You can use baltic birch plywood to construct your home or office cabinets. In an office space, it’s a great material to build separate cabinets for workers. Baltic birch is also great for holders, tables and desks construction.
The sturdiness of baltic birch makes it perfect for building kitchen cabinets and shelves. Another way to use baltic birch plywood is to build compact racks for books with it. Decoration stores also use it to build stands to display their wares.
Baltic birch plywood serves as the material for most room wardrobes. Most people prefer using baltic birch plywood because of its prolonged stability, screw holding, and strong joinery.
Art and Craft
Versatility is one of the essential features of baltic birch plywood. Its attractive appearance makes it suitable for arts and crafts. On it, you can make an appealing and smooth canvas for paintings.
If art’s your niche, you can carve baltic birch wood to form any type of sculpture or masterpiece. Engaging in art-related activities is suitable for recreational purposes, and baltic birch makes it possible to enjoy art.
Most people prefer to install baltic birch plywood on their floors due to the smoothness of the surface. The attractiveness and texture of baltic birch are a very good choice for flooring.
It also gives room for you to design and paint the top of its surface. Also, baltic birch plywood can cover insulation inside walls.
Most times, contractors use baltic birch plywood for roof construction. The sturdiness of the wood makes it suitable to construct some parts of the roof.
One good way to augment your space is by making decoration pieces from baltic birch plywood. Baltic birch plywood’s smooth surface makes it a good choice for creating attractive wall decors. You can also use baltic birch plywood to reconstruct old furniture while adding a contemporary design to it.
Using Baltic birch plywood to make doors and fences isn’t also a bad idea. The wood is suitable for several other home decoration purposes.
Related Article: All You Need to Know About Bespoke Wood Flooring
Why You Should Use Baltic Birch Plywood
These unique attributes make Baltic Birch plywood ideal for different purposes.
Suitable for Decorative Projects
You may love every other thing about baltic birch plywood aside from its outer appearance (“football” patches). Such an issue shouldn’t bother you. You can use any type of aesthetic wood veneer to face the plywood. To maintain the stability of the wood, ensure you veneer both sides.
Plywood from baltic birch has an attractive appearance that will be beneficial to you. For instance, you can expose its edges after smoothening them.
Exposing the edges may give your project a simple but attractive appearance. This idea enables you to save material and time.
Furthermore, you don’t need to waste time banding the edge or applying edge tape unless you want. It’s good to go once you use sandpaper for the edge finishing.
Finishing Baltic birch plywood with a clear topcoat of polyurethane or lacquer will maintain its light colour. You can stain both surfaces if you need a different colour. But for solid birch lumber, if you’re using oil-based pigment, apply a stain controller to enable it to stain properly.
Superior Screw Holding
An important feature that makes baltic birch stand out is its ability to hold screws 100%. The core layers of the plywood are veneers of birch. However, baltic birch with traditional veneer core consists of softer materials, making it difficult to fasten screws tightly.
Strength and Stability
Baltic birch, like other plywood, isn’t immune to this problem. Every plywood plank runs the risk of bowing or warping. But plywood from baltic birch has a competitive advantage in the form of its ½” – ¾” thickness. The layers of thick birch veneers balance the sheets preventing the plywood from warping.
The thinner plywood sheets like ⅛” and ¼” will not always be flat in more significant pieces. It’s not usually a big challenge because the thinner sheets in large pieces are usually cut down. The pieces are cut down into smaller pieces to use for cabinet backs and drawer bottoms.
Separating the thin sheets from the thick isn’t a tedious task because it’s evident in the number of plies. ¾” baltic birch won’t change much over the years, making it a significant option for fixtures and jigs.
Laser Cutting and Engraving
Baltic birch is a kind of plywood that can be cut with a laser irrespective of the sheet size and thickness. However, the issue is that ⅛ and ¼” don’t stay flat. Rather, the problem is that it’s thin and wide, which isn’t a good combination for wood flattening.
In this situation, most contractors make a frame that holds it flat and fits it for the laser cutter. Other times, you may just have to affix it to a piece of Medium Density Fiberboard.
Thicker Face Veneer with Good Quality
Inspecting the baltic birch will show you that the face and back veneers are thicker than others. Unlike cabinet-grade plywood veneer, baltic birch’s outer veneer is nice and thick.
Since the core of baltic birch is void of voids, your joinery won’t encounter glue starvation. The joiners will receive complete glue coverage.
Baltic Birch Plywood Maintenance Tips
While It’s good to install fine plywood like baltic birch in your home, lack of proper maintenance may shorten its lifespan. See below for proper maintenance practices you can adopt for long-lasting baltic birch plywood.
Avoid Dents or Scratches
Table mats, table cloths or coasters do not exist only for aesthetics. To avoid scratches, use these items to cover your plywood furniture, especially baltic birch ones.
Where there are already scratches on the plywood, you can repair it using sandpaper. But it’s best if you do it immediately after the scratch occurs. Otherwise, the scratch may grow into cracks, causing you to change the entire furniture.
Dusting and Cleaning
The regularity of dusting your furniture depends on your geographical location. But it’s important to have a regular cleaning schedule for your baltic birch plywood furniture.
Dust the plywood with a soft and dry microfiber cloth. With the fabric, dust the plywood surface at least once weekly or as often as you need to. Using rough or wired cleaning pads on your plywood surface can result in scratches.
Stains like liquid food or oil can also stain your plywood. The trick to removing these stains is cleaning them immediately. Allowing dust and liquid to stay on the plywood surface for a long time can cause colour degradation.
You use a mix of ¼ cup of white vinegar with two teaspoons of coconut oil in a cup of water as a cleaner. A close substitute is using the typical soap and water solution, which also works well.
Humidity/ Moisture and Sunlight Protection
Protecting your plywood furniture from humidity and sunlight is one way to ensure it lasts long. Allowing liquid to stay on a plywood’s surface for a long period will cause moulds or rot. It can also cause the wood to lose shape by swelling until it splits along the layers.
Though waterproof plywood is quite effective against moisture, it’s still essential to limit moisture exposure. Place baltic birch plywood furniture in areas with proper ventilation to avoid such occurrences.
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Plywood from baltic birch is one of the best materials for certain construction projects. It serves construction purposes for offices and homes like cabinets, racks, shelves, flooring etc.
And here at Three Trees flooring, we offer the best baltic birch plywood for varied flooring needs. Doing business with us is the best because of our pocket-friendly rates and first-class service quality. Reach out to us today!